The Antikythera mechanism, found in 1901 off the coast of Antikythera Island, is one of the most enigmatic archaeological finds. This device, more than 2,000 years old, is considered the world’s oldest analog computer. Its creation is attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes.
The mechanism found consists of three separate components, including 82 parts and 37 meshing bronze gears. It was originally housed in a wooden box, which unfortunately has not survived. However, researchers estimate that the dimensions of the mechanism are about 34 × 18 × 9 centimeters.
The main function of the Antikythera mechanism was to predict the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets, as well as eclipses. It was a kind of mechanical planet that could be used to track the movements of celestial bodies. By means of a handle to be turned, the user could select various symbols and Greek texts representing astronomical features. In this way, the mechanism made it possible to view past astronomical events.
It is interesting to note that the antikytherian mechanism was ahead of its time in knowledge and technology. This raises questions about how the ancient Greeks were able to create such a complex device without modern technology and tools. Some researchers speculate that Archimedes may have used complex mechanical principles and mathematical formulas to create this unique apparatus.
The Antikythera mechanism has been the subject of attention not only by archaeologists, but also by filmmakers. In the fifth film about the adventures of Indiana Jones, it became the central subject of the plot. The film’s director, James Mangold, admitted that the mechanism served as a direct inspiration for the film. However, he also admitted that many parts of the object’s story were exaggerated to create a fantastic effect.
The Antikythera mechanism continues to be a mystery to scientists. Its intricate construction and accurate predictions of astronomical events are both astonishing and admirable. This archaeological artifact is evidence that ancient civilizations possessed knowledge and technology that we consider available only in our time.