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Researchers Claim to Solve the Mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism - ExtremeTech

Researchers Claim to Solve the Mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism - ExtremeTech

Researchers Claim to Solve the Mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism - ExtremeTech
Sep 22, 2022 1 min, 25 secs

The Antikythera Mechanism consists of some 82 fragments today, but only roughly a third of the original device is believed to survive.

Functionally, the Antikythera Mechanism is a type of orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system that shows the procession of various planets and moons over time.

Tony Freeth worked on that project nearly 20 years ago, and he led the most recent attempt to intuit exactly how the Antikythera Mechanism was originally constructed.

According to the authors, they’ve created the first model that plausibly demonstrates all of the known functions of the Antikythera mechanism.

What follows in the article is a dozen-plus pages laying out how Freeth and his team assembled their model for how the complete Antikythera Mechanism must have functioned.

Freeth and his colleagues don’t claim that they’ve reconstructed the literal, exact Antikythera Mechanism, but they believe theirs is the first reconstruction that fully describes what the machine was capable of while simultaneously offering a cohesive, practical model for how it was built.

Archaeologists believe there was more than one Antikythera Mechanism built along similar lines.

While neither of these devices is thought to be the literal Antikythera Mechanism, it could be that the ancient Greeks were building similar devices 200 years before the one we were lucky to dredge out of the Mediterranean is thought to have been constructed.

If the model Freeth et al have advanced is accurate, it means scientists throughout the 20th and 21st century have finally teased apart the specific functions the Antikythera Mechanism provided

Having an accurate model of both what the Antikythera Mechanism did and how it did it is a scientific breakthrough—so long as the new model stands up to long-term scrutiny


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