Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Antikythera Mechanism

This is a bronze device found on a sunken ship near Antikythera, in Greece, that is almost 2000 years old. The image above comes from an article in Nature. This device was able to calculate a number of astronomical events. It's not clear exactly what functions it was built to perform, but it's a very complicated instrument with at least 30 gears. Check out this wikipedia article.

Why am I interested in this? Well, I am fascinated by archeology and ancient brass instruments. This seems to be the earliest known instrument of it's kind. I don't have the patience to sit and read the details on the computer screen, but the images are enchanting and inspiring. It is amazing that people 2000 years ago could build something this complex. I wonder what tools they used to shape it? And it seems to have been fairly accurate. This is not the kind of thing covered in art history classes. I always feel delighted when I find something like this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

fascinating! Seem very much related to your work...