A new replica of the famous Antikythera Mechanism, whose remains are currently at Greece’s National Archaeological Museum, has been built and put on display in the National Observatory of Athens, Nymphs’ Hill, Thissio.
Described as the world’s first ‘analog computer’, the intricate Antikythera Mechanism is perhaps the most advanced example of ancient technology to be recovered to date.
The new educational model will be on display at the Observatory’s Thission Visitors Centre Museum until the end of October. It is built on a 4:1 scale, or four times larger than life size, in order to make its workings more clearly visible and easily understood.
Specially trained staff at the observatory will be on hand to provide tours of the museum to visitors from 10:00-14:00 on Monday to Friday. There will also be evening tours on specific dates (October 8, 13, 20, 21 and 22), starting every half hour between 19:30 and 21:00.
The Antikythera Mechanism was first discovered more than a century earlier by sponge divers off the island of Antikythera, who recovered it from a shipwreck at a depth of 45 metres under the sea. Its origins and purpose were long shrouded in mystery until carbon dating and modern scanning techniques showed that it was built at some time between 205 and 100 B.C. as a complex clockwork device to predict astronomical and calendrical phenomena.
Found housed in a 340 mm × 180 mm × 90 mm wooden box, the device is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears. Its remains were found in 82 separate fragments, of which only seven contain any gears or significant inscriptions. The largest gear is approximately 140 mm in diameter and originally had 223 teeth. All the original fragments are now kept and displayed at the National Archaeological Museum.