New studies of the world famous Antikythera mechanism might alter our knowledge of this mysterious object. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek device, resembling to a clock with metallic gears, which was used to track the cycles of the solar system, predict eclipses and planetary positions. It has been referred to as the first human-built analogue computer, the technology of which was not encountered again for at least the following 1,000 years.
The mechanism was discovered in 1900-1901 by Greek sponge divers, who were exploring an ancient shipwreck close to Antikythera Island, geographically located between Kythira and Crete. After years of research, scientists estimated that the construction of the machine took place between 150 BC and 100 BC and was influenced by one of the famous Greek scientists: Archimedes, Hipparchus or Posidonius.
However, recent studies by History of Science Professor Christian Carman and Physics Professor James Evans shed a different light to the matter. The two researchers analyzed the eclipse predictor and came to the conclusion that the starting point of the mechanism's astronomical calculations had been 205 BC, about 100 years before the previously estimated date. They also found out that the mathematics used in the device are not based on Greek trigonometry, but on Babylonian arithmetic borrowed by the Greeks.
Many theories have been made regarding the origins of this wonderful mechanism, but scientists remain cautious, as there is still no firm evidence about the exact place or time of its construction.