In 1900 Greek sponge divers located the wreck of an ancient Greek ship near Antikythera Island, which is thought to have sunk over 2000 years ago. They salvaged a large number of treasures from the wreck, including hundreds of bronze and marble statues, and more famously, the remains of a mysterious device that has become known as the ‘Antikythera Mechanism‘. This advanced clockwork machine turned out be “a complex mechanical ‘computer’ which tracked astronomical phenomena and the cycles of the Solar System.”
However, since the original salvage, very little further investigation of the wreck had been done until a new team – under the banner of ‘Return to Antikythera‘ – resumed investigations in October 2012. The latest expedition has just begun, and you can keep up with the latest developments at the website as they are posting updates from the wreck.
What does the wreck still hold? Locals on Antikythera tell tales of giant marble statues lying beyond the sponge divers’ reach. Records from the 1901 salvage indicate at least one large marble statue was dropped during recovery operations, and there are hints that others were dragged into deeper water under the mistaken belief they were just boulders. Meanwhile, ancient technology geeks like us wonder whether the site might be hiding another Antikythera mechanism, more pieces of the original, or at least some clues as to whom this mysterious object belonged to.
For those seeking a more detailed exploration of the history and possible functions of the Antikythera Mechanism, grab a copy of Decoding the Heavens: A 2000-Year-Old Computer and the Century-long Search to Discover Its Secrets, by Jo Marchant.
Link: Return to Antikythera