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How old is the Antikythera Mechanism?s eclipse calculator?


Until November 2014, we thought that the mechanism had been 2000 years old. A new discovery in that year suggested that the mechanism had been more antique than the shipwreck itself where it was found.

In 2014 a new study showed that the mechanism was 200 years older than the ship which was sunk in a storm between Greece and Crete. The bronze mechanism is connected to two Greek geniuses, Archimedes and Hipparchus.

82 fragments of the mechanism have been recovered from the ship since its discovery in 1901. There were attempts to find more parts of the mechanism in 2014 but they were unsuccessful because of the bad weather in that area during that time.

Besides the function of the mechanism ? prediction of solar eclipses ? there was another role of the device: its back indicated an event on May 12, 205BC. This event happened after the murder of Archimedes who was killed by a Roman soldier during the conquer of his city.

Previos techniques on determining its age were analysing the writing style on the device and radiocarbon analysis. These techniques were combined with the context of the ship where it was found. The indication on its back suggested a new fact: that it had come from Syracuse ? a place where Archimedes lived.

However, there are other writings on the device: these are written of the style of Rhodes ? which questioned the Archimedes connection. This discovery brings another person into the foreground: the astronomer Hipparchus, who died in Rhodes in 120BC.

The problems brought up another theory which suggested that there had to be two mechanisms on that ship. These disputes over their date of birth, circumstances of their creation, their function bring more questions while we are still amazed by this device.

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