Last Updated:

Researchers Unlock Ancient Mystery Of 'first Computer', Reconstruction Of Device Underway

The researchers of London's Global University UCL have unlocked the mystery of the Antikythera mechanism. Working on the reconstruction of its model.

Researchers unlock ancient mystery of 'first computer', reconstruction of device underway

Scientists have been attempting to decode the Antikythera Mechanism, a 2,000-year-old method used by ancient Greeks to measure astronomical positions, for more than a century. However, according to a report published by The Guardian, now researchers at London's Global University UCL have untangled the mystery. They are now working on reconstructing the device to understand if their proposal works. 

Scientists solve Antikythera mechanism mystery 

According to UCL Mechanical Engineer, London's University has made the first model that fits the details in the scientific inscriptions etched on the Mechanism itself and conforms to all physical evidence. "We believe that our reconstruction fits all the evidence that scientists have gleaned from the extant remains to date," The Guardian quoted Adam Wojcik, a materials scientist at UCL, as saying.

As per the journal Scientific Report, the UCL team explained how the device displayed the position and the movement of the heavenly bodies. It stated that the sun, moon, and planets- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn- may have been projected on concentric rings by the mechanism. Since the system believed that the sun and planets revolved around Earth, replicating their paths with gearwheels was much more complicated than if the sun was positioned in the middle. Another modification suggested by the scientists is a double-ended pointer known as a "Dragon Hand" that shows when eclipses will occur.

The UCL research team works on the reconstruction of the device

Adam Wojcik informed, "The concentric tubes at the core of the planetarium are where my faith in Greek tech falters, and where the model might also falter. Lathes would be the way today, but we can’t assume they had those for metal. Although metal is precious, and so would have been recycled, it is odd that nothing remotely similar has been found or dug up. If they had the tech to make the Antikythera mechanism, why did they not extend this tech to devising other machines, such as clocks?"

The mechanism, known as the world's first analog machine (first computer), was discovered by sponge divers in 1901 among the treasures recovered from a merchant ship that sank off the coast of Antikythera, Greece. The ship is thought to have sunk in a storm in the first century BC while sailing from Asia Minor to Rome via Crete and the Peloponnese. The corroded brass fragments were hardly observed at first, but decades of academic study have shown the object to be a mechanical engineering masterpiece. The device is on display at Athens' National Archaeological Museum.


First Published: