Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New bit of ancient astronomical computer recovered

MARINE ARCHAEOLOGY: Missing Piece of Antikythera Mechanism Found on Aegean Seabed. Bronze disk unearthed by archaeologists in same wreck where original 2,200-year-old computer had been found; also located bits of the ship that Jacques Cousteau and looters hadn't destroyed (Philippe Bohstrom, Haaretz premium).
More than 2,200 years after it sank beneath the waves, diving archaeologists have possibly found a missing piece of the Antikythera Mechanism, the fantastically complicated, advanced analog "computer" found in a shipwreck off a Greek island. Scanning shows the encrusted cogwheel to bear an image of Taurus the bull.

The Antikythera Mechanism was discovered in 1901, technically speaking. An encrusted lump was salvaged by Greek sponge divers in clunky metal diving suits from the Mediterranean seabed. Not that anybody realized what it was at the time. It would take decades and advanced x-ray technology for scientists to realize that the "rock" was a wondrously advanced sophisticated analog calculator consisting of dozens of intermeshed gears.

The Mechanism could do not only basic math: with dozens of exquisitely worked cogwheels, it could calculate the movements of the sun and moon, predict eclipses and equinoxes, and could be used to track the solar system planets, the constellations, and much more.

Past PaleoJudaica posts involving the Antikythera Mechanism are here and here. Like the Gozo shipwreck on the coast of Malta, the Antikythera shipwreck just keeps on giving. Even after more than a century.

This story isn't directly connected to ancient Judaism. But circles in Second Temple Judaism were quite interested in science, especially astronomical science. I still wonder if the Enochian astronomers would approve or disapprove of the Antikythera Mechanism.

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