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Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces

How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?

By Richard Chirgwin, 14 Sep 2014

Archaeologists have set out on another expedition to the Antikythera wreck site, with the aim of finding the missing pieces of the site's famous “ancient computer”.

The Antikythera Mechanism is a device which has fascinated the world ever since its discovery in 1901, since it seemed to embody technology far beyond the roughly 60 BC societies that created it. Considered the oldest computing mechanism known, the device consists of interlocking gears that seem to predict the positions and paths of planets, and could have been a navigational aid.

The wreck was first discovered by sponge divers off Antikythera's Point Glyphadia.

It is, however, incomplete, so a group from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are following up an expedition in 2012 with another shot at recovering more fragments of the device.

With two vessels, including the yacht Glaros on loan from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, the new expedition includes both divers and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

The official Antikythera Mechanism research site is here, and the Return to Antikythera project's site is here. ®

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