Scientists propose radical new model of the Antikythera Mechanism

Looks like a lot of us did the same thing- looked through all the authors and citations looking for Chris and were disappointed not to find him. Given that the CAD models of the mechanism in the paper are not Chris’ though, it seems multiple teams are coming to the same conclusions around the same time. Not uncommon in science.

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TL;DR, please?

Half the mechanism isn’t there any more, but there are bits of description on the remaining half of what it did and some rusted odds and ends that show the shape and placements. These guys took the descriptions and space constraints and figured out a gearing system that does what it said on the tin and within the space constraints.

half of the tin is corroded away.

Can’t wait for the point some years hence when one will be able to buy one as a kit or fully completed in a handsome wood box.

I want a Lego one.

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As a mechanical engineer who is used to designing and working on mechanisms with a lot of moving parts, I’m blown away at the ability of the ancient Greeks to design, let alone actually build, a mechanism of this level of complexity. Visualizing how all these components fit together is hard enough to wrap your head around even with the aid of modern 3D modeling, so I wonder how they did precision drafting in the days of papyrus and reed pens.

Also, this may be the most complex ancient mechanism discovered to date, but it really makes you wonder about all the other advanced technology ancient folks may have had that we don’t even know about yet. Plenty of cool stuff would be unlikely to be preserved well enough for us to find 2000 years later. For example if they had advanced wooden clocks with mechanisms that would rival the most complex Swiss cuckoo clocks, no physical evidence would likely survive to the present day.

Ozymandias, man.


Look harder!

We know about an awful lot which we know existed which we don’t have any examples of:

And stuff we do still have examples of:

There is a reason why people talked of a “renaissance” and why the Middle Ages get such a “dung age” rap. It’s definitely exaggerated but there was an element of genuinely lost knowledge and skills.

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