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 The Antikythera Mechanism

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 13 Mar 2014, 14:08

Two storms, two thousand years apart, the first sank a ship and cargo in the 1st Century BC, the second in 1900, forced a group of Greek sponge divers to take shelter at the island of Antikythera where they discovered the sunken wreck from 2,000 years earlier.
Among the artefacts recovered was an intricate piece of work, though just how intricate was not realised until it was X-rayed. What the sponge divers had found was nothing less than a mechanical computer geared to show the movements of the Sun, Moon and planets and capable of predicting eclipses.
It is an astonishing device for it's time, without the accident of the storm, no-one would ever have realised just how far Greek engineering had advanced.




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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 13 Mar 2014, 16:07

There have been further surveys and dives on the Antikythera wreck site over the last 2 years Trike, they now believe two ships went down and that there are more artifacts yet to be retrieved.

A link on this thread to the report on the October 2012 survery
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net/t408-marine-archaeology-what-is-down-there

And the October 2013 survery
http://www.archaiologia.gr/en/blog/2013/12/23/underwater-archaeological-survey-of-western-crete-antikythera-2013/

Interestingly, this past season the survey area was extended to Kissamos on the western coast of Crete (close to Antikythera) and found a further 6 shipwrecks from various periods. One they believe to be that of the 19C HMS Cambrian which was sunk whilst bombarding pirates in 1828. Or I think it would be safe to say that the Cambrian was bombarded instead.  Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 13 Mar 2014, 21:35

Triceratops,

saw a complete documentary about it on the French/German channel Arte. Quite thrilling while no one could find how it worked till some of the researchers had an idea and the method of the mechanism felt all on its place...

I wanted to mention it on this forum, but as it was in French...and I have that less time...so involved at the moment with Historum...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 08:53

Apologies, ID, I did not realise there was already a thread.

Paul, there was a documentary about this on BBC4 on Wednesday evening, which, in fact, prompted this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 09:41

No need for apologies Trike, it is a general thread where the Antikythera Mechanism just happened to be mentioned. And even more surprising, I just happened to remember it being mentioned. That is a miracle in itself. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 12:45

Have you been to the exhibition in Athens Museum ID? It's been extended to June 2014 and I'm hoping to get there before it closes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 14:33

The one at the National Museum? No, last time we were up in Athens we opted for the new Acropolis Museum instead as we were out of time to do both.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 14 Mar 2014, 14:37

A virtual visit to the NM;

http://www.namuseum.gr/wellcome-en.html
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sat 15 Mar 2014, 17:00

I've been searching through some photos from a visit to Antikythera, as I thought there might be one of the site where the ship carrying the mechanism went down. Unfortunately don't have the exact place but am close, just to give you an idea.

This is the entrance to the harbour of Antikythera, called Potomos today. The left is the harbour and around to the right (behind) along the coast a bit is the wreck site. The ship must have been running for the harbour when it went down, so close to safety.



The site is just along here. The ruin is called The Castro, it is an old pirate fort dated 2000BC. I'm not sure if the Castro was still inhabited at the time of the Roman ship wreck though. Probably not, the Romans had pretty much cleaned the pirates out of the Med by then?



Again this is the entrance to the harbour, wreck site behind and to the right with the Castro and harbour to the left.

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 06 Jun 2014, 18:20

This years dive at the Antikythera wreck site will take place in September and last for one month. What is quite promising is the new technology that will be used, a wearable submarine which will allow divers unlimited time in the depths for exploration of the original wreck and the previously unknown wreck which was found at the same location last year.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229724.300-wearable-submarine-to-hunt-for-2000yearold-computer.html#.U5H1E3a62vD 

The above link is more about the technology of the suit. Below is an article in Greek which is more about the archaeological side of it, sorry couldn't find one as good in English but if you are feeling bothered it is quite readable with IM Translator or something similar.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/817524
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 12 Jun 2014, 14:01

"Suppose a traveller carried into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Poseidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon, and the five planets that take place in the heavens every day and night, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being?"

Cicero, from his De Natura Deorum written in 45 BCE.


The "friend Poseidonius" mentioned by Cicero was in fact his tutor from when he was a student. Poseidonius was from Rhodes and we know that one of his specialities was the construction of mechanisms very similar in concept and design to the Antikythera artefact (which really should be called the "Rhodes mechanism" if it is to be named after its most likely place of origin and not after where it sank to the seabed). Cicero was making the point that intelligence was a universal thing and not confined to erudite societies - even barbarians, he maintained, would intelligently appreciate that such an orrery was artificially constructed, demonstrating that intelligence is not contingent on technological complexity but on basic comprehension - and it is notable that to him there was nowhere more worthy of being called erudite than Rhodes. Some have even conjectured that the orrery in his remark was indeed the one recovered in 1901. For them the mechanism is so wonderful that it must have been unique even in its day so therefore must also be the one referred to in Natura Deorum.

If on the other hand one accepts that Poseidonius's specimen was (according at least to Cicero's description) even more advanced than the Antikythera mechanism then it raises serious doubts about the actual status of Rhodes as a society in the first century BCE according to common understanding based on surviving Roman records. The standard version is that Rome reduced the once thriving trade port of Rhodes to penury when it built the free port of Delos in 166 BCE and that it became effectively a backwater of Rome's Mediterranean trade dominion. However we know that Cicero collected items such as these (the Antikythera mechanism's loss at sea was contemporary with the man's own life and could well indeed have been destined for his collection) and that Rhodes, as opposed to the standard view of it being simply the port of departure for such acquisitions, could well have been the actual point of manufacture. Poseidonius's origins suggest as much too. Rather than a society reduced to penury Rhodes may well in actual fact have been one which had found a new, prestigious and profitable niche; in terms of ingenuity and innovation something akin to the Silicon Valley of its day. Incidentally, naval historians bemoan the tendency among their other historian peers also to so absolutely ignore Rhodes' reputation at this time too for its unsurpassed sea defence technology, and this despite considerable archaeological and documentary evidence that has survived.

If such speculation is correct then it means that there are other mechanisms akin to Antikythera's which some day might yet be rediscovered. If and when this happens then there are some serious questions to be asked regarding wilful suppression of technology in the late Roman and early Christian era to the extent that history itself was rewritten to subdue knowledge of advances once made. The common but unforgiveable ignorance of Rhodes' status as a leading technological innovator in naval defences is also an indication of how completely this process has been undertaken in the past. At the very least a reassessment of Rhodes' history will be demonstrated as long overdue. Cassius's sacking of Rhodes shortly after Cicero's above remarks were recorded and the Antikythera mechanism was lost at sea is well reported and undeniably was a cataclysmic event in the island's history from which this time it really never did fully recover. But the true amount of material and accumulated scientific knowledge of which the world was deprived by that one event might well have been understimated, and seriously so, for over two thousand years. In that sense the Antikythera mechanism stands as a poignant reminder of what happens when knowledge and its pursuit falls foul of political and religious agendas which abhor intelligence in favour of obedience and will promote ignorance as a virtue rather than risk losing the control they are designed to exert on people. As such an emblem of something that has survived against seemingly indomitable odds it is therefore to be doubly appreciated, at least by those who also appreciate intelligence and knowledge and the pursuit of both.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 17:59

The dive at the site of the two wrecks off Antikythera and using the new 'exosuit' begins in the next couple of days and is expected to last for one month. The team is hoping to do 3 dives per day with each dive lasting 2 or 3 hours, weather permitting of course.

Unfortunately and unlike Amphipolis, there probably won't be many updates on progress during the dive as Antikythera is a fairly remote island and not easily accessable for the press et al so archaeologists will be able to shut themselves off from the outside world more easily. I'll have to be patient waiting for the results of this one. Smile

The black dot on the map is Athens and the red square is the dive site at Antikythera.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/science/a-superhero-of-sorts-in-a-hunt-for-artifacts.html?_r=0
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 14 Sep 2014, 05:31

I don't know if anyone is interested in this stuff, but I'm up too early and found these sites whilst browsing.

The first is the official site of the Antikythera wreck dive, with lots of history links, videos and photos to expore of the island. Including an interesting account (from official sources and local tales) of the sinking of HMS Nautilis off the island in 1807

http://antikythera.whoi.edu/

The second is the official site of the Antikythera Excavation Project, an ongoing dig that has lasted nearly 20yrs on the island itself and their findings. This excavation also employs volunteers from all walks of life and nationalities as an 'alternative tourism' scheme which is the pet project of the head archaeologist.

The excavation is continued until today, without interruption, by a group of archaeologists under the direction of the archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos every year in August. Students of archaeology and other specialties, and also people from different fields, who choose to take part in the excavation as alternative form of tourism, participate voluntarily under the guidance of archaeologists.


http://en.antikytheraexcavation.gr/

PS This year the annual dig is begining now to co-incide with the Marine Archaeological team who will be working on the wreck. Every history lovers dream, a small island full of archaeologists with nowhere else to run. I wish I were there, sigh. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 26 Sep 2014, 06:12

Diving commenced yesterday at the wreck site, whilst last week (the first phase) involved the creation of 3D maps of the wrecks using an underwater robot. Pictures uploaded by the team here

http://antikythera.whoi.edu/blog/
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 05 Oct 2014, 05:54

The weather has been too rough for diving over the last few days, but at least the team are experiencing first hand the reasons why there are so many ship wrecks in the area. They have said that 'significant finds' (exact words) have been made but are unable to say what they are yet, it is the law in Greece that such announcements come through the Ministry of Culture.

In the meantime here is the official video of the mapping of the wrecks

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 05 Oct 2014, 06:05

Nice site of maps, videos and information to explore.  Hubolt - Return to Antikythera

http://www.hublot.com/antikythera/
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 07 Oct 2014, 06:06

We have goverment interference with the Antikythera team as well as those at Amphipolis. The announcement of the finds is being with held until big wigs can break the news at some time that is convenient to them. But part of it has already been leaked apparently


Amongst the artifacts recovered from the seabed is a bronze spear measuring 2.2 meters in length, a golden ring, an anchor, metallic parts of a room and a cluster of amphorae. While the artifacts were to be presented on Monday, the Ministry of Culture has issue a ban so that the Minister Kostas Tasoulas can make an official presentation himself.

The spear appears to belong to a statue or other piece of art which may also be located in seabed. The amphorae were located about 200 meters away from the main shipwreck and as such may have derived from a second ship. The Greek and American teams have differing opinions on the matter.

http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=638383



The theory that the spear belongs to a known statue has been denied, which leads to the supposition that it belongs to a statue not yet found. And the press are saying that the gold ring was found with a female skeleton. Can't see how a) the skeleton was immediately identifiable as female and b) a skeleton would survive this long on the bottom. 



The circus has begun, I'll be waiting for official announcements from now on.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 09 Oct 2014, 17:04

Finally the Ministry of Culture press release on the findings of this season's investigations. Two reports and photographs here, just scroll down the page.

http://antikythera.whoi.edu/blog/
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Thu 09 Oct 2014, 20:00

Islanddawn thank you very much for the continuous covering of this event and the other greek burial. I can be wrong but it learns us a lot how archaeologic campaigns develop in Greece and I suppose there are similarities with other ones in the world?

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 10 Oct 2014, 00:37

Thanks Paul. Although these two particular excavations are quite unusual in their scale, most don't get this sort of attention as a rule, other than in the academic world of course. 

And here is another video released by the team on diving the wreck. The video also illustrates how very deep it is. 

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sat 11 Oct 2014, 09:54

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 05:42

Further info on the finds and the reasoning behind archaeologists belief that the two wrecks were not seperate occurances, rather both were travelling together when they went down.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/2014/10/10/return-to-the-antikythera-shipwreck-treasures-found-and-maybe-a-second-ship/
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 17:14

Perhaps I missed ref to this earlier - who is funding this great enterprise. I  know the Ministry wants control of revealing the revelations but are they funding it? It is an exciting venture. Thank you for keeping us informed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 12 Oct 2014, 17:41

A combined effort P, sponsorship, assistance and donations have come from far and wide. The Greek state (emphorate of underwater antiquities), National Archaeological Museum of Greece, Woodshole Oceanographic Institution, Hubolt, Australian centre for field robotics, Cosmote telecommunications, Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, Aikaterini Laskaridi Foundation, Swordspoint Foundation, JF White Contracting.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 02 Dec 2014, 02:33

Excellent article on this year's exploration of the site from Diver Magazine

http://web.whoi.edu/antikythera/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2014/08/DIVER_V39_I8.Antikythera-2014.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 02 Dec 2014, 19:24

Islanddawn, thank you very much for this summary article.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 05 Dec 2014, 14:57

Shall keep you posted!

http://antikythera.whoi.edu/2014/12/05/academic-event-for-the-announcement-of-the-results-and-findings-of-the-excavation-as-well-as-the-future-of-the-excavation/

Academic event for the announcement of the results and findings of the excavation, as well as the future of the excavation
By Yanis Bitsakis
05 Dec
Upon completion of the first phase of the underwater excavation in Antikythera in 2014, the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation” hosts an academic event for the announcement of the results and findings of the excavation, as well as the future of the excavation.
An international team of scientists organized and implemented the “Return to Antikythera” Project in September and October 2014, headed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, with the support of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation” and other significant institutions.
The “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation” supported the project throughout its duration, by putting the ship “GLAROS” at the disposal of the team for accommodation as well as logistical support on site; by aiding the research team wholeheartedly in preparing and carrying out the actual research and excavation.
The “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation” will host an academic event on Wednesday, 10 December 2014, at 19.00 at its premises (36 2nd Merarchias St & Aktis Moutsopoulou, Piraeus), in order to present the results and findings of the excavation both to the academic community and to the public. The event will be broadcasted via live streaming on the Foundation’s website.
Addresses by:

  • Mr. Constantine Tasoulas, Minister of Culture and Sports
  • Mr. Efstratios Charchalakis, Mayor of Kythera and Antikythera
  • Mr. Mathias Buttet, R & D Director of Hublot.

The following speakers will present the history, results and future plans of the research:

  • Panagiotis C. Laskaridis, President of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation”
  • Aggeliki Simosi, Director of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
  • Theotokis Theodoulou, Maritime archaeologist in the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
  • Brendan Foley, Co-Director of the field project. Research Specialist in the Deep Submergence Laboratory of WHOI’s Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering.

Our main aim is to incorporate the project’s results in the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation”’s educational programmes as well as in our publishing activity. Already the educational programmes of the Foundation include a programme on “The Antikythera Mechanism: Astronomy and Technology in Ancient Greece”, addressed to high school students.
The Antikythera Shipwreck, dating around 60 BC, is the richest ancient shipwreck to date and it was first discovered by Symian sponge divers in 1900. A host of impressive artifacts was recovered from the shipwreck, including the extraordinary Antikythera Mechanism, the oldest “computer”. Upon the finding of such treasures, global attention turned to Antikythera, fueling great expectations for new and exciting discoveries on the shipwreck site.
For further information on the event, please contact the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation”, tel.: 210 42 97 540, e-mail: info@laskaridou.gr
- See more at: http://antikythera.whoi.edu/2014/12/05/academic-event-for-the-announcement-of-the-results-and-findings-of-the-excavation-as-well-as-the-future-of-the-excavation/#sthash.UJnjKsMn.dpuf
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 10:14

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 18:49

ID, I can't find the thread regarding the tomb being excavated in Greece currently that may or may contain the remains of very important people.  But concerning that thread, you are quite right - it is not the people running the dig that have waxed overly enthusiastic -  but rather some quarters of the media.  

Unfortunately I haven't any pearls of wisdom to mention about the Antikythera wreck but I do appreciate you keeping us informed with the regular posting of links to interesting relevant articles.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 19:32

@Islanddawn wrote:
Good article here on the Antikythera wreck

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/exploring-titanic-ancient-world-180953977/?no-ist

Thank you so much, Islanddawn, for this interesting article.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 21:14

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
ID, I can't find the thread regarding the tomb being excavated in Greece currently that may or may contain the remains of very important people.  But concerning that thread, you are quite right - it is not the people running the dig that have waxed overly enthusiastic -  but rather some quarters of the media.  

Unfortunately I haven't any pearls of wisdom to mention about the Antikythera wreck but I do appreciate you keeping us informed with the regular posting of links to interesting relevant articles.
Look for the "Important Discovery" thread, LiR.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Mon 02 Mar 2015, 10:21

A short post from Mary Beard on the Antikythera wreck and its contents. http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2015/02/the-antikythera-wreck.html
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 03 Mar 2015, 08:27

I'm glad to see that Mary shares my curiosity about the possibility that all this gear was on its way to Cicero.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 27 Sep 2015, 05:06

Why Cicero specifically though? He wasn't the only collector of the time, Asia Minor was looted by various Roman governors during their terms in the area. And, of course, there was Sulla's expedition as well.

Anyway I really came here to repost this year's report on the excavation, just to keep it all together. It has been annoying me that it is not....

http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/antikythera-shipwreck-excavation
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Mon 28 Sep 2015, 11:33

Official video of the 2015 excavation is just released.

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 21 Jun 2016, 09:05

Part A of this this years dive has just been completed at the wreck site and here is the official press release and some piccies. The Greek press release said that they had also verified the existance of a second large ship adjacent to the first, whether they were travelling together or the wreck is from a different era I don't think has been concluded as yet.

http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/artifacts-discovered-on-return-expedition-to-antikythera-shipwreck




Part B of the excavation will take place later in the year, August or September.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Sun 26 Jun 2016, 20:53

In all my busy days I forgot to thank you for this link, Islanddawn.
I also appriciated very much the link in your link:
http://antikythera.whoi.edu/

Kind regards from your Belgian friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 28 Jun 2016, 18:33

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Tue 28 Jun 2016, 19:10

This is the abstract of the paper detailing the latest research on the mechanism, particularly the inscriptions.

http://www.hpdst.gr/publications/almagest/issues/7-1
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Wed 29 Jun 2016, 19:18

Thank you very much Islanddawn and Ferval for your links.

Kind regards, Paul.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Mon 19 Sep 2016, 18:11

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PostSubject: Re: The Antikythera Mechanism   Mon 19 Sep 2016, 19:13

Thanks again Islanddawn for your input.

It is incredible what modern science can make of well preserved DNA in a bone....

Kind regards from Paul.
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