Ancient Device Gives Up Its Secrets

Greek calculating machine tracked eclipses, Olympics
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2008 5:40 PM CDT
This handout picture shows parts of the Antikythera Mechanism.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The world's oldest calculating machine was used as a calendar that tracked eclipses and marked Olympic Games, the Telegraph reports. Scientists say the ancient Greek "Antikythera Mechanism," a 2,100-year-old bronze gadget discovered in 1900, marked the 4-year cycle of Games that climaxed with the Olympics—"which says more about the central cultural importance of the Games than about their advanced technology," one expert said.

Using 3D technology, researchers at Durham and Athens University deciphered the inscriptions inside the device, which indicated months and ancient Olympiads. "It tells us of a revolution in human thought in ancient Greece—the earliest known example of a machine for making calculations, of a machine for predicting the future," one expert said. (Read more Antikythera stories.)

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