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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:14 PM

Famed Roman shipwreck reveals more secrets (more "Antikythera Mechanisms" a real possibility!)

For those of you with a love of history this is pretty interesting. The most complex known mechanism of ancient times came from a shipwreck that, it ends up, was twice as big as thought leaving half of it untouched!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/01/03/antikythera-shipwreck-survey/1804353/

The October survey shows the ship was more than 160 feet long, twice as long as expected. Salvaged by the Greek Navy and skin divers in 1901, its stern perched too deep for its original skin-diver discoverers to find.

The wreck is best known for yielding a bronze astronomical calculator, the "Antikythera Mechanism" widely seen as the most complex device known from antiquity, along with dozens of marble and bronze statues. The mechanism apparently used 37 gear wheels, a technology reinvented a millennium later, to create a lunar calendar and predict the motion of the planets, which was important knowledge for casting horoscopes and planning festivals in the superstitious ancient world.

Along with vase-like amphora vessels, pottery shards and roof tiles, Foley says that the wreck also appears to have "dozens" of calcified objects resembling compacted boulders made out of hardened sand resting atop the amphora on the sea bottom. Those boulders resemble the Antikythera mechanism before its recovery and restoration. In 2006, an X-ray tomography team reported that the mechanism contained at least 30 hand-cut bronze gears re-creating astronomical cycles useful in horoscopes and timing of the Olympic Games in the ancient world, the most elaborate mechanical device known from antiquity until the Middle Ages. "The (objects) may just be collections of bronze nails, but we won't know until someone takes a look at them," Foley says.

?w=500&h=667
The Antikythera Philosopher. One of the statues found in the first half of the wreck.
Also from the wreck is this handsome fellow:

More to follow??

52 replies, 6830 views

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Reply Famed Roman shipwreck reveals more secrets (more "Antikythera Mechanisms" a real possibility!) (Original post)
DonRedwood Jan 2013 OP
niyad Jan 2013 #1
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #3
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #4
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #5
blackspade Jan 2013 #8
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #11
blackspade Jan 2013 #12
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #30
blackspade Jan 2013 #48
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #25
blackspade Jan 2013 #49
PoliticAverse Jan 2013 #2
cspanlovr Jan 2013 #6
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #37
blackspade Jan 2013 #7
starroute Jan 2013 #17
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #38
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #51
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #9
AzDar Jan 2013 #10
DearHeart Jan 2013 #13
Mnemosyne Jan 2013 #18
uncle ray Jan 2013 #35
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #36
Mnemosyne Jan 2013 #47
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #40
nadinbrzezinski Jan 2013 #14
ReRe Jan 2013 #15
kysrsoze Jan 2013 #16
Lone_Star_Dem Jan 2013 #19
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #41
DianaForRussFeingold Jan 2013 #20
burrowowl Jan 2013 #21
Generic Other Jan 2013 #22
rad51 Jan 2013 #23
kestrel91316 Jan 2013 #52
Raine Jan 2013 #24
xchrom Jan 2013 #26
Manifestor_of_Light Jan 2013 #27
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #39
Poll_Blind Jan 2013 #28
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #43
jberryhill Jan 2013 #29
HarveyDarkey Jan 2013 #31
snooper2 Jan 2013 #32
Kingofalldems Jan 2013 #33
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #34
DonRedwood Jan 2013 #42
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #45
blackspade Jan 2013 #50
LongTomH Jan 2013 #44
LineNew Reply /
trumad Jan 2013 #46

Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:18 PM

1. k and r

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:21 PM

3. Oh, yes.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:22 PM

4. Now we will get to see who the archaeology geeks are!

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:25 PM

5. Guilty.

Paleontology too.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:14 AM

8. Guilty here as well.

I've been an archaeologist for 23 years now!

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Response to blackspade (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:18 AM

11. oooh...a professional!

I took classes at rutgers but ended up in a different field. I settle for an arrowhead collection now.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:28 AM

12. Guilty as charged.

Took classes in the late 80s and was hooked although I collected projectile points as a kid on one of my aunt/uncle's farm as well.

If you still walk fields, make sure you have permission and record were you find them.
It is also good to report the site to the state historic preservation officer so that it can be mapped for future reference.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:03 AM

30. I've only ever found one arrowhead on the ground but...

I used to work for a guy whose mom had married a man who owned a Native American Museum in the 1920s-30s. When he died it closed and they packed up most of the stuff where it now sits (in a bedroom that is floor to ceiling boxes.) Many items are fragile and just sitting there. (one was a bag made out of a whole duck--feathers made it waterproof--I build and was horrified to see it sitting out so I made it a glass case.)

Anyway....I built some stuff for his house and he paid me in arrowheads. I'd deliver the piece and he'd go open up a box and tell me to take ten arrowheads, etc.

Most of them had lost their history so I only took loose items with no numbers. He said somewhere in one of the boxes is a catalogue. I still dream about those boxes.

He is in his 70s now but refuses to do anything with the collection. It just sits there degrading. :0(

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:37 PM

48. Do you know what museum?

I know of several that closed but the artifacts pretty much disappeared.
I would be really cool if some surfaced again.
Even a copy of the inventory and photos of things would be a gold mine for archaeology.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:26 AM

25. I can dig it.

Maybe the main thing that kept me from a career like that is that I never find anything. I remember when I was a kid I would walk with other people & have them turn up arrowheads, lost coins, morel mushrooms, and all sorts of other interesting things, and I would findůnada.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #25)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:40 PM

49. I go through dry spells.

Most projects turn up very little, but when they do...BAM!
You find a ton of crap. Budget blowing sometimes, but working extra hours for no pay is a hazard of the job.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:21 PM

2. Those eyes are creepy... n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:42 PM

6. They sure are. But if you cover the right one with your hand

its beautiful.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:32 PM

37. they look a little familiar.....

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:13 AM

7. Cool article, but....

'superstitious ancient world'
comment is out of place.
We are no less superstitious now!

It would be very awesome if there was a whole shipload of "Antikythera Mechanism" recovered.
It would really put the bronze nail in the coffin that the ancient world had limited technology.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:58 AM

17. That annoyed me, too

Superstitious people do simple things, like not walking under ladders or throwing salt over their shoulders. They don't invent high-tech devices that are 2000 years ahead of their time.

If the Greeks had good reasons to follow the movement of the planets, scheduling festivals and the Olympic Gaps would have been the least of it.

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Response to starroute (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:41 PM

38. good lord...i threw salt over my shoulder just two days ago

seriously..., i spilled the salt and before I had even thought about it I had pinched and was tossing before my brain clicked in and said, "what are you doing?"

oops....

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Response to blackspade (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:53 PM

51. My exact thoughts too as I read it ... n/t

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:16 AM

9. Oh, how cool is this? In my next life this is what I want to do.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:17 AM

10. K & R

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:28 AM

13. Wow! Hope there are more photos to follow!

Amazing statue...thanks for posting!!

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Response to DearHeart (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:04 AM

18. Photo of mechanism at link in OP, really cool looking gears. Magnificent find. nt

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:32 PM

35. FWIW that is a replica.

the original is still crusty, the picture is of a replica someone made.

something i found interesting about the device while reading about it: it uses two gears, on a slightly different axis, one driving the other via a pin and slot engagement, which varies the speed of the driven gear replicating the eccentric motion of the moon. much more complicated engineering involved that simply making round things go round.

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Response to uncle ray (Reply #35)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:08 PM

36. the statuary though is amazing

the marble didn't hold up as well as the metal but still pretty amazing. I'm hoping they might find another statue or two!

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Response to uncle ray (Reply #35)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:10 AM

47. Replica or not, it is a beautiful complex piece. Thanks for the info, uncle ray! nt

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Response to DearHeart (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:48 PM

40. I added the more famous statue to the OP.... amazing piece of art!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:31 AM

14. Cool...

Yes, geek here.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:40 AM

15. Absolutely stunning!

If I had him, I'd make him wear a patch over the right (his left) eye, though. Thanks!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 12:46 AM

16. That is pretty awesome.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:04 AM

19. I'm excited.

The wreck that held the worlds first "computer" is twice as large as previously thought? Not that I expect anything else that amazing to come from the wreckage again, but it was a wreck filled with the most wonderful artifacts from that era. Imagine what else may be hidden away, preserved beneath the sands?

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Response to Lone_Star_Dem (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:54 PM

41. I know! Just one more statue would be amazing..or one more gizmo. But half a boat's worth?

very exciting!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:30 AM

20. K&R Very Cool!!!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:34 AM

21. K&R

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:00 AM

22. Wow

Love the eyes.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:26 AM

23. Good post.

These below were found in 1901, hope there is plenty more.

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Response to rad51 (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 04:58 PM

52. Those are NOT, no way!!! from ancient Greece!! WTF???

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:30 AM

24. Very very interesting ... THANKS! nt

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:29 AM

26. du rec. nt

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:32 AM

27. Whatever happened to

poster Adsos Letter? He always posted new archaeology finds.

In 1963, I was already reading NatGeo about King Tut's tomb. I was in elementary school and stunned at all the gold and precious stones.



COOL!

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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:44 PM

39. In 1974 I was given a box of those same national geos and was just as transfixed by tut

and all the jewels. In high school I rode a bus all the way to Seattle just to see the travelling exhibit and after college I spent a month wandering egypt.

but the love started with those nat geos!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:32 AM

28. That boat was loaded with some expensive shit. I mean, as if the Antikythera...

...device wasn't enough, that head sculpture is out of this world! To think that there might be even more material...simply astounding.

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:32 PM

43. It has been wondered if it was plunder

But, yes, the possessions of the very rich were in that boat for some reason.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:38 AM

29. The ship is pretty impressive....

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:15 AM

31. Definite Geek here

 

Thanks for posting.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:22 AM

32. "in the superstitious ancient world" LOL, like our modern world is any less "superstitious



writers crack me up

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:25 AM

33. Aliens

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:43 AM

34. Degree in Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture

with a sub-specialty in Egyptology here. This is a fascinating article! Thank you so much for posting it. Roman is a bit past my area of expertise, but still this is very interesting.

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Response to LibertyLover (Reply #34)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 02:15 PM

42. have you seen the website that is following the university dig at the temple of mut in karnak?

several years worth of digging, pictures, great reading... it was held up by all the political strife for a bit but i'm hoping they go back again this year.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #42)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 04:15 PM

45. Yes, I have (but thank you anyway!)

Johns Hopkins is just up the road from where I live in Maryland and I did an internship at the Brooklyn Museum. I've actually been following the Brooklyn Museum's excavations at the Mut temple more than the JHU, although with the discovery of the executed male in the JHU portion of the dig, I will probably start reading their stuff too. The last time I was at Karnak, I wandered around the Mut temple for a bit - I always liked Her very much.

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Response to LibertyLover (Reply #45)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 03:45 PM

50. One of my friends just returned from Amarna.

Apparently it was a great dig.
I haven't seen the pictures yet though!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 03:03 PM

44. Carl Sagan mentioned this in his Cosmos series.....

He commented that, and I paraphrase: "If progress had continued in a straight line from the Antikythera machine, we would have reached Alpha Centauri by now."

I haven't been able to find the excerpt from Cosmos where Carl talked about the Antikythera machine; but, I did find this one, where he talked of Hypatia of Alexandria, her contributions, her murder and how that murder ended the great intellectual tradition of the Hellenic world:



I think most here will see the parallels with the 3rd Century and today's religious right.

Edited to add this image from The Sagan Series on Facebook:

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:24 PM

46. /

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