Saturday, May 5, 2018

Overlaying Archaeological Sketches

Antikythera mechanism

Antikythera mechanism
Watercolour, oil pastel, marker
©2018 Charlene Brown

An intricate mechanism, considered to be the world’s first analog computer dating from the first century BCE, was found in 1900 in a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera in Greece. The recovered fragments of what became known as the Antikythera Mechanism are in the National Archeological Museum in Athens. 

There are many theories as to who designed and built this ingenious mechanism. Our tour guide on a shore excursion to the archaeological site of the school where Poseidonius taught in Rhodes was a firm believer in the hypothesis, based on x-ray computer tomography and notations about solar eclipses, that it originated at this location.  I have reassembled a drawing of the fragments in the Athen museum and overlaid the result on a sketch I made at the site.