Sunday, September 10, 2023

Creative Archaeology: continuing ‘Time Travel with a Bag of Crayons’

Antikythera mechanism

Watercolour, crayon, marker

©2023 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. 

In 2019, I reassembled these fragments and overlaid the result on a sketch I made in 2007 at the Posidonius School in Rhodes. There are many theories as to who designed and built this ingenious mechanism. Our tour guide on a shore excursion from a Black Sea cruise was a firm believer in the hypothesis, based on x-ray computed tomography and notations about solar eclipses, that it did in fact originate at this location in Rhodes.

I recently updated the 2019 painting, after hearing about a more complex version of the Antikythera Mechanism appeared this year under a new name, The Dial of Destiny.   This surprisingly intact and polished machine, now credited to Archimedes, is newly capable of time travel and was found by Indiana Jones, of all people!