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January 10, 2010

Best article ever on the Antikythera Mechanism

It's in the current issue (December 2009) of Scientific American, lucidly presented along with wonderful graphics.

The first two paragraphs: "If it had not been for two storms 2,000 years apart in the same area of the Mediterranean, the most important technological artifact from the ancient world could have been lost forever."

"The first storm, in the middle of the 1st century B.C., sank a Roman merchant vessel laden with Greek treasures. The second storm, in A.D. 1900, drove a party of sponge divers to shelter off the tiny island of Antikythera, between Crete and the mainland of Greece. When the storm subsided, the divers tried their luck for sponges in the local waters and chanced on the wreck. Months later the divers returned, with backing from the Greek government. Over nine months they recovered a hoard of beautiful ancient Greek objects—rare bronzes, stunning glassware, amphorae, pottery and jewelry—in one of the first major underwater archaeological excavations in history."

Supposedly only a preview's available free online, along with two videos.

But somehow I made it to a freely available page with the complete article here.

If it doesn't happen for you, don't fret and give up, but instead play around — you might get lucky.

"If your institution has site license access, enter here."

January 10, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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here's a great article published in the New Yorker a couple years ago - http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/05/14/070514fa_fact_seabrook

Posted by: rob | Jan 10, 2010 10:43:36 PM

Although I am slightly familiar of this device, this detailed documentary astounded me!

This is truly,

"The stuff that dreams are made of."

Credit to:


Take note that Prospero says "made on," not "made of," despite Humphrey Bogart's famous last line in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon: "The stuff that dreams are made of." (Bogart suggested the line to director John Huston, but neither seems to have brushed up his Shakespeare.) Film buffs may think "made of" is the authentic phrase, but they're only dreaming.

Posted by: Joe Peach | Jan 10, 2010 4:57:26 PM

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