After 10 Years Of Work, A 2,000 Year Old “Computer” Is Finally Decoded By Scientists

By | June 27, 2016

A small, corroded piece of bronze found in an underwater shipwreck in 1901 captivated archaeologists more than the coins, jewelry and sculptures from the wreck site off the coast of the island of Antikythera, Greece.

The shoebox-sized object turned out to be a tool the ancient Greeks used to perform complex mathematical formulas with precision and accuracy around 2,100 years ago. Using contemporary technology, scientists finally have some insights into the world’s oldest computer.


The Antikythera Mechanism comprises around 30 gears, all made of bronze and with thousands of tiny interlocking teeth, that turn with the operation of a hand crank. The gears move other metal objects that represent the sun, the moon and other celestial objects. After 10 years of trying to unlock its secrets, archaeologists now know that the Antikythera Mechanism served as a complicated star chart to predict eclipses.

This video shows how the device might have worked.

Credit: Antikythera