Antikythera mechanism

Description: The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 19001901 from the Antikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe.

Mainstream Theory: The mechanism is the oldest known complex scientific calculator. It contains many gears, and is sometimes called the first known analog computer, although its flawless manufacturing suggests that it may have had a number of undiscovered predecessors during the Hellenistic Period. It appears to be constructed upon theories of astronomy and mathematics developed by Greek astronomers and it is estimated that it was made around 100 BC. In 1974, Yale University Professor Derek de Solla Price concluded from gear settings and inscriptions on the mechanism's faces that the mechanism was made about 87 BC and lost only a few years later.

Alternative Theory: Because of the advanced sophistication of this device we may have to revise many of our estimates of ancient cultures scientific development.