Antikythera Mechanism in the News

K. Kris Hirst has a photo essay on the Antikythera Mechanism, which has been determined to contain a calculator for Olympiads, appropriately enough for this period just before the Beijing Olympics.

The functions of the Antikythera Mechanism now recognized by the AMRP [Antikythera Mechanism Research Project] include:

* Parapegma, or star almanac, which may have shown some or all of the five planets known in ancient times
* Metonic Calendric Cycle, used as a 19-year luni-solar calendar
* An Egyptian calendar, with a movable calendar scale to accommodate leap years
* An Olympiad calendar, which tracked the timing and location of the Olympic games.

Topics covered include the various calendars used in the ancient Greek world, the possibility that the creator of the mechanism hails from Archimedes’ home of Syracuse, and the techniques used to understand this 2000 year old calculator.


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