The Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient technological marvel that only started to be understood in the very recent years, has been the object of significant international interest, rewriting, effectively, the history of science and culture of Greece, and of the World.
The Exhibition, held at The Ionic Centre, 11 Lysiou Street, in Plaka, from October 22 to December 14, will feature the most recent research discoveries on the object, and will be complemented by a scientific symposium and lectures for the wider public.
History of the Mechanism
The history of this impressive artifact begins in the middle of the 1st century BC, when a vessel loaded with works of art and other precious objects, and probably heading for Rome, sinks near the island of Antikythera, by the southern tip of the Peloponnese. About 2,000 years later, in the spring of 1900, two small boats crewed by sponge divers from the island of Symi discover one of the greatest treasures of antiquity. The state of Greece helps to raise the find from the sea. Thereafter begins the modern story of the find, along with about one hundred sculpture pieces and various other objects recovered from the spot, all kept today at the National Archaeological Museum of Greece. The story of the “Shipwreck of Antikythera” does not end there, however: a rusty, broken into many pieces, unknown and indiscernible object -- much smaller than any of the statues, and seemingly much less important, at that -- excites the curiosity of the archaeologists and historians, to come eventually at the very centre of international scientific attention.
Study of the Mechanism
The “Antikythera Mechanism”, as the metal device was eventually called, comprised of various geared wheels and inscriptions, and was soon classified as an astronomical instrument: as an astrolabe, a planetarium, as a navigational instrument, or as a combination of such. Known scientists tried rigorously to understand how it worked, for a whole century, but it was only in the last three years with the aid of modern technology that scientists began to “see” things that were not normally visible with the naked eye, and began solving the ancient puzzle. What they saw impressed them more than any other technological artifact of the ancient world has ever done to date. When the first results of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project -- an international team comprised of distinguished Greek and international specialists -- were made public, in 2006, they Antikythera Mechanism become the object of great international interest. Additional discoveries, published three months ago, have come to add significantly to the respect and admiration of the scientific community.
The Exhibition at The Ionic Centre
The visitor of The Ionic Centre Exhibition will be able to see the inner workings of the Mechanism with the aid of the latest technology as modern scientists see them today, they will be able to experiment with the prototype computer models developed by the Research Project team, and will work with the software that was developed to make the faded and non-visible inscriptions on the surface and inside of the mechanism visible. One will also see physical models of the Mechanism, and will be informed of its uses in the ancient Greek calendars, and especially in the calendars that calculated the dates of the Olympic Games, the movements of the Sun and Moon and that which predicted the eclipses. The Exhibition, and especially the Symposium following on the next day, will also address some of the issues still confronting the scientists at this time - issues and answers that is expected to continue to fascinate the Greek and international public for many years in the future.
Opening : 22 October 2008, 7.30 pm..
Duration: 22 October - 14 December 2008
Location: The Ionic Centre, 11 Lysiou Street, Plaka
Visiting Hours: Weekdays 11.00 am. to 7.00 p.m., Weekends 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.