Antikythera Mechanism

There are slides devoted to this topic: Lecture 6a, pp. 5-7.

There is a lab devoted to this topic.


The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project is part of a collaborative academic effort to provide knowledge and further the study of the Antikythera Mechanism. The site includes frequently asked questions about the Mechanism, journal articles, collected data, videos, and links to further media.

Want to see the Antikythera Mechanism for yourself? Take a trip to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and pay homage to the world’s oldest known computing machine!


Watch Nature‘s documentary video on the Antikythera Mechanism. The documentary leads the viewer through the significance of the mechanism, followed by the history of its discovery and the scientific study surrounding it. The video demonstrates several visual scientific processes through which scientists were able to view the mechanism, including surface photography, X-Ray tomography, and computer animation. It then discusses possible geographical origins of the mechanism, followed by an in-depth examination of its component gears and markings, and the resulting function of the device.

Want to watch a video with broader historical scope? Watch The Fingerprints of Genius: The Antikythera Mechanism, a tribute film made by Swiss clock-maker Hublot and filmmaker Phillipe Nicolet. The video discusses the discovery of the Antikythera shipwreck and recent scientific advances in the mechanism’s study.

Journal Articles

The Antikythera Mechanism has inspired intellectual curiosity in scientists and historians alike. Below is a selection of scholarly articles published on this ancient mechanical wonder.

“The Antikythera Shipwreck Reconsidered,” written in 1965 for the American Philosophical Society, discusses the 1901 discovery of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck and the resulting scientific and historical studies of the ship and its objects, including amphoras, pottery, glassware. The mechanism is only mentioned in passing.

Read “The Antikythera Shipwreck Reconsidered,” by Gladys Davidson Weinberg, Virginia R. Grace, et. al.

“Gears from the Greeks” was written in 1971 by eminent science historian Derek Solla Price, who spent years studying the Antikythera Mechanism and arguing for its technical sophistication. This lengthy article includes discussion of the mechanism’s discovery, its component parts, their functions, the mechanism’s purpose, and its implications for mechanical history.

Read “Gears from the Greeks: The Antikythera Mechanism- A Calendar Computer from ca. 80 BC,” by Derek Solla Price

[If you wish to read earlier articles by Solla Price, you may wish to request his 1959 article, “An Ancient Greek Computer,” via Interlibrary Loan.]

The following article was written for the Naval History Symposium in 1995. The piece discusses the scientific and historical attitudes adopted in response to the mechanism’s discovery.

Read The Antikythera Mechanism: Physical and Intellectual Salvage from the 1st century BC,” by Rob S. Rice

In this field-changing letter to Nature journal, the authors claim that recent advances in X-Ray tomography show that the Antikythera Mechanism is a startlingly advanced computational device. They include diagrams and photographs to support their claim.

ReadDecoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism,” by T. Freeth, Y. Bitsakis, et. al. 

“High Tech from Ancient Greece” is Nature‘s response to the scientists’ letter. This short article includes information from the letter as well as the scientific context and significance of the mechanism’s functions.

Read “High Tech from Ancient Greece,” by Francois Charette

“The Antikythera Mechanism: A Computer Science Perspective,” provides a computer scientist’s perspective on the Mechanism’s significance. The article is based on the mechanism’s relationship with computer code, and as such may be more difficult to understand. Diagrams are included.

Read “The Antikythera Mechanism: A Computer Science Perspective,” by Diomidis Spinellis

“Using Computation to Decode the First Known Computer” discusses the latest updates in the analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism. The article, written by members of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Team, provides fairly clear explanations of the computational methods used to figure out the mechanism’s functions and purpose. Cool pictures are also included.

Read “Using Computation to Decode the First Known Computer,” by Michael Edmunds and Tony Freeth