The Antikythera Mechanism is an almost unbelievably complex 2000-year-old Greek contraption found in a shipwreck more than a hundred years ago. It has been slowly yielding its secrets to generations of researchers. Dr. Tony Freeth is one of the people responsible for the most recent wave of discoveries, based on new imaging technologies. We now finally have a fairly good understanding of this artifact, and in this terrific lecture for Stanford University he explains how it all came together and makes some good guesses about who made it and why:
My own view is that it was made as a mechanical cosmos by a great scientist, a visionary who realized that you could use bronze gear wheels to model the cycles of the cosmos.
Skip the boring 4-minute introduction. There are some especially terrific animations of the guts of the Antikythera Mechanism at 1:12:15 and 1:35:40, but you can’t really properly appreciate them without the context — do watch it all, if this kind of thing floats your boat.