Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Tom Malzbender
Independent Researcher

Imaging the Antikythera Mechanism

Wednesday — October 16, 2013
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

In 1900, a party of sponge divers chanced on the wreck of a Roman merchant vessel between Crete and mainland Greece. It was found to contain numerous ancient Greek treasures, among them a mysterious lump of clay that split open to reveal 'mathematical gears', now known as the Antikythera Mechanism. In 2005, we travelled to the National Archeological Museum in Athens to apply our Reflectance Imaging methods to the mechanism in hopes of revealing ancient writing on the device. We were successful, and along with the results of Microfocus CT imaging, epigraphers were able to decipher 3000 characters compared with the original 800 known. This lead to an understanding that the device was a mechanical, astronomical computer, built around 150 B.C.E., capable of predicting solar and lunar eclipses along with other celestial events. This talk will overview both the imaging methods along with what they reveal about the Antikythera Mechanism.


Next: October 30—Julia Stewart