Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New findings suggests that the "epoch date," or starting point of the famed Antikythera Mechanism was 50 years to a century earlier than it had been generally believed, according to the New York Times.

Writing this month in the journal Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Dr. Carman and Dr. Evans supported the idea that the mechanism’s eclipse prediction strategy was not based on Greek trigonometry, which did not exist at the time, but on Babylonian arithmetical methods borrowed by the Greeks.

Over the years scientists have argued that the mechanism might have been linked to Archimedes, who was killed by a Roman soldier in 212 B.C., while the commercial grain ship carrying the mechanism is believed to have sunk sometime between 85 and 60 B.C. The new finding suggests the device may have been old at the time of the shipwreck, but the connection to Archimedes now seems even less likely. However, Dr. Evans remained cautious about attempting to identify the maker at all. "We know so little about ancient Greek astronomy," he said. “Only small fragments of work have survived. It’s probably safer not to try to hang it on any one particular famous person.”