X-ray tomography
Ancient
olympics

Ancient computer knew more than just when the Olympiad was scheduled for

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British science journal Nature is reporting new findings for the Antikythera Mechanism, tying the Olympiad to the ancient calculator. The device, discovered in a shipwreck well over a hundred years ago, has been thoroughly studied in since the discovery but modern technology has uncovered even more secrets.

When a date was entered via a crank, the 2,100 year old mechanism (containing at least 30 gears) would have returned corresponding astronomical information. With the relative positions of the sun and moon calculatable, the ancients would have been able to predict solar eclipses.

The new discovery comes from applying high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography that revealed inscriptions on the gears.

Inscriptions were found with month names etched into the mechanism, consistent with ones used in the colonies of Corinth in Sicily. The location implies a connection to Greek mathematician Archimedes.

Other previously unseen etchings revealed the connection to the Olympian cycle, assuring foreknowledge of any eclipses that might happen during the games. At least that way they would know to reschedule the javelin event for the next day.

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