Archaeologists performed another dive to explore the shipwreck that gave the world the famous 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator dubbed Antikythera.
And the findings were rewarding – an amphora that was not damaged by time, an exquisite table jug, and marvelous glassware and ceramics that probably belonged to the rich.
The shipwreck was first discovered by local sponge divers off the coast of Greek island of Antikythera, in the Aegean Sea, more than one century ago. Back then, archaeologists found the famous Antikythera calculator, an ancient calculator used by the Greek to calculate astronomical events and even Olympic games in the first century BC.
The calculator was extremely complex and scientists viewed it as the world’s first ‘analog computer.’ The mechanism is now hosted by the Greek museum of archaeology in Athens.
But the ancient shipwreck is also important because it yielded interesting findings such as luxury objects which helped archaeologists better understand the rich of those times and how they lived.
“Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the ‘1 percent’ lived in the time of Caesar,”
said Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who made the recent findings.
Foley added that the shipwreck has many more items to reveal. The latest findings include expensive glassware, a finely-made flute, pieces of an unidentified board game, and parts of the shipwreck.
Past discoveries included three dozen marble statues which represented ancient gods and demi-gods from Greek mythology, bronze figures including a life-size statue of an athlete, the bronze head of a philosopher, and many expensive luxury items such as perfumes, drugs, and cosmetics.
Some academics believe that the ship was on its way to Rome carrying loot taken by Roman general Sulla from the Greek in 86 BC. The theory stemmed from a Greek writer’s writing which stated that one of the general’s ships sank nearby Antikythera island.
But the famous Antikythera mechanism is by far the most interesting. Archaeologists said that its bronze gears and precision were so advanced for the era that no similar mechanism was built for the next millennium.
The device was probably used to forecast eclipses, and position of constellations and other celestial bodies. Scientists dated the wreck to 65 BC, but the clock-like machine was probably built a century or two earlier. According to recent studies, the clockwork mechanism was ‘programmed’ to start in 205 BC.
Last year, scientists 3-D mapped the shipwreck and learned that there are more ancient items buried in sand on the sea floor.
Image Source: Wikipedia