100 years of research on the Antikythera Mechanism

Since the discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism in 1900, the history of unlocking its secrets has been a constant battle. The researchers, were often concluding with a mixture of correct and false hypotheses until the "final solution" was reached (at least as we know it today). It was therefore historically difficult to distill the information throughout the years. What follows is a short summary of the history of decoding the Antikythera mechanism.

Zeroth phase

After the shipwreck was found (April 1900), the Symian sponge divers returned and started what was about to become the world's first major underwater archaeological expedition. It begun in November 1900 and lasted up to September 1901. Due to the weather difficulties, they were only working about 25% of this time. Further, two separate teams of divers were recruited, since it was extremely dangerous to use the diving suits at the time. Amorphous pieces found on the sea floor were typically cracked open, from the divers already, to check if it was a stone or some ancient artifact. One way or another, the divers must have identified the mechanism as an ancient piece of equipment or art and got it to the museum.

First phase

Image description
The first reconstruction attempt of the Antikythera Mechanism was by I. Theofanides | National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Second phase

Third phase

Fourth phase