Scientists Unravel Mystery of Ancient Machine
By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS, AP
ATHENS, Greece (Dec. 1) – Imagine tossing a top-notch laptop into the sea, leaving scientists from a foreign culture to scratch their heads over its corroded remains centuries later.
A Roman shipmaster inadvertently did something just like that 2,000 years ago off southern Greece, experts said Thursday.
They claim to have identified a handful of puzzling metal scraps found in a ship wreck as the earliest known mechanical computing device, which pinpointed astronomical events.
A team including British, Greek and U.S. scientists used specially developed X-ray scanning and imaging technology to analyze the corroded bronze, revealing hidden machinery and a form of written user’s manual.
“We have used the latest technology available to understand this mechanism, yet the technological quality in this mechanism puts us to shame,” project leader Mike Edmunds, professor of astronomy at Cardiff University. “If the ancient Greeks made this, what else could they do?”
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