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The Antikythera Mechanism I

With Java animations by Bill Casselman

2. Pictures of a Mechanism

Here are three significant illustrations from Derek de Solla Price's monograph on the Antikythera Mechanism. They are reproduced from the Transactions of the American Philosophical Scoiety, with permission.

Click on either image to view a larger version.

These two images are of the same fragment ("C1") before andafter cleaning. The first one is shown at aslightly smaller scale. It gives some idea of the state ofthe mechanism when it was discovered. Shrinkage of the wood casing as it dried caused it the relic to split into several fragments, thereby exposing some of the bronze gearwork. Otherwise the true natureof what was inside the calcareous lump might never have beensuspected. On the second can be seen the only remaining part of thedial on the front of the mechanism. The rulings are obvious. Closeexamination shows the name of a month on the outer (movable) ring, and oneand a half names of zodiac constellations on the inner.

This is a gamma radiograph of one of the fragments ("A") of themechanism. The gears can be matched with their positions inthe gearplan. The three concentric bands at the lower leftare part of the display dials on the back of the mechanism, whosefunction is not completely understood.