The Antikythera mechanism was ancient Greeks’ version of a modern portable analogue computer. The laptop-sized geared mechanism, built circa 150-100 BC, was used to calculate and display, with high precision, the movement of the sun and the moon in the sky. It could predict eclipses, calculate the dates of the Olympic Games and contained a user’s manual.

Professor Giannis Seiradakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Physics, Laboratory of Astronomy) presented the discovery, techniques, research and applications of the Antikythera mechanism – named after the small Greek island where it was found – to vocational education experts at a cultural event organised by Cedefop staff.

Mr Seiradakis, a member of the mechanism research project team, brought a replica for participants to examine. He said that parts of the device were recovered in 1901 by Greek sponge divers from a shipwreck off Antikythera. New dating evidence was recovered by the famous French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1976, and another diving expedition is planned for 2014.

Scientists are still working to reveal all its secrets. They have finally managed to decode the exact function of the gears and read a large portion of the manual, using state-of-the-art technology.

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