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Underwater archaeologists have made another fascinating discovery as they have recovered part of a human skeleton inside the remains of a sunken ship that is believed to be around 2,000 years old. The shipwreck carried one of the most enigmatic objects ever discovered; the Antikythera mechanism considered the most sophisticated ancient technological artifact to date.
From the fragments of the discovered device in 1900 near the Greek island of Antikythera, scientists were able to decipher for the first time this year engravings marked on the device, allowing them to confirm the device was used for astronomical purposes. The Antikythera mechanism is considered by man as the oldest ‘computer’ on the planet.
Ever since its discovery, this fascinating mechanical device has captured the interests of numerous researchers, archaeologists and historians one hundred years after its discovery, and scholars have still failed to fully understand its purpose.
The mind-boggling device is made up of 37 different types of gears and is so complex that many consider it the first analog computer made by man.
Found housed in a 340 mm × 180 mm × 90 mm wooden box, the device is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears.
Its remains were found as 82 separate fragments, of which only seven contain any gears or significant inscriptions.
The largest gear (clearly visible in Fragment A at right) is approximately 140 mm in diameter and originally had 223 teeth.
This unique device is considered to have been a futuristic machine created by a mysterious inventor.
Underwater archaeologists excavated the skeletal remains which were ‘extremely well preserved.’
The discovery of the skeleton will help researchers understand who exactly was transporting the Antikythera mechanism, where it was going to, and who its original builder was.
According to a preliminary examination of the bones at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the individual traveling on the boat, which was carrying the Antikythera mechanism along with other luxury items across the Mediterranean, was a young man.
Hannes Schroeder, one of the experts of the Danish museum is optimistic about the possibility of carrying out DNA studies since the remains include a piece of the temporal bone of the ear that usually preserves genetic material better than other parts of the skeleton.
DNA testing could give experts crucial information on the physical characteristics of the individual whose remains were found, as the hair color and eyes as well as the geographical origin of the individual’s ancestors, which could help narrow down the origin of the Antikythera mechanism.
For now, and while waiting for another underwater exploration in order to search for more skeletal remains, researchers decided to name the individual found as Pamphiles because the name was carved into a glass of wine found in the wreck.
“Your mind starts spinning,” says Schroeder. “Who were those people who crossed the Mediterranean 2,000 years ago? Maybe one of them was the astronomer who owned the mechanism.”