One of the most remarkable objects that the ancient world ever produced, the Antikythera mechanism, was discovered on this day in 1902 by archaeologist Valerios Stais. Or it might be more accurate to say it was recognized, since it had been hauled up a year before by sponge divers exploring a first-century B.C. wreck off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera.
Suppose you were excavating a military encampment from the time of the American Civil War, and among the debris you found a laptop computer. That’s the type of comparison that’s often made for the Antikythera mechanism. A complex astronomical calculator made of dozens of precisely engineered interlocking gears that could predict the movements of the sun, the moon, and the planets years into the future, the Antikythera mechanism is unlike any other known ancient object. Nothing of equivalent complexity would be produced again in Europe for more than a thousand years.
If you’re studying ancient history in your homeschool this month, here’s a very good short BBC video about the Antikythera mechanism that’s well worth watching with your students:
What historical discoveries have you made in your homeschool this Leo Term? 😊
❡ Explore more: For a quick homeschool review of science in the ancient Greek world, turn to page 104 in your River Houses history encyclopedia. 📚
❡ Come, here’s the map: If you turn to plate 72 in your recommended homeschool atlas you’ll be able to locate the island of Antikythera and many of the other places mentioned in the documentary above. 🌍
❡ Stay in the loop: This is one of our regular posts about Homeschool Holidays & History. Print your own copy of our River Houses calendar of educational events to follow along with us, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞
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