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Antikythera mechanism tracked Greek lunar year, study finds

The Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, which is the oldest known analog computer, followed the Greek lunar calendar, not the solar one used by the Egyptians as previously believed, according to new research by a team from the University of Glasgow.

In a paper published on Friday in the Horological Journal, the Glasgow researchers said they used statistical modeling techniques developed to analyse gravitational waves to establish the likely number of holes in one of the broken rings of the Antikythera mechanism.

The team’s results provide “fresh evidence that one of the components of the Antikythera mechanism was most likely used to track the Greek lunar year,” Glasgow University said. “They also offer new insight into the remarkable craftsmanship of the ancient Greeks.”

Divers discovered the mechanism in 1901 while examining a sunken shipwreck near the Aegean island of Antikythera.