Search begins for missing fragments of ‘Antikythera Mechanism’

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Search begins for missing fragments of 'Antikythera Mechanism'

The front face of the Antikythera Mechanism is seen at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. (AP Photo/Losmi Chobi)

A shipwreck that yielded a 2,000-year-old “computer” known as the Antikythera Mechanism is being freshly explored using another remarkable piece of technology. A new, spacesuit-like “Exosuit” is being worn by deep-sea-diving archaeologists searching a shipwreck off the coast of a Greek island over the next month.

The $1.5 million suit “expands our capabilities” and will let workers “grasp, pluck, clench, and dig” around the 400-foot deep wreck for hours, an archaeologist involved with the Antikythera expedition tells AFP.

The suit is like a “wearable submarine,” a diving specialist on the mission told New Scientist earlier this year. “The pressure inside is no different from being in a submarine or in fresh air. We can go straight to the bottom, spend five hours there, and come straight back to the surface with no decompression.” So what are they hoping to find? The Antikythera Mechanism was discovered by sponge divers in 1900, and 82 fragments of it have thus far been found amid the wreck of the Roman ship that foundered near the remote island around 60BC, reports.

But the curator of London’s Science Museum believes one fragment doesn’t fit—indicating there could be a second mechanism. There could also be additional parts of the mechanism already discovered, researchers believe.

“There are dozens of items left; this was a ship bearing immense riches from Asia Minor,” another archaeologist on the expedition says. The divers will also search for evidence of a second shipwreck believed to sit a few hundred feet away.

(Parts of a 1765 shipwreck were discovered in Argentina earlier this year—by researchers on horseback.)

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