During the World Cup the best way to find out when the next game was on was just simply to Google. Wanting to find out the weather tomorrow or when the next full moon is, is also as simple as a few tips on the keyboard. Life is great in the 21st century, right?
But what if we told you 21 centuries ago that with a machine so advanced for its time Bill Gates would be proud it, that all those centuries ago one could find out when the next Olympic games was being held or when the next full moon was due. Would you believe it?
The Antikythera Mechanism
Exactly this was invented between 150 to 100 BC in Greece and is known as the The Antikythera Mechanism. The mechanism is an ancient analog computer that with its inner working spools and gears could astronomically provide accurate predictions of events. The splendor of this machine has been lost for 2 millenia. 2,000 years ago, a boat transporting this machine from Greece to Italy sank and the wonders of this ingenuity would almost be forgotten. However in the early 1900’s fishermen in the area began discovering artifacts from that very shipwreck and fragments of the machine were unearthed. Still to this day not all the pieces of the machine have been found or put back together. Nonetheless its functionality has astonished scientists.
Want to know how the Antikythera Mechanism works: Watch this:
Neolithic Passage Tomb
As amazing as the people of the Greek civilisation were, it was not only in Greece that such brilliance was created. While the Greeks created a sophisticated machine which stayed hidden for centuries, in other parts of the world ancient civilisations made harmony between landscape and light. In Ireland this harmony fused the cyclical year together where neolithic people created structures to align with the winter solstice.
3200 years before Christ a sophisticated monument was built in Ireland which still has importance today. The monument older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge is an astronomically alignment structure at Knowth, Co Meath, Ireland. The structure still baffles scientists to this day about what its significance really is. There are many speculations existing including it being the “Womb of the Moon”.
However still every winter solstice the chamber of the monument aligns with the rising sun and the sun shines deep into a narrow passage illuminating the monument for 17 minutes. How neolithic people 3200 years ago built such a structure that sustains to this day is impressive.
Check out the suns alignment with the prehistoric monument here
Greek Temples and Thunder
Finally, machines were not only used to provide information or encapsulate the wonders of the world, ancient machines were also used to manipulate the masses. One example concerns thunder in ancient Greece. Thunder was often associated with the presence of the Gods, especially Zeus. The sound of thunder was seen as essential by the priests in order to keep worshipers in awe. So what did the priests have installed in the Temple? – A thunder producing machine capable of providing sounds which would create mystery around worshiping.
Find out more about how this thunder producing machine worked:
These examples of prehistoric civilisations creating structures which in modern times still fascinate scientists are in a way even greater than anything our present day civilisations have created. It makes you wonder, what has this modern computer led generation done which might baffle the generations thousands of years from now. What do you think?
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