The Mechanism is named after the Greek island of Antikythera [antih-KITH-ehra], where in 1900 a sponge diver taking shelter from a storm found an ancient shipwreck 200 feet below the Mediterranean’s surface. Archeologists removed an array of artifacts, but it wasn’t until mid-1902, that one of them noticed that embedded in what was thought to be a lump of broken calcified bronze statuary was a gear wheel.
Since its discovery in 1902, the Antikythera Mechanism — with its intricate and baffling system of about 30 geared wheels — has been an enigma. Our knowledge of its functions has increased as computer-based imaging, analysis and X-ray technologies have evolved. During the last 50 years, researchers have identified various astronomical and calendar functions, including gears that mimic the movement of the sun and moon.
But it has taken some of the most advanced technology of the 21st century to decipher during the past year the most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C. The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project,
From Wired magazine Imaging the Antikythera Computer