The Antikythera Mechanism and the history of science

Friday, April 5, 2024
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Allendale Campus
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

Photo by Chris Kotsiopoulos, "Sky trails over ancient Greece"

Did you love “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”?  Did you wonder if the Dial was real or just a fantasy?  Wonder no longer!

Learn the truth about the real ancient object that inspired the so-called "Dial of Destiny": the Antikythera Mechanism!  The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient Greek analog computer dating back to the 1st or 2nd century BCE. Discovered in 1901 by Greek sponge divers off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera, it is one of the most intriguing artifacts ever found from antiquity.

Guest speaker Dr. Alexander Jones (New York University) is one the nation's leading researchers on the Mechanism, which is widely held to be the world's first computational device for tracking the movements of the stars.  This astronomical calculator revolutionized our understanding of astronomy and celestial mechanics, offering a window into the cosmos as perceived by the ancient Greeks.

Embark on a journey through time as we unravel the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism. Delve into the intricate workings and astonishing complexities of this ancient astronomical calculator, which continues to astound scholars with its sophistication.

Dr. Jones will explain how we can integrate an object once regarded as an "outlier" into the history of ancient science (and technology), along with more general discussion of how historians handle the interplay of material culture and textual evidence to illuminate periods of science for which the evidence is fragmentary.

This event is perfect for history enthusiasts, science aficionados, students, academics, and anyone with a curious mind eager to delve into the wonders of ancient technology and its implications for our understanding of the past.

Let's unlock the secrets of the past together! Join us for an unforgettable journey into the heart of ancient Greek technological innovation and scientific sophistication.

Location Information

Multipurpose Room, Mary Idema Pew Library

Download parking map for the Allendale Campus

Contact Information

Dr. Melissa Morison ([email protected])

Hosting Department, Organization, or Business

Classics Department and Interdepartmental Archaeology Program


academic archaeology arts astronomy history technology

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This event was added to the calendar by Melissa Morison ( on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 and was last updated on Friday, March 15, 2024 at 9:18 a.m.