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Return to Antikythera: Divers revisit wreck where ancient computer found 2012-10-04 0:00
Site where oldest computer lay for thousands of years may yield other treasures and even another Antikythera mechanism
In 1900, Greek sponge divers stumbled across "a pile of dead, naked women" on the seabed near the tiny island of Antikythera. It turned out the figures were not corpses but bronze and marble statues, part of a cargo of stolen Greek treasure that was lost when the Roman ship carrying them sank two thousand years ago on the islandís treacherous rocks.
It was the first marine wreck to be studied by archaeologists, and yielded the greatest haul of ancient treasure that had ever been found. Yet the salvage project Ė carried out in treacherous conditions with desperately crude equipment Ė was never completed. So this month, armed with the latest diving technology, scientists are going back.
Between 1900 and 1901, the sponge divers retrieved a string of stunning antiquities, including weapons, jewellery, furniture and some exquisite statues. But their most famous find was a battered lump that sat unnoticed for months in the courtyard of Athensí National Archaeological Museum, before it cracked open to reveal a bundle of cogwheels, dials and inscriptions.
It has taken scientists over a hundred years to decode the inner workings of those corroded fragments, with x-ray and CT scans finally revealing a sophisticated clockwork machine used to calculate the workings of the heavens.
Dubbed the Antikythera mechanism, it had pointers that displayed the positions of the sun, moon and planets in the sky, as well as a star calendar, eclipse prediction dial and a timetable of athletics events including the Olympics.
Itís a stunning piece of technology that revolutionises our understanding of the abilities of the ancient Greeks. Nothing close to its complexity is known to have been created for well over a thousand years afterwards, and the emergence of mechanical clocks in medieval Europe.
There are questions that remain unanswered, such as where itís from and who built it (Posidonius, a philosopher who lived on Rhodes during the first century BC, is one candidate, while the third century BC genius Archimedes may have invented this type of device). But one of the most intriguing mysteries relates to the wreck on which it was found. Whatís still down there?
The wreck lies in around 60 metres of cold, rocky, current-swirled water Ė not an easy place to visit. The sponge divers who salvaged its cargo worked in clunky metal diving suits with little understanding of the dangers of diving at such depth. By the time they abandoned their project, two of them had been paralysed by the bends, and one was dead. They left behind stories of abandoned treasures, including giant marble statues that rolled down the steep slope from the wreck and out of reach.
The undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau spent a couple of days at the wreck site in 1978 and brought up some precious smaller items, including some coins from the Asia Minor coast, which suggested that the ship sailed from there around 70-60 BC (probably carrying war booty from Greek colonies back to Rome). But even with their sleek scuba gear, Cousteauís divers could spend only brief minutes on the seabed without risking the bends.
No one has been back since. Now, after years of negotiations with the Greek authorities, Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist based at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, finally has permission to dive at Antikythera. Heís working with Greek archaeologists including Theotokis Theodoulou of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.
This week, the team begins a three-week survey using rebreather technology, which recycles unused oxygen from each breath and allows divers to stay deeper for longer. The aim is to survey the wreck site properly for the first time, to find out once and for all what has been left down there Ė and to check down the slope, to 70 metres depth or more, to see if those stories of runaway statues are true.
Any items found on the wreck site could provide further clues to the origin or ownership of the ship. And not all of the pieces of the Antikythera mechanism were ever found. Itís a long shot, but those missing bits could still be on the seabed.
This isnít what gets Foley most excited about the project, however. His team will also dive around the entire island, a distance of about 17 nautical miles, using James Bond-style propellers to cover ground quickly. Foley hopes this could reveal a whole clutch of previously unknown wrecks.
The island of Antikythera sits in the middle of what has been a busy trade route since ancient times: a treacherous shard of rock notorious for downing ships in a storm. In Roman times, it was also an infamous centre for pirates. So itís a good bet that there are plenty of other wrecks here, from all periods of history.
Migrant Crisis stand-up routine - Sam Hyde 2015-10-10 18:07
YouTube description: "Migrant" "Crisis" AKA Muslim Road Trip. Hundreds of thousands of astronauts, doctors, sciencemen, and peaceful clock inventors descend upon the countries with the most collective guilt and free stuff.
This was pretty good man... I wasn't expecting this reaction from the same Boston college audience who so thoroughly disapproved of my 'Mike Brown' routine. I think the invasion of ...
Muslim Rape Gang in Rhode Island 2015-10-10 2:47
2 Mohammeds, a Yazeed, & a Tareq accused of raping two 18 year old female Johnson & Wales students:
By Amanda Milkovits, Lynn Arditi, Providence Journal, Oct 7, 2015 (thanks to Andy Bostom)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Four male Johnson & Wales University students have been arrested in connection with a reported sexual assault and alleged drugging of two female students at the university.
South Carolina city to pay $6.5 million over police shooting of black man 2015-10-10 1:18
The family of an unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer will get a $6.5 million settlement from North Charleston in South Carolina, city officials said on Thursday.
The man, Walter Scott, 50, was shot after fleeing a traffic stop in April. The shooting was caught on a bystander's video and reignited a national outcry over ...
Finally, The CIA Admits Covering Up JFK Assassination 2015-10-09 23:56
Suspicions that the CIA covered up JFK’s murder have finally been confirmed, according to an explosive Politico report out this week. Fifty-two years after the President’s death, declassified documents show that the CIA were in communication with alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK’s murder in 1963, and they were monitoring his mail since 1959.
Not only that but John McCone, who was Chief of the ...
More Great Media Moments in Muslim Achievement: Headscarf Lady Wins Bakeoff In Britain 2015-10-09 23:18
Last month, America rejoiced when a 14-year-old Muslim lad in Irving, Texas discovered time, thus solving the universe’s ongoing problem that everything happens at once. This month, Britain is exulting that a Muslim lady can cook better than most Brits. From the New York Times:
Muslim Winner of Baking Contest Defies Prejudice in Britain
By Dan Bilefsky, OCT. 8, 2015
LONDON — Prime Minister ...