The Antikythera Mechanism is one of the most remarkable artefacts ever discovered. It was found by sponge divers off the coast of the Aegean island of Antikythera just over a century ago. The device consists of four fragments with a total of 30 bronze gears.
Very little intensive investigation was done until the early 1950’s when Derek J. de Solla Price (1922-1983) a professor at Yale University undertook a study of the Mechanism. His conclusions were published in a number of papers including Gears from the Greeks, now available as a pdf file(r).
It was originally dated to the 1st century BC and had been ascribed by some to the Greek astronomer Hipparchos, but recent research by Professor Alexander Jones of New York’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World has pushed this back to the 2nd century BC(b). Jones dismissed as ‘desperate’ a suggestion by Dr. Jo Marchant, that the mechanism had been part of a timepiece that possibly controlled the sequential appearance of figures to indicate seasons. Marchant is the author of Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World’s First Computer.
A report(n) published in November 2014 revised further the date of its creation back to 205 BC. This modification includes the suggestion that the mathematics upon which the Mechanism were based were Babylonian rather than Greek. The level of ancient Greek celestial knowledge is also being reappraised in the light of a recent study of a decorated cup of a type known as a skyphos(o).
The superiority of Babylonian mathematics was supported by a recent study of a 3,700-year-old tablet known as Plimpton 322. The tablet was discovered around a century ago in what is now southern Iraq. Australian scientists from the University of New South Wales, Sydney have now demonstrated that the tablet is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, predating the Greek astronomer Hipparchos by over a millennium(z).
The Mechanism is apparently a clockwork device for calculating astronomical events. A number of models have been built(c), based on the evidence of the fragments discovered and further study is continuing. Even Lego was used by designer Andrew Carol to build a replica of the mechanism(e)(d). Furthermore, in November 2011 Hublot, the Swiss watch manufacturer, revealed(h) that they had designed a wristwatch based on the Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2008, it was announced that writing engraved on the housing indicated the locations of athletic games; “The Games dial shows six competitions, four Panhellenic (Olympics, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean) plus Naa (Dodona) and very probably Halieia (Rhodes)(w).“
At same time, a possible connection with the renowned Archimedes was being posited by some commentators(f). An even more remarkable feature was the clever use of two gears, one positioned slightly off-centre in relation to the other, allowing the mechanism to track the apparent speeding up and slowing down of the moon each month, resulting from its elliptical rather than circular orbit(g).
The question that has now arisen is whether “It is possible that the mechanism is based on heliocentric principles, rather than the then-dominant geocentric view espoused by Aristotle and others.”(ab)
Dr. Minas Tsikritsis, a Cretan researcher, maintains that an object from the Minoan Age discovered
in 1898 in the Paleokastro site on Crete, was in fact “a cast for building a mechanism that functioned as an analog computer to calculate solar and lunar eclipses.”(i) This was nearly a millennium and a half before the Antikythera Mechanism was manufactured, which would make it Minoan.
Commentators such as David Hatcher Childress see the Antikythera device as just another piece of evidence of more complex scientific knowledge among early cultures than is usually accepted and that by extension the possibility of a technologically advanced Atlantis.
In his 2014 book, The Stonhenge Codes, Professor David P.Gregg, has devoted an appendix to the sophistication of the mechanism, in which he discusses the functions of individual shafts and gears. His objective is to show that its complexity is comparable to that of Stonehenge and that our view of early Greek mathematics and astronomy requires revision. His book can be read online(j).
*A January 2019 article elaborates further on the Mechanism’s function as a predictor of possible eclipses(ae). It may be worth recalling that in the 1960’s, Gerald Hawkins suggested that the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge were also eclipse predictors, an idea endorsed by Fred Hoyle.(af)*
Opus Gemini, a trilogy of novels by Andreas Möhn, based on the Antikythera Mechanism was published on Kindle format in September 2013 and is also available in other formats. Further information and updates are available on his website(m).
The following website(a), will keep you up to date on related developments.
New Scientist announced on June 4th 2014(k) that plans have been made to dive again to the Antikythera wreck in the hope of finding a second ‘mechanism’, using a ‘wearable submarine’. The Sept/Oct season of 2014 ended with evidence that the ship had been up to 50 metres long, making it thelargest ancient shipwreck ever discovered(l).
The February 2015 edition of Smithsonian Magazine gives an up-todate review of the scientific studies of the Mechanism(p). In June 2016 the Smithsonian returned to the subject with an article(u) devoted to the extensive writing, some less than a millimetre tall, revealed by CT scans on virtually every surface. This recent study indicates that the Mechanism also appears to have an astrological purpose! These investigations also pointed to the Aegean island of Rhodes as its place of manufacture.
In August 2016, further dives confirmed that “the ancient cargo in Antikythera, still full of goods, is located at a depth of around 60 metres, making the work of divers particularly difficult. They only have 20 minutes to explore the sea. To help them, a set of submarine drones are currently being developed for next year. They will detect metal and make real-time analyses of the data collected.”(v)
Another paper(t) in 2015 offers a more complete history of the Mechanism’s discovery and subsequent studies.
In 2017, further objects were recovered from the wreck, including parts of a metal statue, as well as compacted metal objects that have yet to be cleaned and separated. It seems that the site has not yielded all its secrets yet(aa). There are indications that there may be as many as nine statues still to be recovered, which are under huge boulders that overlie the metal objects and may have tumbled onto the wreck during a massive earthquake that shook Antikythera and surrounding islands in the 4th century AD.
A physically smaller but important discovery was that of the part of a gearwheel in Olbia, Sardinia in 2006. Giovanni Pastore, an Italian mechanical engineer, has studied the object and written an article(s) on it for the Ancient Origins website, where he informs us that it is “dated between the mid-2nd century and the end of the 3rd century BC, has revealed a very important surprise: the teeth have a special curving which make them extraordinarily similar to the mathematically perfect profile used in modern gears. Moreover, the unusual composition of the alloy (brass) was completely unexpected.”
Inevitably, the suggestion has be made that first century BC Greeks could not have created the Mechanism without alien assistance as the following quote shows; “While many experts try to offer explanations for how this device could have been conceived, designed and built, all their concepts fail the tests of logic. There is only one possible explanation. Beings with advanced knowledge of astronomical bodies, mathematics and precision engineering tools created the device or gave the knowledge for its creation to someone during the first century B.C. But the knowledge was not recorded or wasn’t passed down to anyone else.“(x) It is also humourously ‘suggested’ that the early Greeks had laptops!!(q)
For the technically minded, a clockmaker known just as ‘Chris’ has an extensive website(y) where he has a number of videos illustrating how he has reconstructed copies of individual components of the Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2018, Charles River Editors have produced a fascinating volume  that offers a valuable history of the Mechanism and the various efforts to determine its origin and purpose.
*A few days ago (17.11.18) it was announced that a missing piece of the Mechanism had been found near the site of the original finds(ac). However, the Smithsonian Magazine swiftly adopted a more cautious approach(ad), claiming that it was probably not a piece of the Mechanism! Watch this space.*
(a) http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/ (offline Oct 2018) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170627012433/http://antikythera-mechanism.gr/
(e) http://acarol.woz.org/antikythera_mechanism.html (offline April 2018) See: Archive 3800
(m) www.opus-gemini.de (offline 2017)
(z) Historia Mathematica, August 2017.
Stonehenge is part of what is now arguably the most extensive and complex megalithic site in Europe. It was actually purchased in 1915 for a sum equivalent today to £680,000 by Cecil Chubb, who later gave it to the nation(aa).
Two depictions of Stonehenge exist which go back as far as medieval times, with a third recently added by Professor Christian Heck(ai). Little serious study of the monument was undertaken until the 17th century antiquarians, predecessors of the archaeologists, took an interest.
What is not generally known is that the monument has been subjected to numerous ‘restorations’ over the past hundred years and what we see today is actually a 20th century vision of the original site. One website(au) shows a large series of images recording some of these renovations. There is evidence that at least one stone was re-erected a metre and a half from its original position.
Photos from 1867 show parts of Stonehenge, before later ‘restorations’ altered their earlier positions(ax), originally released by the UK’s Ordnance Survey(ay).
New technology has now revealed the existence of another henge less than a kilometre from Stonehenge (BBC Focus October 2010). We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball bearings may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Other recent discoveries in the vicinity include the 3,550-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy buried with a rare amber necklace – a clear indication of status. Furthermore, dental analysis revealed that he had come from the Mediterranean region.
Stonehenge is not the only site to have its area of interest expanded in recent years. The 2018 drought in Ireland and the UK had produced evidence of a previously unknown henge situated not too far from Newgrange, our best-known megalithic site(az).*This new location has been dubbed ‘dronehenge’.*
Similar sites have been revealed throughout these islands as a result of the current (July 2018) dry period.
October 2015 gave us a report(ad) that a semi-permanent structure was discovered about a mile east of Stonehenge and dated to be 1,300 years earlier than megalithic edifice.
The two big questions relating to Stonehege are its exact purpose and the method of construction.
Allied to that is the question of how the ‘bluestones’ were transported from Wales. Was it by humans or glaciers(aj). However, an early theory proposed that the ‘bluestones’ were deposited by glaciers much closer to the Stonehenge site. This idea was quickly debunked, but has once again surfaced in a new book by Brian John.
What may have been a much earlier precursor to Stonehenge’s calendrical features, tentatively dated as 10,000 old, has been identified in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire(f). This is now arguably the world’s oldest lunar calendar.
We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball-bearing may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Stone balls were also discovered near a megalithic monument in Scotland and in Malta, stone balls have been found in the vicinity of the ancient temples there – some still in situ under the stones. In 2004, Gordon Pipes put forward a radical new method of construction(ac), which requires minimal manpower and equipment. In 2009, Pipes expanded on his ‘stone-rowing’ idea in book form.
*The Ancient-Wisdom.com website has an interesting item regarding the use of balls and tracks in 1770 to shift very heavy weights, noting that “The largest stone ever (recently) recorded to have been moved purely by human power alone is the famous ‘Thunder Stone’ from Russia, which was moved to St. Petersburg from the gulf of Finland. It was rolled along on small balls placed on a track (Only 100m in length) at a rate of 150m per day.”(ba)(bb).*
More discoveries are expected as investigations continue. In 2014 it was announced that although most attention is focused on the rising sun at the summer solstice, it is now thought that Stonehenge was more likely to have been concerned with the midwinter setting sun(m).
In the 1960’s it was Gerald Hawkins who set a cat among the pigeons with the publication of his Stonehenge Decoded. in which he proposed that the monument was in fact used as an astronomical computer. Many of the leading astronomers and archaeologists of the day offered apoplectic responses. Hawkins went as far to suggest that the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge were also eclipse predictors, an idea endorsed by Fred Hoyle.
Another theory has recently been advanced by Thomas O. Mills which suggests that Stonehenge was aligned with the position of the North Pole as it was situated around 10,000 BC as proposed by Charles Hapgood.(u)
Paul D. Burley has published a two-part paper(q)(r) on Stonehenge, which draws attention to the fact that most commentators have focused on the solar or lunar significance of the site’s alignments that that he feels is in stark contrast to other European megalithic monuments that would appear to have been designed with stellar alignments in mind. Burley is the author of Stonehenge: As Above, So Below.
In 1995 Duncan Steel suggested in his book, Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets, that Stonehenge I had been constructed as a predictor of the Earth’s intersection with the path of a comet and its attendant debris, which had a 19-year periodicity(x).
Stonehenge, among other megalithic structures, has been linked by various writers with Plato’s Atlantis. One extreme example of this is the suggestion that if the number of Aubrey Holes, 56, is multiplied by the diameter of the Aubrey Circle we get 16,200 feet which is “the exact diameter of Plato’s Atlantis”. Now a ten minute search on the Internet reveals FIVE different figures for the diameter of the Circle, ranging from 271.6’ to 288’. Combine that with the uncertainty attached to the value of the unit of measurement employed by Plato, it is clear that any claim of a connection between the Aubrey Holes and Atlantis is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.
Jürgen Spanuth suggested that the five trilithons “most probably represented five sets of twins.” [0015.85], an idea echoed later by Dieter Braasch(as). Spanuth was adamant that a commonly held view linking Stonehenge with Hyperborea was incorrect as Hyperboreans had come from Jutland.
The late Philip Coppens echoed(b) the views of a fellow Belgian, Marcel Mestdagh, that there might be a connection between monuments within the Stonehenge Heritage Site and Atlantis, namely Woodhenge, which comprised of posts arranged in six concentric circles. The suggestion being that this arrangement is in some manner a reflection of the concentric features in Atlantis described by Plato. I can only consider this to be highly speculative, somewhat akin to the suggestion(c) that Stonehenge I was an earthquake predictor.
For those interested, a recently reconstructed German counterpart of Woodhenge has had the original dated to 2300 BC(aq).
However, in the meanwhile we will have to be content with a recent book by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery , which includes all the discoveries revealed by the recent ten years of investigation.
A 2014 offering from Professor David P.Gregg, The Stonehenge Codes, throws further light on the mathematics used for the building and development of Stonehenge over a 1500 year period was consistently the same polygon geometry. Gregg has also identified an earlier Babylonian influence. His book has a considerable numerical content that many will find heavy going. The text of the book is available online(j). The July 2014 edition of the BBC Focus magazine offers evidence that the history of the Stonehenge location can be traced to nearer the end of the Ice Age.
It has been generally accepted for many years that the bluestones (spotted dolerites) at Stonehenge had been brought from the Preseli Mountains of Wales. Now (Nov.2013) evidence has been presented that identifies the precise outcrop, Carn Goedog, as their source(h). Further investigation has produced the claim by Paul Devereux that the rock there was chosen because of its acoustic qualities(I), raising the possibility that Stonehenge was the site of the first ‘rock’ concert. A more wide-ranging essay on the subject of archaeoacoustics is available online(ak).
However, in November 2015, a report threw doubt on the existence of a Neolithic quarry in the Preseli Hills(ag). Confusingly, the following month it was reported(ah) that studies carried in Wales suggested that the stones had been erected there first before their transportation to Wiltshire.In May 2016 the controversial matter of the method of transportation from Wales was claimed to have been resolved when it was demonstrated by students from University College London, supervised by Parker-Pearson that the bluestones could have been mounted on a sycamore sleigh and dragged along timbers requiring far less effort than was previously expected.(ao) Parker-Pearson believes that originally the stones had been part of a Welsh tomb which was dismantled and brought to Wiltshire as the successors migrated westward(ap). There is now a search underway tp locate the site of the original monument in Wales.
*Parker-Pearson published a paper in the February 2019 edition of Antiquity in which he reports on his research at the Welsh site, where he found some of the tools used to extract the pillars and determined the method of transportation(bc).*
After centuries of being described as one of the wonders of the megalithic world, the construction skills of Stonehenge’s builders have been harshly criticised by Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University, who went as far as to describe them as ‘cowboy builders’(n).
In 2012, Gordon Freeman, a Canadian scientist, published Hidden Stonehenge in which he offers an extensive study of a native American “medicine wheel” in Alberta and compares its astronomical alignments with that of Stonehenge, revealing ‘incredible’ similarities. His book highlights the use of sophisticated astronomical knowledge at both locations, in the very distant past suggesting cultural links millennia before Columbus!
A somewhat cruder but equally effective winter solstice alignment was recently identified in the Chilean Andes(aw).
A site in Australia discovered in the first half of the last century by Frederic Slater (President of the Australian Archaeological Society) and dubbed as ‘Australia’s Stonehenge’ was bulldozed in 1940 on the orders of the Australian Government! The location, obviously, never as impressive as its namesake on Salisbury Plain, has been again identified and with drawings made over seventy years ago has enabled a computer generated image of the site to be made(t). A father and son team, Steven & Evan Strong have recently relocated the damaged site(af).
In May 2013, Melville Nicholls published a Kindle ebook, Children of the Sea God, in which he argues strongly for a Stonehenge built by Atlanteans, better known as the Bell Beaker People!
Robert John Langdon has now proposed(g) that Stonehenge was constructed by megalith builders, around 8500 BC, who had migrated from Doggerland/Atlantis as it became submerged and that the Altar Stone at Stonehenge points to Doggerland!
Shoji Yoshinori has suggested that Stonehenge was intended as a model of Atlantis(k). as had the late Philip Coppens(b).
It is quite obvious that more convincing evidence is required if any claim of a Stonehenge/Atlantis connection is to gain greater traction. In 2018, David L. Hildebrandt published Atlantis – The Awakening , in which he has endeavoured to do just that with a mass of material that he claims supports the idea of Atlantis in Britain and Stonehenge as the remnants of the Temple of Poseidon. He suggests that the five trilithons represent the five sets of male twins, an idea voiced by Jürgen Spanuth and more recently by Dieter Braasch. Even earlier George H. Cooper proposed Stonehenge as the Pillars of Herakles. I am not convinced by the spirited defence of his hypothesis, as I consider his date too early and the location too far from Athens or Egypt to consider them to be within ‘easy striking distance’ for the purpose of invasion.
As recent as the summer of 2014 evidence was accidentally discovered(o) that suggested that the Stonehenge megalithic stones form a complete circle. Commenting on the discovery Susan Greaney from English Heritage said “A lot of people assume we’ve excavated the entire site and everything we’re ever going to know about the monument is known, but actually there’s quite a lot we still don’t know and there’s quite a lot that can be discovered just through non-excavation methods.” An extensive digital mapping project carried out at Stonehenge by researchers from the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna has revealed “that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.”(p)
December 2014 saw an encampment site just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge have its date confirmed at around 4000 BC(s).
Marden Henge, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury is reckoned to be ten time bigger than Stonehenge and has now (2015) seen the start of a three-year, £1,00,000, dig by 80 archaeologists hoping to unlock its secrets(a). Dr. Jim Leary, a leading archaeologist working at the site is convinced that Marden may turn out to be more significant than Stonehenge(w).
Earlier in 2015 Tim Daw, a steward at the Stonehenge site, has claimed that he had discovered a previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument. His theory is that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset and has been observed to be correct(v).
The archaeological importance of Stonehenge was boosted further in September 2015 with the announcement that a line of nearly 100 buried stones had been discovered just a mile away, beside the Durrington Walls ‘superhenge’(y). There are images available, including a short video clip relating to this new discovery(z).
In November 2015 the New York Times published an updated overview(ae) of the various excavations that have taken place in the vicinity of Stonehenge.
Sarah Ewbank has now offered us a fascinating new theory regarding the original purpose and plan of Stonehenge. In a fully illustrated website(al) she reveals that the structure was conceived as “a ‘Cathedral-like’ building with a massive oak-framed roof, and a huge hall at it’s centre.”
Further discoveries are listed on the Heritage England website(ab). What is not listed there is the information that Stonehenge was constructed by giants on the instruction of the Devil! This b.s tidbit was imparted to us in April 2016 by Dr. Dennis Lindsay on the TV show of disgraced US evangelist Jim Bakker(am). Another blog from Jason Colavito exposed further Stonehenge nonsense, this time from New Zealander, Ted Harper, who has recently claimed that the Wiltshire monument together with the Great Pyramid, both warn of a meteor strike in 2020.
Theories relating to Stonehenge and Atlantis seem to proliferate at comparable rates. In a new book, The Memory Code, by Lynne Kelly, she proposes that the Wiltshire monument is a giant mnemonic(ar) and that other megalithic sites also were.
July 2017, saw a BBC review of the recent acceptance of Stonehenge as just a part of a huge complex of monuments, with a hint of more to come(at).
(b) http://www.philipcoppens.com/stone_ave.html (offline Dec. 2017) (See Archive 2140)
(m)BBC Focus Magazine, July 2014, p.51
(x) http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba45/ba45feat.html (offline Mar. 2016) see Archive 2657
(ai) http://www.archaeologyuk.org/ba/ba92/feat1.shtml (offline Mar. 2016) see Archive 2832