Scientists at last understand ancient calculating device

After many years of study, scientists at last can fathom the works of a calculating device from ancient Greece, which some researchers consider more valuable than the Mona Lisa due to its unique historical value.

The Anti-kythera Mechanism, built over two thousand years ago to perform astronomical calculations, contains more than 30 precisely-made bronze gears. Scientists say its precision and sophistication are a comparable to devices built more than a thousand years later. It would have been able to compute eclipses and other astronomical events to precisions on the order of a few hours. The device was found in a shipwreck in 1902.

"This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind," said study leader Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University in Wales. "The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right...In terms of historical and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa."

In addition to the link below, is online a related story at USA Today. The "original article" link on MSNBC has a computer-reconstructed image of the device in its original appearance, whereas the USA Today article has a photograph of the actual device in its current condition. —Justin