Technology sheds light to the shipwreck of Antikythera
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Technology sheds light to the shipwreck of Antikythera

A revolutionary new deep sea diving suit is used to explore the ancient shipwreck where Antikythera Mechanism, one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity. The 2014 project will feature the latest, most advanced submersible technologies. From robotic mapping systems, to closed circuit rebreathers and a new Atmospheric Diving System (the Exosuit), the 2014 project seeks to maximize the scientific return from our month in the field. Even more importantly, the technologies selected for the project increase safety margins for our operations team. The Exosuit, built in Canada by Nuytco Research, will permit divers to reach depths of 150 metres and still perform delicate tasks.

The Antikythera Mechanism, a 2nd-century BC device known as the world’s oldest computer, was discovered by sponge divers in 1900 off a remote Greek island in the Aegean. The highly complex mechanism of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.

Archaeologists believe many other artefacts are yet to be discovered in and around the wreck, given the fact that up until now they had only been able to operate at a depth of 60 metres. The mechanism was found with a spectacular bronze statue of a youth in the wreck of a cargo ship apparently carrying booty to Rome, and researchers are certain that other items on board still remain to be discovered.

“We have good signs that there are other objects present,” said Angeliki Simosi, head of Greece’s directorate of underwater antiquities, after exploratory dives in the area in 2012 and 2013.

The Greek team is assisted by Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist from the renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Massachusetts, which was involved in a dive to the wreck of the Titanic.

Foley has helped in outings to identify ancient shipwrecks over the last five years. As well as the new Exosuit, the Antikythera expedition will also use robot mapping equipment and new advanced closed-circuit “rebreathers”, which will allow divers much more time underwater.