Secrets of Antikythera Mechanism, world's oldest calculating machine,

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The secrets of the worlds oldest calculating machine are revealed today, showing that it had dials to mark the timing of eclipses and the Olympic games.

Ever since the spectacular bronze device was salvaged from a shipwreck after its discovery in 1900 many have speculated about the uses of the mechanical calculator which was constructed long before the birth of Christ and was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

The dictionary sized crumbly lump containing corroded fragments of what is now known to be a marvellous hand cranked machine is known as the 'Antikythera Mechanism' because it was discovered near the tiny island of Antikythera, between Crete and mainland Greece.

"We knew that this 2,100 year-old ancient Greek mechanism calculated complex cycles of mathematical astronomy. It really surprised us to discover that it also showed the four-year cycle of ancient Greek games," reports Dr Tony Freeth of Images First, a TV company, and three academic colleagues today in the journal Nature.

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