Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Anikythera Device - Replicated

The Antikythera Device, discovered over a century ago in the wreckage of a Greek ship that sank around 150 BC, has long fascinated scholars and other interested parties alike. You probably know it to look like this, it's geared mechanisms leading to it being called the world's oldest computer.

But since its likely use as an astronomical calculator was discovered two years ago, it has since been replicated with a working model. Michael Wright, curator at the Imperial College London, built and demonstrates the replica below

UPDATE: You can run your own digital copy with open source software.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Roman Battle in Germany Not When or Where it is Supposed to Be

The Roman colonization, conflict, and co-existence with northern European people is a topic that interested me as a young student, and after using Peter Wells' The Barbarians Speak in my graduate seminar on hybrid material culture, has come to interest me again.

So it is timely that a recent discovery suggests the history of that interaction is still open to change. Archaeologists have uncovered a third-century A.D. battlefield, involving what appear to have been well-equipped Roman soldiers, in Germany long after they had been thought to have drawn back to defensive lines farther south.