Reconstruction synthesis of the calendrical subsystem of Antikythera mechanism

Hong Sen Yan, Jian Liang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The damaged excavation of the Antikythera mechanism presents the oldest astronomical analog computer in ancient Greece. Its interior mechanism is a complicated gear train with many subsystems in which some are unclear, such as the calendrical subsystem. This work focuses on the reconstruction synthesis of the calendrical subsystem and provides a systematic approach to generate all feasible designs. Based on the studies of historical literatures and existing designs, the required design constraints are concluded. Then, according to the concepts of generalization and specialization of mechanisms, two feasible designs and 14 results of teeth counting, including the existing one by Freeth (2002, "The Antikythera Mechanism: 1. Challenging the Classic Research," Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry, 2, pp. 21-35; 2002, "The Antikythera Mechanism: 2. Is It Posidonius Orrery?," Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry, 2, pp. 45-58; 2006, "Decoding the Ancient Greek Astronomical Calculator Known as the Antikythera Mechanism," Nature (London), 444, pp. 587-591; 2008, "Calendars With Olympiad Display and Eclipse Prediction on the Antikythera Mechanism," Nature (London), 454, pp. 614-617; 2009, "Decoding an Ancient Computer," Sci. Am., 301(6), pp. 76-83), which are in consistent with the science theories and techniques of the subject's time period, are synthesized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021004
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 4

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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