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Interactive Relighting of the Antikythera Mechanism


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The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient astronomical computer built by the Greeks around 80 B.C. It was found on a shipwreck by sponge divers in 1900, and its exact function still eludes scholars to this day. In September, 2005, as part of the Antikythera Research Project, we were able to access the device in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens to apply reflectance imaging techniques to the front and rear surfaces of the > 70 fragments that comprise the mechanism.  A small portion of  these ‘reflectance images’, or PTMs, are provided at reduced resolution below. Clicking on these images will bring up the Java PTM viewer for controlling lighting. This may take a few seconds, so be patient. If it fails to run, you need to download the Java Runtime Environment. Once running, dragging the mouse with the left button depressed will change lighting direction. Surface enhancements can be performed by right clicking in the Java viewer -> effects -> specular.

If this page does not display correctly, please download the Java Runtime Environment from here first.

AK52a-512 AK43a-512
AK49a-512 AK34a-512
AK50a-512 AK01a-512

Credits + Futher Examples

More information on the Antikythera Research Project encompassing this work is available at www.antikythera-mechanism.gr.

These demos use a Java Applet that was written by Clifford Lyon to display  PTMs interactively on the web. More examples are at HP’s interactive relighting demo page and Cultural Heritage Imaging PTM demo page.  A stand-alone program with further functionality can also be downloaded from the HPL PTM download page. To create your own PTMs, refer to the reflectance imaging page.

 Tom Malzbender
 Dan Gelb

Images from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project. Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, this is a collaboration between the University of Cardiff in Wales, the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, Greece.

Essential technical support has been given by X-Tek Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Images First, Volume Graphics and Keele University.

For information on use of these pictures please contact Professor Mike Edmunds,Cardiff University, Wales  mike.edmunds@astro.cf.ac.uk or Tom Malzbender at Hewlett-Packard at malzbend@hpl.hp.com .


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