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In 1900 Greek sponge drivers discovered an astonishingly intricate mechanism in Antikythera, an island near Crete. A Greek sponge diver, Elias Stadiatos, discovered the wreck of a cargo ship with statues lying on the seabed that made the greatest impression on him. He returned to the surface, removed his helmet, and gabbled that he had found a heap of dead, naked women. The ship's cargo of luxury goods also included jewellery, pottery, fine furniture, wine and bronzes dating back to the first century BC. But the most important finds proved to be a few green, corroded lumps—the last remnants of an elaborate mechanical device. The device was in the shipwreck of a commercial boat dated at the first century BC located near to cape Glyfada in Potamakia position 60m under the sea and 30m from the shore of the small island of Antikythera. This device now known as the Antikythera device represents the most sophisticated machinery found to date from antiquity; as such its importance is hard to overestimate.
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