So you are off to Athens, where, along with visiting the ancient sites, you’ll probably spend some time exploring the National Archeological Museum. It has quite a large collection, and while most visitors only spend an hour or so viewing the highlights and your traveling teens may roll their eyes at yet another museum and “more rocks”. Yet inside the museum, along with the endless collections of statues, vessels, bronzes and ceramics, be sure to seek out the world’s first analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism.

Discovered off of the island of Antikythera, about 15 miles north of Crete by sponge divers around the turn of the last century, for decades scientists and researchers questioned its use, and even today there are different opinions, though it is widely understood to have tracked solar cycles. Thanks to the work of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, we are learning more and more about the world’s first and oldest “computer” and now, when you visit Athens, you can have a look at it in person.

For the techies and scientists out there, lots of info is available the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project – for the laypeople amongst us, check out this New York Times article.