On an unexpected day in 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais found a knowledge gem in an old shipwreck at Antikythera. It appeared as some corroded chunk of metal that probably was a gear or wheel. The metal he found was turned out to be a part of Antikythera Mechanism, an archaic analog astronomical computer.
The mechanism was used to track planetary position, even for making predictions such as lunar and solar eclipse. It was probably also used for navigation and mapping. Recent 3D computer models have revealed that the mechanism had more than 30 sophisticated gears arranged in a wooden and bronze case, only for a size of a shoebox. The device was way ahead of its time—probably around 150 BC.
Historians still continue to study the complexity of Antikythera Mechanism’s purposes and inner workings until this day. You could also admire the exquisite complexity directly in National Archaeological Museum of Greece. The discovery has shown to us, that even an old decayed piece of metal could bring enlightenment and inspiration for today’s knowledge.