Tip ‘ the pileus to Diana Wright, who sent in this tantalizingly brief item from Athens News (and it’s a month old … not sure why it hasn’t really spread outside of a handful of newspapers):
Researcher Minas Tsikritsis who hails from Crete — where the Bronze Age Minoan civilization flourished from approximately 2700 BC to 1500 century BC — maintains that the Minoan Age object discovered in 1898 in Paleokastro site, in the Sitia district of western Crete, preceded the heralded “Antikythera Mechanism” by 1,400 years, and was the first analog and “portable computer” in history.
“While searching in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion for Minoan Age findings with astronomical images on them we came across a stone-made matrix unearthed in the region of Paleokastro, Sitia. In the past, archaeologists had expressed the view that the carved symbols on its surface are related with the Sun and the Moon,” Tsikritsis said.
The Cretan researcher and university professor told ANA-MPA that after the relief image of a spoked disc on the right side of the matrix was analysed it was established that it served as a cast to build a mechanism that functioned as an analog computer to calculate solar and lunar eclipses. The mechanism was also used as sundial and as an instrument calculating the geographical latitude.
Not sure what discipline Tsikritsis is a professor of (a quick check of the web most often gives the rather vague ‘specialist in ancient Aegean writing systems; not sure about that), but it’s interesting that he sees this — apparently — as a 25 tooth gear of some sort. One of the gears in the Antikythera Mechanism’s ‘sun-moon assembly’ has 24 teeth, so potentially this is a somewhat less ‘sophisticated’ (for want of a better word) method of calculation. Then again, it would be interesting to know the diameter of this ‘gear’ (which I can’t seem to find anywhere on the web, except associated with this article in various forms) in order to try and figure out how large the ‘minoan mechanism’ would have to be. And yet then again, perhaps we should suspicious because Tsikritsis apparently also claims to have translated/decoded Linear A (not sure how much weight to give this item google translated in a discussion forum). I think we’ll defer judgement on this one …