The 2,000-year-old Greek 'super computer' used to predict eclipses decades in advance
The world's oldest calculator - a box of dials, gears and cogs created by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago - could predict eclipses decades in advance, say researchers.
The Antikythera Mechanism, recovered from a Roman shipwreck more than a century ago, was also used to record the four-yearly cycle of the original Olympic Games.
It was created around 100BC and previous studies have shown that it was used to chart the movement of planets and the passing of days and years.
X-ray scans have now shown that it could predict eclipses, and was used to record important events in the Greek calendar, says the scientific journal Nature.
Astronomer Professor Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University said: 'It is more complex than any other known device for the next 1,000 years.'
'We knew that this 2,100-year-old ancient Greek mechanism calculated complex cycles of mathematical astronomy,' said Dr Tony Freeth, of London-based Images First, a former research mathematician at Cambridge University.
'It really surprised us to discover that it also showed the four-year cycle of ancient Greek games, including the Olympic Games.'
The Mechanism was onboard a Roman cargo ship that sank off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in the first century BC.