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"A Portable Cosmos" Reviewed in The Spectator

By Maggie Pavao
06/01/2017

The review in The Spectator of Interim Director Alexander Jones"A Portable Cosmos" traces the story of the Antikythera Mechanism, a mysterious ancient device that has taken over a century of research to be fully understood since 1900-1901 when sponge divers off the island of Antikythera, a small island northwest of Crete, accidentally uncovered a Hellenistic shipwreck and salvaged part of its cargo, including a ‘slab’ with hard to read inscriptions and fragments of complex gearwork. 

In his Spectator review, Michael Bywater writes:

And so, standing upon the shoulders of 117 years of meticulous giants, comes Alexander Jones, who is Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World — a job title worth citing in full, not only because of its own flawless exactitude, but because, in a world slowly becoming blacker than a shipworm, it is a cause for joy that such a post, at such an institute, exists. And Jones sets out to synthesise their work, and to attend to the great question: what the hell were they doing?

Find out by reading A Portable Cosmos: Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World, available for purchase on the Oxford University Press website and in our gallery store during open exhibition hours. 

"A Portable Cosmos" Reviewed in The Spectator

Detail of the Antikythera Mechanism, on display at the Archaeological Museum, Athens. (Getty Images)