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"A dial that could change the course of history."
―Helena Shaw[src]

The Antikythera, also known as the Archimedes Dial and the Dial of Destiny, was a dial built by Archimedes as part a series of innovations to defend against Roman attack during the Siege of Syracuse in the 3rd century BC.

Additionally, the dial acted as a compass to locate fissures in time, but its calculations were designed to only ever lead the wielder back to the battle itself, a detail lost to history after the device was split in two.


The Antikythera was built by Archimedes in 213 BC and said to be capable of locating fissures in time. At some point after its initial creation, the dial was split in two with one half captured by the Romans along with the Grafikos, a cipher which led the way to the other section of the device that had been laid to rest with Archimedes in a secret tomb.[1]

The first half of the mechanism was discovered inside a Roman shipwreck off the coast of the island of an island in the Aegean Sea by a sponge diver at the start of the 20th century and Indiana Jones later learned of it during his archaeology studies. He was eventually lured to the island in 1937 from an anonymous telegram which informed him that Italian Fascists were in the area searching for further examples of the mechanism.[2]

Indiana Jones and his friend Basil Shaw later came across the Antikythera segment on a Nazi plunder train during the final years of World War II and the device's potential for time travel ended up driving the latter man "crazy" according to the American archaeologist, but not before Basil's young daughter Helena, Jones' godchild, found out about the device. Around 1951, Jones retrieved the dial from Basil having seen what obsession doing to his friend. Although he resolved to destroy the device, a piece which he felt belonged in a museum, Jones didn't follow through on his promise to Basil and instead kept the Dial stored away within the archives of Hunter College, New York City where he took a teaching position towards the end of the decade.[1]

However, Helena Shaw's own pursuit of archaeology had strayed into the life of an international con artist and, by 1969, was looking for the Dial which led to a reunion with her long estranged godfather, and put them in conflict with Jürgen Voller, an ex-Nazi brought into NASA following the war, who sought the object to "correct" Adolf Hitler's past mistakes. Voller's men, aided by the CIA, later raided Hunter College and encountered Jones showing the mechanism Shaw having been tricked into thinking she was after the Dial to honor her dead father. Shaw stole it and a chase ensued between the different parties involved that saw her escape with the Antikythera by blending into the Apollo 11 ticker tape parade and taking it with her on a flight to offload the device at a lucrative black market auction at the Hotel L'Atlantique in Morocco. Following an unsuccessful attempt to sell the device thanks to the intervention of Jones, Voller's men stole it which resulted in a car chase through the streets of Tangier by Jones, Shaw and her young street thief friend Teddy Kumar, and members of the local organized crime ring.[1]

Jones, Shaw and Kumar later met up with Jones' old friend Renaldo and used his boat to dive the shipwreck in which the first half of the dial was originally found. The boat ventured to the wreck in the Aegean Sea.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

"The research that I found about the Antikythera, rumored to be an invention by Archimedes, has been speculated to be a kind of time compass."
James Mangold[src]

The Antikythera appears as the titular MacGuffin of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.[1] The device is a fictionalized version of the Antikythera mechanism which has been associated with Archimedes.[3] Writer/director James Mangold had developed the film's story themed around getting older, so he felt that, given how his research on the Antikythera Mechanism suggested that people in ancient Greece speculated it to be a time compass, all he and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, his co-writers, had to do was adding "a little extra magic" to craft the Mechanism into the perfect MacGuffin in the form of the Dial of Destiny.[3]



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