Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 May 2018

The Cretan Middle Bronze Age ‘Minoan kernos’ was designed to predict a total solar eclipse and to facilitate a magnetic compass

W.S. Downey Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 15.1 (2015): 95-107

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Archaeometry is the application of scientific techniques used to analyze archaeological materals. The Cretan Bronze Age Minoan Kernos, has hitherto, been regarded as a gaming board or for religious purposes. Here, it is shown, that, it was designed, specifically, to predict the occurrence of the 9th. January 1860 BCE Total Solar Eclipse. A prototype magnetic compass was centrally facilitated in a non-magnetic marble structure, whose geomagnetic declination angle, appears to coincide with the Kernos’ eclipse prediction-axis orientation. Comparisons of eclipse constructions taken from Kernos measurements, with those of Hipparchus (2nd. c. BCE), appear to be similar, suggesting a common origin. Evidence obtained using a multidisciplinary approach, is testament to the sophistication of Middle Bronze Age science and technology and the ability to create a mathematically-based eclipse predictor and magnetic compass, 3800 years ago and 1700 years before the advent of the Antikythera Mechanism.


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