The "Dial of Destiny" in the new Indiana Jones movie is a fictionalized version of the Antikythera mechanism. Although the original object isn't as advanced as portrayed in the film, its prochronistic mechanism sparks thoughts about time travel.
The Antikythera Mechanism is considered the first known analogue computer. It was used to predict the positions of the moon, sun, and five then-known planets.
It's unclear exactly when the mechanism was built, estimated to be around the late second or early first century BC. It's believed to be the work of the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, as it employs his theory for the motion of the Moon. The Antikythera mechanism was discovered on a sunken Roman cargo ship near the island of Antikythera, having likely originated from Rhodes.
The ship and its contents remained underwater for two millennia before being discovered by sponge divers in 1900. Among the treasures, the mechanism initially went unnoticed due to its corroded state.
In 1902, archaeologist Valerios Stais identified the object as an astronomical clock, but the idea was dismissed as it seemed too complex for its time - machines with similar complexity did not appear until the fourteenth century. Not until 1951, when Professor Derek J. de Solla Price examined the mechanism using X-ray and gamma-ray images, was it confirmed as a planetary computer.
Working with only the surviving one-third of the mechanism, researchers speculated on how the machine would have worked. In 2021, scientists at London's University College made significant progress, using X-ray scans to create a working computer model that can predict celestial positions and even athletic game timings.
In the movie "Indiana Jones - Dial of Destiny," the Antikythera mechanism becomes a time-traveling device. This doesn't require much imagination, as questions about the true origins of the Antikythera Mechanism have arisen since its discovery. The artifact seemingly exists in a vacuum of invention: such a complex machine couldn't have been designed without precursors, yet no other comparable mechanisms from the Greco-Roman period have been found. Has the machine been send back in time? Does it holds more secrets yet to be uncovered?