Travels in Greece

Museum of Ancient Greek Technology in Katakolon

We received an email today regarding the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology which resides on the main square of Katakolon opposite the train station and next to the church. The last time we were in Katakolo in the summer of 2009 it appeared very shut and we were told that it was unlikely to re-open, but the email seems to negate that news.

About the museum of Ancient Greek Technology

The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology in Katakolon operates under the auspices of the Municipality of Pyrgos and includes approximately 200 reliably operating models of mechanisms and inventions of the ancient Greek wonder after research, study and construction by Kostas Kotsanas. It is the most reliable and plenary exhibition of its kind in the world.

The exhibits are accompanied by rich audio-visual material such as, explanatory labels and giant posters with opulent information, analytical diagrams, photos and complete bibliographical references (in both Greek and English) while some of the exhibits are interactive. There are projecting stations with video and animation as well as documentaries in which the exhibitor explains the function and the use of the mechanisms. The exhibition (categorized in thematic units) follows the modern educational perception in Pedagogic and Museum Education so that it acts multi-leveled as far as the greatness of ancient Greek technological thought and technique are concerned, not only for all rungs of the educational community but also the wider public.

Many of the exhibits and study on which the constructions are based have been presented at international conventions and exhibitions, while periodic exhibitions of the museum have been realized in both Greece and abroad.

The aim of the exhibition is to familiarize the public with the unbelievable technological achievements of the ancient Greeks giving the visitor the opportunity to discover that the ancient Greeks had:

  1. invented a “cinema” capable of presenting, automatically, the plot of a myth with moving picture and sound
  2. devised (unfortunately, only as entertainment) automotive vehicles (automobiles) with automatic drive, a gear box, hydraulic programmed valves and other complex components
  3. used operating robots with the purpose of serving them
  4. invented the beginning of the steam engine
  5. used complex yet accurate measuring instruments which permitted them to calculate the diameter of the Earth and the Sun-Earth distance or even to open up tunnels, kilometers long from both sides of a mountain
  6. conceived ingenious slot machines
  7. used complex elevating mechanisms to build extremely high constructions with only minimal manpower
  8. had automatic clocks (and alarm clocks) which worked without interruption or human interference, etc.

Furthermore, this exhibition is another opportunity to vitiate the false views of some researchers about the allegedly lacking “technophilia” of the ancient Greeks and their abhorrence towards the “brutal” skills. For example, how surprised one feels when learning that the “aeolosphere” of Heron with the addition of a pulley, for the driving motion, (by one of his students or himself) would have led (if the political, economical and social conditions of the time and the intervention of the allegedly “practical” Romans had allowed) to the Industrial Revolution, 1500 years earlier, with unpredictable consequences for humanity.

The museum exhibits are categorized in units and the tour includes

  1. the unit with 27 ancient Greek clocks where the clock of Ctesibius (a hydraulic wonder) prevails
  2. the unit with the amazing “magical” automatics of the Alexandrian engineers and the imposing human size “automatic maid”, the first operating robot in history
  3. the unit with static and mobile automatic theatres of Heron (the “television” and the automatic “puppet theatre” of the ancient Greeks, respectively)
  4. the unit with the inventions of Archimedes (the most significant scientist of all ages)
  5. the unit with the impressive telecommunication of the ancient Greeks as well as their cryptographic methods
  6. the unit with the ancient Greek agricultural, textile and athletic technology with the impressive “loom of Penelope” and the “hysplex”, i.e. the starting mechanism which prevented the false start of the athletes (both in actual size)
  7. the unit with the construction methods of the ancient Greek architectural wonder where each type of crane is most impressive
  8. the unit with the ancillary mechanisms of the ancient Greek theatre (“Deus ex machine”, “rotating prismatic constructions”, etc.)
  9. the unit with the measuring instruments, tools and machines of the ancient Greeks
  10. the unit with their hydraulic and agricultural technology
  11. the unit with the ancient Greek siege technology (their “armored vehicles” and “artillery”) such as, the helepolis of Epimachos, the tortoise and borer of Diades, the polybolos catapult of Dionysius, etc.
  12. the unit with the ancient Greek nautical technology where the historical evolution of the Greek ship is presented (e.g. the dugout boat, the papyrella, the holkas, the pentecounter, the bireme, the trireme, etc.).

More information is available at If you dont have enough time to make Olympia or if you just want to hang around Katakolon go check them out, and drop us a line with your thoughts!