“This is the Titanic of the ancient world and we think it was huge,” said Brendan Foley of Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, when presenting the first results of his high-tech project off the small Greek island of Antikythera.

Greek sponge divers accidentally discovered the Antikythera wreck in 1900 when their own boat ran aground. In the search that followed, they recovered everything they saw lying scattered on the sea bed 50 metres down: thirty-six marble statues weighing a total of 40 tonnes and the remains of what later became known as the world’s first computer, the Antikythera mechanism — a small but ingenious astronomical device calculating dates, anniversaries and the position of the planets.