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Conference on Extraordinary Machines And Structures in Antiquity

Conferences in and about Greece Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <>

Originally From: Dimarogonas <>



An International Symposium

International Olympic Academy, Ancient Olympia, Greece, 16-18 September 1999

jointly organized by

The University of Patras (GR, Mechanical Engineering Dept, Applied Mechanics Lab
Washington University (USA), Machine Design Lab


The Society of Ancient Greek Technology (GR)

under the aegis of

The Ministry of Culture of Greece The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of Greece And The Technical Chamber of Greece

Sponsored by

The Hellenic Society of Composite Materials
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Co-Chairmen: Professor A. D. Dimarogonas, US, Professor S. A. Paipetis and Professor Th. Tassios, GR


-----------International Scientific Committee:
1. Prof. M. Ceccarelli, I
2. Prof. S. S. Beitia, E
3. Prof. A. D. Dimarogonas, US
4. Prof. E. Filemon, HUN
5. Dr S. Irfan Habib, India
6. Prof. T. Koetsier, NL
7. Dr Antti Laato. Finland.
8. Prof. R. MacLeod, AUS
9. Prof. P. G. Marinos, GR
10. Dr G. D. Muhly, GR
11. Prof. S. A. Paipetis, GR
12. Prof. Julian Popescu, RO
13. Prof. J. S. Rao, India
14. Prof. M. Shoham, Israel
15. Prof. Th. Tassios, GR

-----------Local Organizing Committee:
1. Prof. S. A. Paipetis, Univ. of Patras, GR
2. Prof. E. E. Gdoutos, Univ. of Thrace, GR
3. Dr D. Polyzos, Univ. of Patras, Asst. Prof., Univ. of Patras, GR
4. Dr V. Kostopoulos, Asst. Prof., Univ. of Patras, GR
5. Dr D. Saravanos, Asst. Prof., Univ. of Patras, GR.
6. Dr A. Carabelas, Univ. of Patras, GR

---------Symposium Secretary: Mrs A. Bossini

All correspondence etc. should be addressed to: Professor S. A. Paipetis, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, University of Patras, 260 01 Patras, Greece, tel. (+3061) 992172 & 997233, Fax +3061-992644, e-mail:

--------Extraordinary Machines and Structures in Antiquity--------------

Despite the astonishing advances of modern science and technology, of great interest remain many admirable structures scattered over the face of the planet, majestic remnants of great cultures that have expired centuries or even millennia ago. The Pyramids of Egypt, the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, the mediaeval cathedrals in central Europe are typical examples. On the other hand, in several epic poems or in the sacred writings of many of the world's religions one can find amazingly clear and detailed descriptions of such extraordinary materials and structures. Typical examples are the Bible with the first reference to composite materials, Noah's Ark or King Solomon's Temple, while in Homer's Iliad the first description of automated production devices, robots and high- toughness laminated structures are most accurately described along with their battle behaviour. Considering that no science or technology is known to exist at the time, one may suspect that what was thought of as mystical knowledge or even as acts of gods, was in fact primitive or even fairly advanced elements of engineering of unknown origin or at least worth to investigate.

In view of the above, an extraordinary structure can generally be defined as one constructed (or described) at a time, when no supporting science or technology existed. Therefore, it is interesting, through the appropriate analysis, to draw conclusions on the design and manufacture tools existing at the respective time, as well as the corresponding source of knowledge, and this is the frame defining the scope of the present symposium.

Accordingly, the potential field of study for such structures could be twofold:

A. Real structures, including famous buildings or "civil engineering" structures, mechanical devices, mechanisms or even "machinery" in the broad sense, weaponry or military structures in general etc.

B. Structures described in epic poetry or in religious texts of all ages and cultures.

------------Submission of papers

Only original works neither published nor submitted for publication elsewhere will be accepted. Papers will be considered on the basis of an extended summary of about 500 words. Full manuscripts of papers accepted will be refereed before been included in the Proceedings. Both abstracts and full papers should be submitted by e-mail or in 3.5" diskettes as Microsoft Word 7 for Windows 95 files. On either occasions a hard copy of the text along with clear line drawings and photographs must be sent by mail.

-----------Language of the Symposium

The official language of the Symposium is English.


An effort will be made to have the Proceedings printed in advance and distributed upon registration, provided that all manuscripts will be available before the end of July 1999. If not, a book of abstracts will be distributed at the Symposium and the volume of the Proceedings will be posted to the participants within 2 months after the Symposium.

------------Registration fees

The registration fees, which include the Symposium Folder with all relevant material, the volume of Proceedings (and the book of abstracts, if there will be one), participation to the Opening Reception and a guided tour of the archeological site and the Museums, are as follows, if paid before 15 April 1999.

* Participants............................ 150 EUROs
* Students................................... 50 EUROs
* Accompanying persons ............ 50 EUROs

Fees for participants paid after 15 April 1999 will be increased by 50 EUROs. In case of cancellation the fees will be refunded only if the Organizers are notified before 1 June 1999. Fees can be paid by cheque or postal order or the respective amount transmitted directly to Alpha Credit Bank, 2 New National Road Branch, Patras, Greece, A/C no 014 534 400 231 0001050. Cheques should drawn in favour of Prof. S. A. Paipetis, for AncTech Symp


* 28 February 1999 Submission of abstracts
* 15 March 1999 Approval of abstracts
* 15 May 1999 Submission of full papers


The Symposium will take place at the premises of the International Olympic Academy, 2 kms away from the Archeological site of Ancient Olympia and its Museums.


Reservations must be made by fax, mail or e-mail by submitting the the attached participation form.

-------------The Symposium venue

Ancient Olympia lies 20 km east of Pyrgos, the capital of Heleia, in a valley between the wooded Mount Cronion, the Alfios River and its tributary Cladeos. It is the place where the Olympic Games originated in 776 BC to Honor Zeus «Father of God and Men.» It is also the place where the idea of the common cultural heritage among the hellenic City States was further strengthened. During the Games, the Olympic Truce was in force, while all hostilities were suspended. These panhellenic contests were held every four years, attracting athletes from all city-states of Hellas. The kotinos, the victor's prize, was just a wreath made of wild olive tree branch. The City States, whose athletes were the victors at the Olympic games, used to tear down part of the city walls, to indicate that, with such brave men, no defence walls were needed. The Olympic Games came to an end in 393 AD by a prohibitive edict of the Roman Emperor Theodossios I. Fifteen centuries later, in 1896, they were revived in the place whre were they were born, in Greece, by the French historian and educator Pierre de Coubertin.

The International Olympic Academy (IOA), the Symposium venue, was founded to protect and expand the heritage of the Olympic Idea and to develop the Olympic Movement. It is an educational institution, aiming at the training people devoted to the principles and ideals of Olympism, who will then disseminate these in their respective countries as ambassadors. It is also encouraging a dialogue promoting international friendship, understanding and cooperation in accordance to the ideals and principles laid down by the Ancient Greeks.


The weather in late September is still warm in Greece. The temperature during the day may rise up to 20oC, but it may be cool and humid at night, especially in this area, thus a kind of light jacket or sweater could be necessary.

----------Travel to Olympia

Olympia is accessible either from Athens, if travelling by air, or from Patras, if travelling by car.

a. Travel through Patras: Olympia lies 125 km south west of Patras, the capital of Achaia in north western Peloponnese, which is directly accessible by car ferry from Italy on a daily basis, e.g. from Brindisi and Bari (travel time approx. XXX hours) or from Ancona (travel time approx. 24 hours by superfast ferries). The Patras coach station lies in the harbour area, and there are regular connections to Pyrgos and Olympia.

b. Travel through Athens (by air): From Ellinikon, the Athens airport there are many airline or public transport buses to downtown Athens, as well as to the main Coach Station, connected by regular departures to all major cities.

Depending on participation, on both routes, special coaches may be arranged to wait for the participants and transfer them directly to the Conference site. Further details will be given later.


A number of comfortable but not luxurious rooms are available at IOA at very competitive prices, while hotels of all classes are available at the town of Ancient Olympia. The following hotels have rooms available for the participants and the rates (B/B) are as follows (in Drs):

Hotel (class)           Single room   Double room   Triple room
Amalia (A)                  27.200       38.600        45.600
Europa (A)                  23.300       30.100        43.400
Andonios (A)                22.500
Olympic Village (B Sup.)    15.000       23.000        26.400
Ilis (B)                    12.500       18.000        22.500
New Olympia (B)             14.500       19.800        24.900
Neda  (C)                   10.800       14.800        20.250
IOA(*)                       9.000       10.000

(*) At IOA Full Board will be available at an extra 7.000 Drs per day.

* Hotel rooms can be booked through the travel agent, while rooms at IOA through the Symposium organizers.

* Current parity is 1 USD = 282 Drs.

--------------Social Programme

The Social Programme will include an Opening Reception, the Symposium Dinner and a guided tour of the archeological site and the Museums. A ladies programme will be announced in due time, including daily trips to places of interest in the area, such as the Place of Nestor in Pylos,

---------------Travel Agent

Our Travel Agent is: Charisma Travel, 27065 Ancient Olympia, Greece, tel: +30-624-22 811 & 22 653, fax: +30-624-22 812.

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