CyberArchaeology: Urban Explorers Find Cemetery of Soviet computers; Divers find Nazis’ Enigma code machine in Baltic Sea

by David Solomonoff

These are the precursors to the tech we take for granted now, although many people with an interest in ancient history are surprisingly incurious about the recent past. Nonetheless these artifacts raise fascinating questions: how did our modern tech evolve from these machines – and are there hidden byways or capabilities that could have lead us in another direction?

The building did not stand out. Unremarkable industrial building, which was built in hundreds of Soviet cities.

Non-broken glass, burning lights, live plants inside, modern plastic entrance doors. Except for one floor.

Despite the twilight, the floor remained lifelessly dark

Inside the floor was empty and black, but not completely. Inside burned several fluorescent lamps, spotlighting dozens of silhouettes of tall cabinets.

The surface of the floor, tables and enclosures covered with black spots of soot, sometimes diluted with white stains of dried extinguishing mixture.

Part of the cabinets were antique electronic computers. Others served to measure signals, and computers controlled this process. Dozens of terminals froze on the tables with extinct screens.

Source: Cemetery of Soviet computers ⋆ Russian Urban Exploration

The legendary code machine was discovered during a search for abandoned fishing nets in the Bay of Gelting

“A colleague swam up and said: there’s a net there with an old typewriter in it,” Florian Huber, the lead diver, told the DPA news agency.

The team quickly realised they had stumbled across a historic artefact and alerted the authorities.

Ulf Ickerodt, head of the state archaeological office in Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein region, said the machine would be restored by experts at the state’s archaeology museum.

The delicate process, including a thorough desalination process after seven decades in the Baltic seabed, “will take about a year”, he said.

Source: Phys.org: Divers find Nazis’ Enigma code machine in Baltic Sea

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