The Indiana Jones franchise has been known to correlate most of its adventures with coveted artifacts from around the world. Very often, these artifacts actually existed in history and carried a trail of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories with them, which makes them idyllic for Indiana Jones to find and witness their power. So what is the Dial of Destiny artifact in real archeological history?

From underwater discoveries to head-scratching technological awe, the Dial of Destiny in the real world was an amazing discovery and definitely full of enough mystery to warrant a fictional extrapolation in the Indiana Jones franchise. Let's dive deep into the treasure.

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The Dial of Destiny was Found in the Mediterranean

Indiana Jones and Dial of Destiny Indiana Jones in Lecture and Diving Scene

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny used the enigmatic Antikythera Mechanism as its magical artifact and keeps a great deal of its real-life facts and theories intact. Historically, this device was also found in the Mediterranean in 1901. Although Dial of Destiny acknowledged that it was found around this time, it splits the item's locale between Greece and Sicily. Although the ocean it was found in is still accurate, what's left of the Antikythera Mechanism was found off the coast of the namesake island in Greece.

Dial of Destiny did a great job mixing particular historical facts into Indy's fictitious time-traveling adventure. Just like in the film, the real Dial of Destiny is thought to be one of the lost inventions that Archimedes developed. In the film, it gets roped into being one of the weapons he uses against the Romans in the Battle of Syracuse. Although Archimedes' historical creations were famous for potentially defending against invasion, the historical purpose of the Antikythera Mechanism was more of a calculative machine, rather than a magical one.

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The Dial of Destiny Is a Time Machine, but Not the Way You Think

Indiana Jones Dial of Destiny closeup

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny associates the artifact with being a time machine that could loop time back to the Battle of Syracuse so that Archimedes could try and alter the course of the battle in favor of the Greeks. It was depicted as a large dial with many intricate gears that resembled a complex clock. Of course, evil powers that be and Indiana Jones were in a race to capture the item and keep it from each other in hopes to contain its power or exploit it. As great as a premise as this is, the real Antikythera Mechanism has a more grounded, but still fascinating function which the film initially explains.

After many years of study, the real Dial of Destiny has been reverse-engineered and studied to try and recognize the exact function of this intricate piece of clockwork that was centuries ahead of its time. It is thought, based on the rough and rusted remains that were found, that it was meant to manually calculate lunar, solar, and planetary positions in the sky and their dates, using recurring cultural correlations like Olympic events (among others), which could potentially measure time until the next eclipse. Since so much of this analog computer was damaged by its time in the sea, using this marvel of technology as a magical artifact in Dial of Destiny is an idyllic choice in an age when major archeological mysteries are quickly being solved.

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Indiana Jones 5 Continues to Inspire Archeological Fascination

Indiana Jones Dial of Destiny in Temple with light shafts starring Harrison Ford

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's whip-cracking hero Indiana Jones inspired generations of intrepid archeologists by taking the spices of real history and weaving them into a stew of adventurous fiction that continues to survive and thrive in cinema, leading the relic-hunting genre into the 21st century.

Long-gone artifacts like the Arc of the Covenant, conceptually derivative ones like the Shankara Stones, the legendary Holy Grail, the eerie Crystal Skulls, and the Dial of Destiny all carry the spirit of discovery and uncovering the unknown because of Indiana Jones. This wonder inspires enthused research into the real history and mysteries behind these types of artifacts, which can be more wondrous than any screenplay could render.