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  • Writer's pictureDakila News

Extraterrestrial Metals Found in Bronze Age Arrowhead

Researchers have made a remarkable discovery, revealing that meteoric iron was extensively employed by ancient human societies. This revelation stems from the fact that meteoric iron, accompanied by trace amounts of nickel and other metals, possesses exceptional resilience as it hurtles through Earth's atmosphere.

Moreover, obtaining pure iron from natural sources is a formidable challenge, typically necessitating the initial extraction of iron oxides, followed by subsequent material segregation processes.

Prompted by this groundbreaking discovery, researchers from the University and Natural History Museum of Bern embarked on a quest to scrutinize archaeological collections throughout Switzerland in search of artifacts crafted from meteoric materials.

During this quest, geologist Beda Hofmann stumbled upon a meteoric iron arrowhead in the museum's own collection. This artifact, discovered in the late 1800s at the Mörigen archaeological site, had been housed in the museum ever since. Hofmann notes, "Externally, it appears to be a typical arrowhead, cloaked in rust."

Ponta de flecha enferrujada, apontada para direita.
Ponta de flecha - Crédito: Thomas Schüpbach/Journal of Archaeological Science

Through electron microscopy, X-ray analysis, and high-energy radiation assessments, researchers scrutinized the chemical composition of the artifact. Their findings confirmed the presence of iron, nickel, and aluminum-26 isotopes, the latter of which is uniquely associated with extraterrestrial objects.

Initially, the study raised the possibility that this metal could have originated from the Twannberg meteorite, which had impacted less than 8 kilometers from where the artifact was unearthed. However, the concentrations of germanium and nickel did not align between samples from the meteorite and the artifact.

In pursuit of this elusive match, scientists identified only three significant iron meteorites in Europe, with the Kaalijarv meteorite in Estonia emerging as the most likely source. Consequently, it is plausible to presume that trade in materials occurred between the two regions during the Bronze Age, likely utilizing the "Baltic route."

bloco de ferro meteorítico com um cubo ao seu lado esquerdo informando a medida T. 1CM
Ferro meteorítico Kaalijarv. Crédito: Carsten Olsen – Flickr

Furthermore, researchers speculate that more artifacts in other archaeological collections may possess the same raw material. This study holds significant importance as it contributes to our understanding of how these ancient societies organized themselves and interacted with one another.

References: (in Portuguese)


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