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Extraterrestrial material in a Bronze Age treasure

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Extraterrestrial material in a Bronze Age treasure

Meteoritic Material Found in Bronze Age Treasure
Archaeologists have made an astonishing discovery related to the Treasure of Villena, dating back to the Bronze Age, which contains objects made with meteoritic iron. Located in a small museum in the southeast of Spain, the Treasure of Villena is a remarkable collection of 59 objects, predominantly made of gold, silver, iron, and amber, weighing a total of nearly 10 kilograms.

The unearthed objects, mostly made of gold, were uncovered during archaeological excavations dating back to the 1960s when a bricklayer came across the first piece, a gold bracelet, while working in the town of Villena. The subsequent findings included bowls, vessels, and pieces of fine metalwork, making this discovery one of the most important treasures in Spain and the second in all of Europe.

A recent study, published in the Prehistory Works Magazine, has revealed that objects from the treasure, created approximately 3,000 years ago, contained iron sourced from a meteorite. Two artifacts, including a knob-shaped semisphere adorned with gold inlays and a bracelet, were found to have origins in extraterrestrial material that fell to Earth around a million years ago.

Using mass spectrometry techniques, the authors of the study found traces of iron and nickel alloy in the objects, comparable to those found in other meteorites worldwide. Consequently, the objects from the Treasure of Villena are now recognized as the oldest iron meteoritic objects discovered in the Iberian Peninsula.

Ignacio Montero Ruiz, the main author of the study, highlighted the significance of the findings by emphasizing that working with meteoritic iron, unlike terrestrial iron, signifies a new and innovative technological development during the Bronze Age. The utilization of meteoritic iron by these ancient societies underscores the curiosity and experimentation that drove novel technological advancements.

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This groundbreaking discovery shines a light on the advanced capabilities and innovative nature of Bronze Age societies, casting new insights into the technological achievements of the distant past.

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