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Archaeology & History

Strange 'alien' metal discovered in ancient Iberian treasure trove

By T.K. Randall
February 23, 2024 · Comment icon 2 comments
The Treasure of Villena.
The Treasure of Villena. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Superchilum
The intriguing find suggests that metalworking techniques were more advanced than we thought 3,000 years ago.
Discovered more than 60 years ago in modern day Alicante in Spain, the Treasure of Villena consists of a cache of 66 valuable treasures - most of them gold - representing evidence of the Bronze Age goldsmithing skills of the people of the Iberian Peninsula around 3,000 years ago.

Two of the objects, however, have long puzzled researchers.

A single torc-like bracelet and a small, hollow hemisphere thought to have been part of a scepter or the hilt of a sword - these anomalous additions seem to be made more of iron than of gold.

This is particularly odd because the treasure predates the Iron Age by hundreds of years.
Now according to a new study headed up by Salvador Rovira-Llorens - former head of conservation at the National Archeological Museum Spain - the reason these two objects have been so difficult to date is because they contain iron that has originated, not from the ground, but from outer space.

In other words, they were created from materials found in a meteorite.

This realization also means that the two anomalous objects were likely created at around the same time as the other treasures, despite the apparent dating inconsistencies.

"The available data suggest that the cap and bracelet from the Treasure of Villena would currently be the first two pieces attributable to meteoritic iron in the Iberian Peninsula, " the study authors wrote.

"[This] is compatible with a Late Bronze chronology, prior to the beginning of the widespread production of terrestrial iron."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (2)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Piney 2 months ago
It was popular stuff in any metal working society. Nat.Geo has a article on it from May 2023.  "The Wusun gathered sky iron to make their weapons" Chinese account (but I forgot which one) 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hankenhunter 2 months ago
Tutenkhamun was buried with a dagger made from a meteorite.   

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