Archaeologists Find 'Alien Metal' In A Bronze Age Arrowhead

Archaeologists Find 'Alien Metal' In A Bronze Age Arrowhead

Archaeologists have made a surprising discovery in Switzerland: a 3,000-year-old arrowhead made of iron that came from a meteorite. This is a rare example of an ancient artifact that was crafted from extraterrestrial material, long before humans learned how to smelt iron from natural ores.

The Mörigen Arrowhead

The arrowhead was found more than 100 years ago at a Bronze Age site called Mörigen, where early people are known to have lived between 900 and 800 BCE. The site was located near the shores of a lake, and the arrowhead was part of a series of bronze arrowheads that were unearthed there. The arrowhead is now part of the collections of the Bern History Museum.

The arrowhead was recently analyzed by a team of archaeologists and geologists, who used a combination of electron-microscope images, X-rays and high-energy radiation analysis to determine the chemical composition of the metal. They found that the arrowhead contained an iron and nickel alloy that has only been detected in meteorites, as well as traces of other elements such as cobalt, phosphorus and germanium.

The researchers compared the results with known samples of meteorites, and discovered that the arrowhead matched the composition of the Kaalijarv meteorite from Estonia, a country in Northern Europe near the Baltic Sea. This meteorite impact occurred around 3,500 years ago during the Bronze Age, and resulted in many small fragments that were scattered over a large area. The researchers speculated that one of these fragments was found by ancient people and used to make the arrowhead.

The Significance of Meteoric Iron

Meteoric iron was used by early people in many parts of the world, as it was a rare and valuable source of metal before the Iron Age. Artifacts made of meteoric iron, such as ceremonial daggers, figurines, jewelry and beads, have been found in Turkey, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iran, Canada, Greenland, Russia, China and North Africa. Some of these artifacts date back to more than 6,000 years ago, predating Egypt's Iron Age by 2,000 years.

However, in central and western Europe, only two other archaeological artifacts of meteoric origin have been known so far: a bracelet and an axe head from Poland. The Mörigen arrowhead is therefore a unique and remarkable find that sheds light on the ancient use and trade of meteoric iron in this region.

The connection between Estonia and Switzerland also indicates the existence of an ancient European network that was used to exchange items such as amber as a gemstone, silex stones for tool making, and iron meteorites. The researchers suggested that the arrowhead might have been part of a gift or an exchange between different groups or individuals.

The discovery of the Mörigen arrowhead also raises questions about how ancient people recognized and valued meteoric iron, and how they shaped it into weapons or ornaments. The researchers noted that meteoric iron is harder than bronze, but also more brittle and prone to corrosion. They also pointed out that working with meteoric iron requires high temperatures and special techniques that were not available to Bronze Age people.

The researchers concluded that the Mörigen arrowhead is a rare testimony of an ancient encounter between humans and outer space, and a fascinating example of how early people adapted to their environment and exploited natural resources. They hope that further studies will reveal more details about the origin and history of this extraordinary artifact.


(1) Scientists discover 3,000-year-old arrowhead made of ‘alien’ iron.


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