A 3,000-year-old weapon product of ‘alien iron’ has been discovered close to a lake in Switzerland.
An arrowhead constructed from a meteorite was recovered from an historic Bronze Age website known as Mörigen, which has produced a wealth of area rocks all through historical past.
Geologists on the University of Bern examined the artifact’s composition, together with aluminum-26, a short-lived isotope that was as soon as plentiful within the early photo voltaic system however doesn’t happen naturally on Earth.
In Europe, nonetheless, solely three meteorites containing the identical mixture of metals have fallen to Earth at about the identical time: one within the Czech Republic, one other in Spain and the third in Estonia.
The staff believes the Estonian area rock was the seemingly candidate, which is greater than 2,200 kilometers from Switzerland.
An arrowhead constructed from a meteorite was recovered from an historic Bronze Age website known as Mörigen, which has produced a wealth of area rocks all through historical past
The arrowhead is 1.5 inches lengthy and weighs solely 0.102 grams.
The staff used a number of strategies to check the composition, together with electron microscopy pictures, X-rays and analyzes of high-energy radiation.
The pointy piece is constructed from an iron meteorite made primarily of kamacite and taenite minerals which can be solely discovered on Earth as a result of they fell from area.
Iron meteorites are derived from the cores of historic planets that have been destroyed by catastrophic impacts in the course of the formation of our photo voltaic system about 4.5 billion years in the past.
“The style of the iron arrowhead is very similar to that of bronze arrowheads from the same find complex, even though the manufacturing process was very different,” the staff shared within the examine.
“The attached carbon-rich organic material probably represents remnants of tar, probably wood (birch?) tar, suggesting it was once attached to an arrow.”
While the arrowhead was initially present in Lake Biel someday within the nineteenth century, it was tucked away within the Bern History Museum the place it was rediscovered and examined.
The staff used a number of strategies to check the composition, together with electron microscopy, X-rays and analyzes of high-energy radiation. Pictured is the arrowhead captured in an X-ray, displaying construction and fractures full of iron
Researchers initially thought the area rock used to make the weapon got here from the Twannberg meteorite that crashed into Switzerland about 160,000 years in the past.
However, additional evaluation of meteorites with the identical competitors confirmed that this was not the case.
“The Mörigen arrowhead must be derived from a large (at least 2 tons pre-atmospheric mass) IAB iron meteorite based on gamma spectrometry and elemental composition,” the examine reads.
‘Of the large IAB meteorites from Europe, three have a chemical composition similar to Mörigen’s arrowhead: Bohumilitz (Czech Republic), Retuerte de Bullaque (Spain) and Kaalijarv (Estonia).
“Kaalijarv is a large meteorite that produced a series of impact craters (the largest, called Kaalijärv, is 110 m (360 ft) in diameter, note the different spelling of meteorite and crater) on Saarema Island in Estonia.”
The staff believes the arrowhead got here from Estonia, suggesting that individuals traded the weapons via the identical routes from the Baltic space as amber.