The age of bronze and the ages of metal in particular are of fundamental importance for humanity and the life in which we live today, since many things would not be possible in the world as we know it if our ancestors had not past of The Stone Age. Now, according to a new study, most of the iron used during the Bronze Age to make weapons and other artifacts may be of extraterrestrial origin. The study also reveals how our ancestors used metal without access to foundry.
The research findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by the French scientist Albert Jambon. He used geochemical analysis to make a difference between the metals of the Earth and the extraterrestrial metals used in many artifacts around the world that originated in the Bronze Age. He studied the proportions of iron, cobalt and nickel that were found in the artifacts and created a system that can differentiate between iron produced by the smelting of mineral or iron of meteoric origin used during the Bronze Age.
Scientists have already discovered that meteorites are an important source of iron. However, they did not know what meteoric iron played a role in the construction of artifacts during the Bronze Age. As it was the Bronze Age, it was extremely rare to find weapons made of iron and were more precious possessions. As the Iron Age did not begin to reproduce until around 1200 a. C., and the Bronze Age occurred approximately 2,000 years before, anyone who had weapons or other artifacts composed of iron was more appreciated and had more military and economic advantage compared to the other people who lived during that age.
Jambon and his team of researchers performed chemical analyzes of samples with an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer in museums that stored artefacts and weapons from the Bronze Age. Some objects they studied include "Gerzeh beads" that originated in Egypt around 3200 BC, a dagger from Alaca Hoyuk, which originated in Turkey around 2500 BC, and a Umm el-Marra pendant, which originated from approximately 2300 years a. from Syria. There were also several other artifacts belonging to the Shang dynasty civilization, which lived in China around 1400 years before Christ.
When making iron ore, iron found on our planet needs to be reduced, which includes removing oxygen from the ore to make weapons and other objects. On the other hand, the meteoric iron is already in its metallic state, which prepares it for use, and did not require processes such as the smelting that people began to carry out with the arrival of the Iron Age.
"When large celestial bodies like our planet are forming, almost all nickel derivations to the molten iron core," the scientists wrote in the study, implying that not even the most advanced mining techniques that were popular during the Bronze Age, they would have allowed our ancestors to dig deep enough to obtain a sufficient amount of nickel or iron in their metallic form.