Meteorite that crashed to Earth 3,500 years ago carved into arrowhead by Bronze Age hunters

Within the late 1800s, archaeologists found an arrowhead at a Bronze Age dwelling in Mörigen, Switzerland. Within the years since, the three,000-year-old artifact has been a part of the gathering on the Bern Historic Museum.

Now, a brand new evaluation reveals that the thing isn’t any peculiar arrowhead — it was crafted from a meteorite that crashed to Earth 3,500 years in the past, in line with a research revealed within the September problem of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

“On the skin it seems like a typical arrowhead coated in rust,” lead writer Beda Hofmann, head and curator of mineralogy and meteorites on the Pure Historical past Museum of Bern, advised Dwell Science. Their evaluation confirmed that “there may be nonetheless a variety of metallic preserved,” he mentioned.

A number of strategies, together with X-ray tomography (computerized imaging) and gamma spectrometry (a course of that detects gamma-emitting radioactive supplies), confirmed that the palm-size arrowhead not solely contained aluminum-26 isotopes that do not naturally happen on Earth but additionally traces of iron and nickel alloy according to meteorites, in line with the research.

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The evaluation additionally revealed grind marks left over from when the meteorite was formed into an arrowhead, and the stays of tar, which was possible used to connect the purpose to the arrow’s shaft, in line with an announcement.

At first, scientists thought the artifact was linked to the 170,000-year-old Twannberg meteorite web site, lower than 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the dwelling. Nonetheless, additional research revealed that the concentrations of nickel and germanium (a chemical factor) within the arrowhead weren’t a match, in line with the assertion.

“It wasn’t from the meteorite that I suspected it was from,” Hofmann mentioned of the artifact, which weighs one-tenth of an oz. (2.9 grams) and measures simply over 1 inch (3 centimeters) lengthy.

Undiscouraged, Hofmann and colleagues referenced a geological database that exposed that the Kaalijarv meteorite web site in Estonia, situated greater than 1,400 miles (2,250 km) away, contained related metals to the artifact and that the arrowhead got here from a 2-ton (1,800 kilograms) meteorite, in line with the assertion.

This led scientists to conclude that the arrowhead was almost definitely traded sooner or later.

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“It has been effectively documented that commerce was effectively established over massive distances in the course of the Bronze Age,” Hofmann mentioned. “These early folks possible knew that when the influence occurred there in 1500 B.C., the fabric was treasured and had worth to it.”

Even immediately, meteoritic arrowheads are exceedingly uncommon, with solely 55 recognized objects present in Eurasia and Africa throughout 22 websites, in line with the assertion.

From Feb. 1, 2024, to April 25, 2025, the arrowhead shall be on show on the Bern Historic Museum.

This text was supplied by Dwell Science.

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