‘Alien iron’ made more than 3,000 years ago as a weapon has been discovered
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An ancient 'alien weapon' some 3,000 years old has been found in an archaeological project in Switzerland.
There is a period of early human history which remains extremely interesting. It's just at the point where we made the leap from a nomadic society to settling and farming, and the social structures which evolved from that as a result.
Any object which establishes a connection to our early days holds a special fascination. Whether it's a cave painting, sculpture, or even a recreation of a Neanderthal flute, there's something haunting about an object which was created so long ago.
Some objects however illustrate a darker side of human invention, such as this weapon which, in an extraordinary twist is not in fact of this Earth.
However, before we stray into conspiracy theories about so-called 'ancient aliens' (they didn't exist), this weapon, an arrowhead, is not the result of some visitation from an alien intelligence.
It is 'alien' because it made from metal extracted from a meteorite which originated in another part of our solar system.
The arrowhead was found at a site called Mörigen in Switzerland by researchers from the University of Bern. Testing of the arrowhead's chemical composition found that it contained aluminum-26. This is an isotope which decays quickly and was once abundant in the solar system.
However, it is not something which originates on Earth, meaning it must have arrived here from elsewhere.
Researchers said: "The style of the iron arrowhead strongly resembles that of bronze arrowheads from the same find complex, even though the fabrication process was very different.
"The attached carbon-rich organic material likely represents remnants of tar, probably wood (birch?) tar, indicating that it was fastened to an arrow at some point."
But not only do we know that the arrowhead was made from minerals taken from a meteorite, we can even have a pretty solid idea of the specific meteorite that the arrowhead could have been made from.
There were three meteorites which fit both the chemical composition and are likely to have arrived at Earth in time for the materials to be used. One landed in the Czech Republic, one in Spain, and another landed in Estonia.
While researchers initially thought that the meteor form the Czech Republic was the likely candidate, analysis of chemical compositions led them to instead think that it was the Estonian meteorite which is the most likely origin.
They have suggested that the arrowhead may have been traded along routes between what is now Estonia and Switzerland, leading it to travel some 1,400 miles from where the metal was originally extracted.