Scientists have discovered an amazing archaeological find in Switzerland – a Bronze Age arrowhead made of an extraterrestrial metal. The find sheds light on the use and trade of iron meteorites in Central Europe during the Bronze Age.
The arrowhead, weighing 2.9 grams and 39.3 mm long, was found in archaeological collections in the Lake Biel area. It has been attributed to a Bronze Age dwelling called Mörigen, which existed between 900 and 800 BC.
The meteoritic nature of the iron was confirmed by the presence of aluminum-26 isotopes, which are only found in objects outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition, a special alloy of iron and nickel, found only in meteorites, was found in the arrowhead.
Remains of an ancient glue, probably birch tar, were also found on the object, suggesting that it was once attached to the shaft. However, it remains unclear whether the arrowhead was used for hunting or combat.
Initially, researchers hypothesized that the source of the iron from which the arrowhead was made was the nearby Twannberg meteorite. However, further analysis showed that the nickel and germanium concentrations did not match those of the Twannberg meteorite.
Closer examination revealed that the arrowhead was forged from OVD meteorite, a type of space rock. The mineral composition indicates that the mass of the celestial object before takeoff was at least two tons.
Among the large IAB meteorites from Europe, three have a chemical composition corresponding to the arrowhead from Mörigen: Bohumilic (Czech Republic), Retuerte de Bullac (Spain), and Kaalijärv (Estonia). Of these, only Kaalijärv was exposed in the Bronze Age, making it the most likely candidate for the arrowhead source.
The Kaalijärv meteorite is estimated to have fallen between 1870 and 1440 BC, and it was known to the local population throughout this historical period. Fragments of the stone may have been distributed to other communities. The researchers believe their find indicates the use and trade of iron meteorites in Central Europe by 800 BC or even earlier.
This find provides a glimpse into an ancient world where people harnessed the power of extraterrestrial materials to create weapons. It demonstrates the high level of knowledge and skill of Bronze Age societies and their ability to utilize resources from beyond the Earth.