This Impressive Collection of Bronze Age Treasure Was Forged Out of Meteoritic Iron

A study published in Trabajos de Prehistoria journal has shed new light on the impressive collection of Spanish Bronze Age treasures discovered in Villena, Spain, in 1963. According to the study, some of the items in the collection were forged out of meteoric iron, a metal found in meteorites that landed on Earth millions of years ago.

Upon discovering the treasures more than 60 years ago, the archeologists were puzzled by the materials used to craft them. While they mostly contained gold and silver, there were also indications that an unusual kind of iron was present in some of the items.

A team of researchers recently examined two items from the collection: a bracelet and a sphere. The tests showed that the iron used to craft the items had a nickel composition that indicated the presence of meteoritic iron. This makes them the first meteoric iron-forged artifacts in this part of the world.

“Iron was as valuable as gold or silver, and in this case used for ornaments or decorative purposes,” study co-author Ignacio Montero Ruiz told Smithsonian magazine.

The Villena treasure collection consists of 66 items and is widely considered among the most significant prehistoric treasure troves in Europe. It is on permanent display at the Villena Museum.

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