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A new study claims that most of the iron used in weaponry and artefacts dating from the Bronze Age is, in fact, of extraterrestrial origin. It further explains how our ancient ancestors were able to use the metal without access to smelting.

The new research, led by French scientist Albert Jambon and published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, used geochemical analyses to differentiate Earthly and extraterrestrial metals found in a range of Bronze Age artefacts from across the world. By studying the ratios of iron, cobalt and nickel found within the artefacts, researchers created a system to differentiate iron produced through smelting of ore, and ‘pre-made’ iron of meteoric origin.

For context, meteorites were already recognized as a major source of iron, but the scientific community was still on the fence as to the extent to which meteoric iron contributed to Bronze Age iron artefact construction. Iron weapons crafted during the Bronze Age were extremely rare and prized possessions (kind of like Valyrian steel in the Game of Thrones).

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Category: Science