A new study conducted by French scientist Albert Jambon has found that the iron weapons which humans used in the bronze age are of extra-terrestrial origin.
The report published in the Journal of Archaeological Science explains how our ancestors used metals without having access to smelting. According to the study, iron used for making weapons in bronze age were more likely landed as meteorites, giving people a broader chance of making weapons with metals.
Heavenly bodies carried nickel-rich iron to Earth
The new finding does not mean that Iron was not there on our planet since meteors carried the metal to our planet. Iron is one of the most common elements on the earth, but to make it suitable for shaping it as a weapon demands smelting. In order to solve the mystery surrounding the iron weapons used in Bronze Age, Albert Jambon conducted a thorough analysis of the weapons and other relics that dated between 3200 BCE-1350 BCE.
It is the nickel content in iron which distinguishes the metal on earth and the one came from outer space. In most of the cases, iron from the surface of the Earth will be nickel free, but iron from the outer space will have large quantities of nickel in it.
Albert Jambon used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to analyze the elemental composition of the weapons in the bronze age, and soon found that the antiquities they examined were not made of smelted iron, but from meteorite iron.
"The major interest is that non-invasive p-XRF analyses provide reliable Fe:Co:Ni abundances, without the need to remove a sample; they can be performed in situ, in the museums where the artifacts are preserved. The few iron objects from the Bronze Age sensu stricto that could be analyzed are definitely made of meteoritic iron, suggesting that speculations about precocious smelting during the Bronze Age should be revised," wrote Albert Jambon.
When did humans start smelting the iron?
Iron on the surface of the Earth should be reduced to remove the Oxygen before it can be used to make weapons, but outer space iron will be already in a metallic state, and it can be used for making weapons without smelting.
Jambon revealed that the next step of the research will be to determine when humans started smelting the iron for the first time.
"The next step will be to determine where and when terrestrial iron smelting appeared for the first time. The study emphasizes the importance of analytical methods for properly studying the evolution of the use of metals and metalworking technologies in our past cultures," said Jambon, reports Express UK.
The researcher added that the heavenly metal presence in bronze age metals is not a coincidence, and added that this new research study can be used to provide more information on the formation of the Earth.
"When large celestial bodies like our planet are forming, nearly all nickel drifts towards the molten iron core, which was finally mined by people around 5,000 years ago," concluded the paper.