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The Alaca Höyük meteoric dagger

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The Alaca Höyük meteoric dagger is an iron forged dagger with extraterrestrial origins.

During the Bronze Age, iron was more valued than gold (evidenced in the Kültepe tablets of 1950 BC), and very few ancient cultures had the smelting technology to extract a low-quality iron from limited sources of iron–nickel alloys.

Extracting usable metal from iron ore required maintaining a temperature of 1,500 °C (2,730 °F) and an advanced understanding of metallurgy using kilns or furnaces.

Sources of Iron were limited to meteoric iron, an early-universe protoplanetary-disk remnant found in iron meteorites made from the elements – iron and nickel. Iron meteorites are mainly thought to originate from M-type (aka M-class) asteroids which are the remnant cores of early protoplanets during the early formation of our solar system.

The Hittites were one such culture that is believed to have developed iron smelting technology during the middle of the 2nd millennium BC.

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who established an Empire stretching across most of Anatolia, parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia, centred on the capital of Hattusa near modern Boğazkale, Turkey.

Most of what we know about the Hittites comes from cuneiform text written in either Akkadian (the diplomatic language of the time) or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and the Middle East.

From 1935–39, archaeologists excavating the Hittite settlement of Alaca Höyük discovered 14 “Princely tombs” or “Kingly tombs”, in which they found funerary offerings consisting of gold and electrum standing cups, in addition to the Alaca Höyük bronze standards and the Alaca Höyük meteoric dagger.

The dagger features an iron blade with a golden hilt and has been dated to between 2400 to 2300 BC during the Bronze Age.

An X-ray fluorescence (XRF) study of the blade in 2012 identified that iron and nickel, with trace amounts of cobalt, were the major components of the blade, with trace amounts of Ca, Zn, As, and Sr due to iron corrosion.

The study concluded the dagger was produced using meteoric iron, which was confirmed in a 2017 geochemical analysis published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. This predates the onset of the Iron Age in Anatolia and the Caucasus by almost 1000 years, where the Iron Age began around 1300 BC.

Header Image Credit : Noumenon – CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

Sources : Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology – Preliminary Report on the Analysis of an Early Bronze Age Iron Dagger Excavated from Alaca Höyük

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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