Discovery of 'Alien Metals' in Ancient Spanish Treasure

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.13 - 2024 2:05 PM CET

Photo: Villena Museum
Photo: Villena Museum
Discovery of 'Alien Metals' in Ancient Spanish Treasure.

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Scientists have uncovered materials in a 3,000-year-old treasure that they say originate from "beyond planet Earth." The Treasure of Villenna, unearthed in 1963 on the Iberian Peninsula and consisting of 59 gold-plated objects, has been analyzed to reveal that it includes 'extraterrestrial' substances.

Specifically, two items from the collection, a gold-coated cap and a bracelet, were found to contain meteoric iron—a substance from the early universe's protoplanetary disk found in iron and nickel meteorites. The cap is composed of 5.5% meteoric iron, whereas the bracelet contains 2.8%.

This 'alien' material is believed to have come from a meteor that impacted Earth around one million years ago.

Photo: Villena Museum

According to LBC, the scientific team noted,

"Since they come from outer space, [the metals] are composed of an iron-nickel alloy with a variable nickel composition greater than five percent by weight. They also contain cobalt among other minor and trace chemical elements."

This discovery adds to the evidence that ancient civilizations used meteorites, which naturally contain high nickel levels, to create unique artifacts—a practice also observed in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Ignacio Montero Ruiz, the study's senior author and a researcher at Spain's Institute of History, shared insights with Live Science on the significance of this find.

He pointed out that iron technology diverged sharply from the copper-based metallurgy and noble metals like gold and silver used at the time.

Photo: Villena Museum

"People who began to work with meteoritic iron, and later with terrestrial iron, must [have had to] innovate and develop new technology," he stated.

Interestingly, the majority of the Treasure of Villenna, which likely belonged to a community rather than a single royal family, was crafted from 23.5-carat gold, making the presence of meteoric iron all the more extraordinary.

This find not only highlights the advanced metallurgical skills of ancient peoples but also offers a tantalizing glimpse into their utilization of materials from the cosmos.