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Atlantis' Legendary Metal, Orichalcum, Discovered in 2,600 Year-old Shipwreck

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posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 10:27 PM
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A Sicilian team has recovered 39 ingots of what is believed to be the mysterious metal of legend, orichalcum, from a shipwreck about 1,000 feet off the coast of Gela in southern Sicily at a depth of approximately 10 feet.

From Wikipedia:


Orichalcum or aurichalcum is a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, including a story of Atlantis in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato. According to Critias, orichalcum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of Atlantis in ancient times. By the time of Critias, however, it was known only by name. In numismatics, orichalcum is the golden-colored bronze alloy used for the sestertius and dupondius coins. In many sources of pop culture, such as novels and video games, orichalcum is presented as a valuable ore that can be mined and crafted into powerful armor and weapons.


From Discovery News:


Today most scholars agree orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity by cementation. This process was achieved with the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

Analyzed with X-ray fluorescence by Dario Panetta, of TQ - Tecnologies for Quality, the 39 ingots turned to be an alloy made with 75-80 percent copper, 15-20 percent zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron.

"The finding confirms that about a century after its foundation in 689 B.C., Gela grew to become a wealthy city with artisan workshops specialized in the production of prized artifacts," Tusa said.

The 39 ingots recovered from the wreck were indeed destined to these workshops and were used in high quality decorations.


The article goes on to detail an interesting (and fringe-y) theory by Enrico Mattievich, a retired Brazilian physics professor and author who believes the material recovered is not orichalcum and further, that orichalcum originated in the Peruvian Andes with the Chavin culture and that Greeks had reached the Americas sometime before 200 BC.

I found the below picture of the ingots in this Spanish language article on Blasting News.



Interesting stuff! I'll be keeping an eye my feed for additional articles!
edit on 2015-1-6 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:28 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Cool find, great thread, and SnF for you my friend. Keep us updated.



posted on Jan, 6 2015 @ 11:49 PM
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Good for them, I'm dubious of the legendary metal of Atlantis though, nice marketing ploy, but how can we know for sure? All we know about Atlantis is what Plato has told us. Never the less it could be. It could also be a standard example of early brass or at least alloy trading that was lost at sea. (just saying)

What pisses me off though, is the complete lack of evidence supporting any dating of the ship in the article and no sources to the study that decided on the date... I've run out of cigarettes too and its about time I quit so I'm angry now about everything and I cannot concentrate enough to go on the hunt to find this information. Can someone find any source other than in the article that suggests a date on the ship and how they got the date? Archaeology seems to be completely riddled with speculative dates now so I am just hoping for once this find is reasonable.

The only thing that I can imagine leads the Atlantis myth is if the ship was dated to something much older than the date given in the article like 13000 years BP for say.. Then if that is the case we would definitely have a magnificent find :-)


+3 more 
posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 12:21 AM
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Compared to Iron/steel, brass is a pretty crappy material for Armor or weapons. If there was supposed to be some mythical metal coming from atlantis, I seriously doubt it was this Brass found. All the advanced technology Atlantis was supposed to have and they never figured out how to smelt iron? Either this isn't the mythical metal, or Atlantis was just another primitive culture by our standards, but more advanced to the people that observed it.
edit on 7-1-2015 by James1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: Judgie

Found an article from the day of the initial press release (12/30) on an Italian site. It has a little bit of additional information but nothing on the dating.

Here's the link to the google translated page

My guess is that they've already done some testing of the wood but even without that, they should be able to approximate the age by examining the boat's construction. 2,500-2,600 years ago would have been the time that the Greeks were transitioning from lacing to the use of mortise and tenons.
edit on 2015-1-7 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 05:02 AM
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It just seems like they found a reddish metal and used orichalcum to get interest?

Did not the Greeks say it was a single ore mined, not an alloy?



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 05:29 AM
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originally posted by: Ridhya

Did not the Greeks say it was a single ore mined, not an alloy?


If we assume that the alloy was a product of metallurgy beyond the knowledge of the greeks at the time, and presume a desire on the maker's behalf to keep the method classified in order to keep it exclusively their resource for trade, could the greeks be simply repeating what they were told?



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 05:38 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvianFrom Discovery News:










what struck me right-off-the-bat

these 'ingots' look very similar to the metal rods used in those Egyptian & Baghdad 'batteries' from antiquity

perhaps the shipment were components for battery's which might produce light for the Artisans of the era
instead of being metal ingots of a rare Earth mineral/metal used in that port city to artistically create fine crafted metal ornaments/coins/art work in the many workshops or studios, mints...
edit on th31142063096607422015 by St Udio because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:12 AM
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Wow, seriously , thanks for this article. This is just one of a few of those persistent questions through the years and now it looks to be answered! I have a few more!



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: Pilgrum
Could be, though ive always imagined orichalcum was iron (iii) oxide, which is red. Not being a metallurgist though I dont know if it still comes out red after smelting, but the ore is red



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:30 AM
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what struck me right-off-the-bat

these 'ingots' look very similar to the metal rods used in those Egyptian & Baghdad 'batteries' from antiquity

perhaps the shipment were components for battery's which might produce light for the Artisans of the era
instead of being metal ingots of a rare Earth mineral/metal used in that port city to artistically create fine crafted metal ornaments/coins/art work in the many workshops or studios, mints...


Nice observation, I mean we cannot be sure of course but I think that is a sound consideration that could and should be further explored... somehow by someone who has access to these items. This unfortunately probably won't happen for a while



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:34 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

what utter twaddle

sensationalist hyperbole should carry a death sentence

why cant they just say :

previously unknown prehistoric alloy cache discovered

????????????????????



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:51 AM
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originally posted by: St Udio

originally posted by: theantediluvianFrom Discovery News:








Ingots were the easiest way of transporting metal back in ancient times. It made the metal easier to stack and less likely to roll when transporting by sea.



what struck me right-off-the-bat

these 'ingots' look very similar to the metal rods used in those Egyptian & Baghdad 'batteries' from antiquity

perhaps the shipment were components for battery's which might produce light for the Artisans of the era
instead of being metal ingots of a rare Earth mineral/metal used in that port city to artistically create fine crafted metal ornaments/coins/art work in the many workshops or studios, mints...



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 07:41 AM
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originally posted by: St Udio

what struck me right-off-the-bat

these 'ingots' look very similar to the metal rods used in those Egyptian & Baghdad 'batteries' from antiquity


Except the rods in the Baghdad "batteries" were Iron inside a copper cylinder not bronze. As far as alloys go, bronze is subject to rapid corrosion in many different environments, an acidic one is not conducive to a lengthy lifespan making the alloy rather unsuitable for the purpose of a battery.


perhaps the shipment were components for battery's which might produce light for the Artisans of the era
instead of being metal ingots of a rare Earth mineral/metal used in that port city to artistically create fine crafted metal ornaments/coins/art work in the many workshops or studios, mints...


It's a nice thought but aside from the issues with the alloy alone, these weren't actually batteries. You could, with a little reworking, get a charge out of them but you would have to piggyback several of them to attain anything period let alone a useful amount of electricity. But again, to do so required modifying the "battery" from its original configuration. All metal parts were capped in asphalt making it impossible to connect it to anything. And then the lack of illuminating implements(I.E. Light bulbs) throws another kink in the chain. The initial research thought that it was a battery used for electroplating and attributed the device to the Parthians but when the materials were actually dated , they were found to be several hundred years older and very closely resembled other artifacts left by the Sassanians. Long story short... You will get a larger electrical charge by sticking a piece of conductive metal into a lemon than you would from these at pots. The boring truth of it is that they were used for storing papyrus scrolls. The scroll was wrapped around the iron rod, placed inside the cooper cylinder which was then aced inside the clay pot and sealed with asphalt for long term storage.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 08:33 AM
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So they find some brass ingots in a wreck and declare it to be a mystical metal from Atlantis?


Orichalcum is the Greek word for 'brass', and it never came from Atlantis:


en.wikipedia.org...

By the 8th–7th century BC Assyrian cuneiform tablets mention the exploitation of the "copper of the mountains" and this may refer to "natural" brass.[46] Oreichalkos, the Ancient Greek translation of this term, was later adapted to the Latin aurichalcum meaning "golden copper" which became the standard term for brass.[47] In the 4th century BC Plato knew oreichalkos as rare and nearly as valuable as gold[48] and Pliny describes how aurichalcum had come from Cypriot ore deposits which had been exhausted by the 1st century AD



Brass was widely used throughout prehistoric Mediterranean cultures.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 08:58 AM
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Brass was also used for casting cannons, so could not have been that useless, was later used for cannon shells,(the cartridge part) and rifle/pistol ammunition, (still is).



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: Painterz


In the 4th century BC Plato knew oreichalkos as rare and nearly as valuable as gold[48]


This is a reference to the description of Atlantis from Critias 116 (source):

"Now the island and the circles and the bridge, which was a plethrum in breadth, they encompassed round about, on this side and on that, with a wall of stone; and upon the bridges on each side, over against the passages for the sea, they erected towers and gates. And the stone they quarried beneath the central island all round, and from beneath the outer and inner circles, some of it being white, some black and some red; and while quarrying it they constructed two inner docks, hollowed out and roofed over by the native rock. And of the buildings some they framed of one simple color, in others they wove a pattern of many colors by blending the stones for the sake of ornament so as to confer upon the buildings a natural charm. And they covered with brass, as though with plaster, all the circumference of the wall which surrounded the outermost circle; and that of the inner one they coated with tin; and that which encompassed the acropolis itself with orichalcum which sparkled like fire."

Clearly Plato is referring to orichalcum as a metal that is distinct from the brass known to Greeks of his time. The shipwreck predates Plato by 100-200 years or so. Brass is a general term for any alloy of predominately copper and zinc but the specific composition is of critical importance. It could be that the composition of the brass from a certain area led to particularly favorable properties for ornamentation.

The point here is that it's entirely plausible that the ingots are of the metal Plato was referring to and that doesn't necessitate the existence of a sunken continent. On the other hand, it could point to the existence of a real place that was (at least in some part) the basis for Plato's description.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian


The point here is that it's entirely plausible that the ingots are of the metal Plato was referring to and that doesn't necessitate the existence of a sunken continent. On the other hand, it could point to the existence of a real place that was (at least in some part) the basis for Plato's description.
And that place would be Minoan Empire, with island of Thera and the city of Akrotiri being the prototype from which the tale was built. The minoans were said to have used orichalcum as a decorative metal.

An interesting note about brasses, the greeks thought that the very high zinc content brasses of King of Phyrigia were gold and hence the Touch of Gold legend.


There is some very interesting circumstantial genetic evidence that points to possible contact between the eastern med/ agean and ne south america, its tenuous at best but interesting, I wll try to track that down.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

I think you might be referring to the often cited paper from physical anthropologist, James L. Guthrie:

Human Lymphocyte Antigens: Apparent Afro-Asiatic, Southern Asian, & European HLAs in Indigenous American Populations



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
that might be the one,
Ill track down my source this aftenoon



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