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Mythical metal alloy discovered in 2,600-year-old shipwreck: Was Atlantis real?


Orichalcum

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(NaturalNews) A recent discovery of strange reddish metal ingots on a shipwreck 2,600 years old near Sicily has reignited interest in the historical existence of Atlantis. According to legend, Atlantis was a large landmass, placed by some in the middle of the Atlantic, that met geophysical misfortune and sunk beneath the sea.

And according to this mythology, its people mined and used a rare reddish metal called orichalcum so much that the Greek philosopher Plato described how Atlantis glowed "with the red light of orichalcum." Orichalcum metal has only been described in ancient texts and seen in very few ancient ornaments.

The discovered ingots considered orichalcum are 75-80 percent copper. The ingots were recovered from an ancient shipwreck discovered by a recent Italian underwater archeological expedition lead by Professor Sebastiano Tusa.

Among the few fragments of wood from the wreck, Greek vases and a terracotta figure of the goddess Demeter were also found. What has piqued Tusa's curiosity most about the find is how it relates historically to Sicily and the port city of Gela on the southern shore of Sicily.

"The finding confirms that about a century after its foundation in 689BC, Gela grew to become a wealthy city with artisan workshops specialised in the production of prized artifacts," Tusa claimed, adding, "It is a new shipwreck unknown before this discovery."

The upper part of the shipwreck was under just 10 feet of water only a thousand feet from the Gela shoreline. Apparently, it sank on a reef or sandbar that bordered a channel into the port. Perhaps heavy seas and inappropriate maneuvering forced the vessel onto the sandbar.

Brazilian archeologist Enrico Mattievich disagrees about both the metal's constitutional validity and its mythical origin of use as Atlantis. He claims true orichalcum is composed of copper, gold and silver, and that it was first used by the Chavin civilization in the Peruvian Andes around 1200 BC.

Mattievich also believes that the tale of Atlantis is total mythology that was contrived by Plato around 330 BC as part of his dialogues Timaeus and the Critias. But he enjoys the controversy and archeological interest that's stirred by the myth.

The first written version of the Atlantis mythology

Current Atlantis mythology depicts the lost undersea island as once inhabited by highly evolved beings who had descended from interstellar aliens and maintained their ancestors' advanced technology. Some speculate that the city remained intact even after it dropped below the Atlantic Ocean.

But Plato had a different version in his dialogues, where the first recorded story of Atlantis appears. He depicted the island Atlantis as the size of Libya and Asia Minor (Turkey) combined.

Plato located the huge landmass on an "ocean there [that] was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles,' [Hercules] there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together."

"The pillars of Hercules," describes the small opening or "mouth" at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea by the Rock of Gibraltar that serves as a portal to the Atlantic. And the inhabitants that Plato described did have advanced technology as descendents of the sea god Poseidon, but they were not altruistic.

They were concerned more with conquest and control, having enslaved Africa and Western Europe centuries before Plato's time. Plato's story has the noble and spiritually stronger Athenians thwarting Atlantis's efforts to seize Athens, which resulted in the mighty island of Atlantis sinking into the sea.

Most historians and archeologists say this was nothing more than a moral fable to support Athenian political propaganda.

Nevertheless, for centuries after Plato's time, scholars have put attention on determining exactly where Atlantis is and what happened and why. It's a very persistent myth that had faded until this Italian archeological discovery.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.livescience.com

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