A joint study by researchers from Saudi Arabia and Spain of a C-shaped bracelet found in December 1963 in Villena, Alicante, Spain and a gold-plated hollow sphere thought to have been used as an ornament on the pommel of a sword found that both pieces were produced in the Late Bronze Age between 1400 and 1200 B.C. and contained an iron-nickel alloy similar to meteoric iron.
The study, published in the scientific journal Trabajos De Prehistoria, reported that these pieces have similar properties to iron found in a meteorite that hit the Earth about 1 million years ago.
It was also reported that the fragments found in the artifacts are the first meteorite iron objects found in the Iberian Peninsula.
Ignacio Montero-Ruiz of the Spanish Historical Institute said, "The link between gold and iron is important because both had great social and symbolic value. There were no kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula during this historical period. So the pieces were probably hidden treasures that belonged to a whole community, not just one individual."
According to the study, traces of an iron-nickel alloy comparable to that found in meteoric iron were measured using mass spectrometry, a technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules.
Given that the compositions of the artifacts are very similar, both objects could have come from the same meteorite, Montero Ruiz said.