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Orichalcum as it is called in antiquity, is a legendary metal that is mentioned in many ancient writings. The term itself comes from the Greek and means “copper mountain”. The legend of this rare metal is magnified because Greek philosopher Plato, who lived between 427 and 347 a. C. mentioned this metal in his writings about Atlantis.
Scholars are very excited about these findings and some even believe they are a step closer to uncover the mystery of this mythological ancient city.
According to Plato‘s writings on Atlantis, Orichalcum was the second most valuable metal in the mythological city and predominated in many parts of Atlantis. Sicilian portal ANSA surprised the online community with the news of thirty nine gleaming ingots from this ancient metal in the sea of Gela, located on the southern coast of the Italian island of Sicily, in an area belonging to the province of Caltanissetta.
The finding was made possible thanks to a group of divers belonging to the cultural association Mare Nostrum, near an archaic shipwreck discovered in the area a while ago.
The recovery of this peculiar treasure was carried out by a team of divers from the Italian Coast Guard, “the Guardia di Finanza” and the “Superintendencia del Mar.”
According to studies by many specialists in metallurgy and even history, the Orichalcum bars were nalyzed with X-ray fluorescence by Dario Panetta, of TQ – Tecnologies for Quality, demonstrating that 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. According to the ancient Greeks, Orichalcum was invented by Cadmus, a Greek-Phoenician mythological character.
“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.
This alloy of three metals was used in antiquity for the production of valuables and even in the process of coin minting. Orichalchum is the metal that was used to worship Poseidon, god of the seas and storms, and other deities of ancient Greece.
If we take as reference the description that Plato makes to Orichalchum you can exclude the likelihood that Orichalchum is indeed a metal alloy. since according to Plato in his writings of Atlantis, “it is extracted from the ground”. Some archaeologists, given this definition, think that when the ancients speak of Orichalchum refer to amber actually. In fact, during the Late Bronze Age, between XII and X centuries. C., this yellowish fossil resin was one of the main products traded through the Mediterranean. The ships of Tartessos delivered it from the Jutland peninsula together with other materials like silver, bronze or tin.