Researchers find a 6,000-year-old artifact created with technology that NASA uses today


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The 6,000-year-old artifact –discovered at the Neolithic village of Mehrangarh, Pakistan– was created with a technique still used by NASA. As researchers explain: “It is also today the highest precision metal forming technique—under the name ‘investment casting’—in aerospace, aeronautics, and biomedicine, for high-performance alloys from steel to titanium.”

Researchers have recently come across a 6,000-year-old ornament excavated at the Neolithic village of Mehrangarh, Pakistan. According to a new imaging technique that allowed researchers to find out more about it, the artifact was created with an ancient technology that NASA still uses today reports Mail Online.

The technology called lost-wax casting is a metal casting technique still used today in order to create a duplicate metal object. A modern version of the method called  ‘investment casting’  was utilized by researchers at NASA when they built components for the International Space Station, the Curiosity rover exploring the red planet, and other spacecraft like the Messenger probe.

(a) Map indicating the major Indo-Iranian archaeological sites dated from the seventh to the second millennia BC. Scale bar, 200 km. (b) View of the MR2 archaeological site at Mehrgarh (sector X, Early Chalcolithic, end of period III, 4,500–3,600 BC). (c) View of the front side of the wheel-shaped amulet. Scale bar, 5 mm. (d) Dark-field image of the equatorial section of the amulet.
(a) Map indicating the major Indo-Iranian archaeological sites dated from the seventh to the second millennia BC. Scale bar, 200 km. (b) View of the MR2 archaeological site at Mehrgarh (sector X, Early Chalcolithic, end of period III, 4,500–3,600 BC). (c) View of the front side of the wheel-shaped amulet. Scale bar, 5 mm. (d) Dark-field image of the equatorial section of the amulet.

The 6,000-year-old ornament was studied using a revolutionary new technique called ‘photoluminescence imaging’ by scientists from Ipanema – a European research facility that specializes in the study of archaeological materials.

The new technique allowed experts to determine the exact process by which the artifact was made in the past.

“We discovered a hidden structure that is a signature of the original object, how it was made,” stated lead author Mathieu Thoury, a physicist at Ipanema, the European center for the study of ancient materials, as quoted by the Washington Post.

“You have a signature of what was happening 6,000 years ago,” Thoury added.

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‘Photoluminescence imaging’ is a process where light is being projected onto the artifact while researchers measure the amount of light that bounces back.

Scientists explain that different material consequently reflects different amounts of light, which in turn allowed experts to pinpoint the exact materials used in the production of the ornament some 6,000 years ago.

After studying the artefact in detail, experts concluded that the amulet was in fact created as a single piece which led experts to conclude that whoever created the ornament used a process called lost-wax casting.

Lost-Wax Casting involves in the production of a ‘replica’ item using wax, and then creating a mold around the object. When it’s heated up, the liquefied wax is removed, and molten metal is poured in. Once the mold cools down it is broken apart which leaves only the newly formed metal inside it.

Experts discovered that the ancient craftsman created the amulet by pouring –extremely pure— copper melt into a mold that was previously created using lost-wax casting. The study was published in the journal Nature.

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Ivan

Ivan is editor-in-chief at ancient-code.com, he also writes for Universe Explorers. You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.

5 Comments

  1. Lost wax casting has been used for years and years, not something new as is implied in this article. Still, interesting.

    1. Im sorry but where does it say that Lost-Way casting is a new technique?

      “The technology called lost-wax casting is a metal casting technique still used today in order to create a duplicate metal object. A modern version of the method called ‘investment casting’ was utilized by researchers at NASA when they built components for the International Space Station, the Curiosity rover exploring the red planet, and other spacecraft like the Messenger probe.”

      1. My bad Lost Wax casting. Misspelled a letter.I don’t see why the title would mislead to anything. Why? Well because it is a 6,000 year old artifact and it was created with a technology that NASA –among others– still uses today.

        Am I wrong?

        1. Hey Bunny I thought we were having an open discussion. Im not fighting. It is just my opinion that the title is balanced. If you look at any other blog, website, the titles are always written ni similar manner: They offer something about the article that is interesting. I did not see the title as something misleading, I may be wrong, but that’s just my view.

          1. You are right, misleading is too strong a word more intriguing?
            Spot on about the other blogs! That is a better worded explanation for what I was trying to say 🙂 the title needs to have you think ‘What’s that all about, now?’ to get you interested?

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