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Found – metal from the Lost City of Atlantis

Could it be that metal from the Lost City of Atlantis has been discovered off the shores of Italy?

We work with many types of metal, bending and curving for architectural or vehicle needs, but we do not work with orichalcum.  That’s partly because the metal is very rare, partly because it is a cast metal and partly because the only known source is the Lost City of Atlantis, which supplies very little these days on account of it being lost.

However, quite a load of orichalcum has been found in waters just ten feet deep off the coast of southern Sicily, near Gela.

“Nothing similar has ever been found,” said Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily’s superintendent of the Sea Office, speaking to Discovery News. “We knew orichalcum from ancient texts and a few ornamental objects.”

The 39 ingots were found on the sandy sea floor near a shipwreck that dates to the first half of the sixth century, about 1,000 feet from the coast.  The precious metal was most likely en route to Italy from Greece or Turkey.

It was fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher Plato who made orichalcum a legendary metal when he mentioned it in his Critias dialogue.  He described Atlantis as flashing “with the red light of orichalcum.” According to Plato, orichalcum was second in value only to gold, and was used to cover Poseidon’s temple interior walls, columns and floors.

If all this sounds too mysterious to be true, that there must be some easy explanation … sorry, there is not.  Scholars are still debating the source of orichalcum, which is perhaps why the mythology remains strong.

Read more on this discovery and the debates surrounding the origins of orichalcum in the Discovery News article.

Shipwreck puzzle


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