Artist's depiction of the sunken city of Atlantis

Rare orichalcum metal said to be from the legendary Atlantis recovered from 2,600-year-old shipwreck

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A team of marine archaeologists have discovered several dozen ingots scattered across the sandy sea floor near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The ingots were made from orichalcum, a rare cast metal which ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote was from the legendary city of Atlantis. 

According to Discovery News , a total of 39 ingots (metal cast into rectangular blocks) were found close to shipwreck that was discovered in 1988 lying in shallow waters about 300 meters (1,000ft) off the coast of Gela in Sicily.

Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily’s superintendent of the Sea Office, told Discovery News that the precious ingots were probably being brought to Sicily from Greece or Asia Minor.

2,600-year-old shipwreck found off the coast of Sicily

2,600-year-old shipwreck found off the coast of Sicily

Tusa said that the discovery of orichalcum ingots, long considered a mysterious metal, is  significant as “nothing similar has ever been found.” He added, "We knew orichalcum from ancient texts and a few ornamental objects.”

The name orichalucum derives from the Greek word oreikhalkos, meaning literally "mountain copper" or "copper mountain". According to Plato’s 5 th century BC Critias dialogue, orichalucum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of the legendary Atlantis in ancient times

Plato wrote that , the three outer walls of the Temple to Poseidon and Cleito on Atlantis were clad respectively with brass, tin, and the third, which encompassed the whole citadel, "flashed with the red light of orichalcum". The interior walls, pillars and floors of the temple were completely covered in orichalcum, and the roof was variegated with gold, silver, and orichalcum. In the center of the temple stood a pillar of orichalcum, on which the laws of Poseidon and records of the first son princes of Poseidon were inscribed. (Crit. 116–119)

The orichalucum ingots found off the coast of Gela in Sicily

The orichalucum ingots found off the coast of Gela in Sicily. Credit: Opinión Bolivia

For centuries, experts have hotly debated the metal’s composition and origin. According to the ancient Greeks, orichalcum was invented by Cadmus, a Greek-Phoenician mythological character.  Cadmus was the founder and first king of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.

Cadmus, the Greek mythological figure who is said to have created orichalcum

Cadmus, the Greek mythological figure who is said to have created orichalcum ( Wikipedia)

Orichalcum has variously been held to be a gold-copper alloy, a copper-tin, or copper-zinc brass, or a metal no longer known. However, in Vergil's Aeneid it was mentioned that the breastplate of Turnus was "stiff with gold and white orachalc" and it has been theorized that it is an alloy of gold and silver, though it is not known for certain what orichalcum was.

The Fight between Aeneas and King Turnus

The breast plate of Turnus was said to be made with gold and white 'orachalc’'  'The Fight between Aeneas and King Turnus' by Giacomo del Po, Italy, Naples, 1652-1726. ( Wikimedia Commons )

Orichalcum is also mentioned in the ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ (1 st century AD) - Book VIII, sect. 88 by Josephus, who stated that the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were made of orichalcum (or a bronze that was like gold in beauty).

Today, some scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity the process of cementation, which was achieved through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

The latest discovery of the orichalcum ingots that had laid for nearly three millennia on the sea floor may finally unravel the mystery of the origin and composition of this enigmatic metal.

Featured image:  Artist’s depiction of the sunken city of Atlantis. Source: Fotolia

By April Holloway

Comments

"We don't know what orichalcum might be, but this is it"? That doesn't inspire lots of confidence, does it?

Good article.
And the fact that King Solomon also apparently made use of this metal is very interesting indeed.
When exactly did Solomon live? How long ago?
One of your writers should cover the very ancient gold mines near South Africa, actually in the region of Waterval Boven and more towards the Northern border too. These mines have been estimated to be anywhere between 150 000 and 300 000 years old.
Google "Michael Tellinger".

I'd like to read about this myself... Where would I find such literature??

Solomon es olo mon - all is mine - Solomon Salomo Salomon just one of the satanic elite/nobil/centralbanking dynasties

Solomon's reign was c. 970–931 BC.

Maybe it is a rediscovered super metal

I have also heard that copper mined from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA may have been mined by ancient civilizations and brought to the Mediterranean area.

look at the Ancient Egypt cave found in the Grand Canyon

Anyone with a remote knowledge of ancient egyptian history can probably use this link as a joke page.

If there really were those artifacts (sorry but at least 2 of the photos are from completely different places and are well known artifacts) in that tunnel if anything all it shows is that at some point they were looted. You're talking artistic styles from egypt and asia minor that span over 1000 years and are completely random. Burial masks and canopic jars, statuary - commonly raided items. The "step pyramid" that's actually a shot of saqqara - in Egypt. The mummy - that's also a shot taken from a dig in egypt and is greek in era meaning it's about 1000 years after the supposed smekhare came to visit (who btw was not akhenaten's son and was never pharoah except from a completely different and unrelated dynasty).

I hope you don't believe this crock you posted. It's laughable. Someone took their randomly gleaned TV knowledge of Egyptian history and made this up. Anubs was a famous embalmer - he was a dynastic period god! One of the original pantheon. The "boat" on the pharoah's head - it's a uraes crown symbolizing lower egypt!

It's like a train wreck. I keep reading and can't look away but am confronted by complete historical nonsense on every line.

This is from the Smithsonian website. The story of Ancient Egyptian Artifacts found in the Grand Canyon is an urban legend and it clearly states it is not true.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/urban-legends-about-the-smith...

In todays age, hundreds of thousands of non destructive examination companies around the world have tools that can tell approximate composition of rough samples. why is this information not released with the story instead of speculation. Is it copper or not. Is it a Cu alloy as copper loves to be alloyed. Not giving a scientific result in this story destroys it

Evan, I'd say it's deliberate really. I mean this was found n 1988. I'm sure they know exactly what it is.We the masses are only given slight details and others run with it and confuse it and none of us really get's the truth anymore. Part of a agenda not known to us I'm sure. information Secrecy..

The composition is described in the original article http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/atlantis-legendary-metal-f....
I do not know why it was left out from this article.

rbflooringinstall's picture

That's pretty awesome. I'm not too sure what an ingot is though.

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

I read the composition run down, this stuff is Brass.. Copper+Tin= Bronze, Copper+Zinc= Brass.

I wish they would if they could, isolate the copper and determine its origin. That would interest me. The alloy/ ingots could have been produced somewhere in the mediterranean area where it was found but the copper could have been from anywhere. Some of the best copper on the planet was found in the Great Lakes Region of North America. It was used by the Mound Builders and other ancient Americans. Some believe it made its way down the Mississippi to the Gulf and was traded to foreign buyers  thousands of years ago.

   Some-one was selling cocaine to the Egyptians at that time which pretty much proves somebody was making trips from there to the Americas. If we could analize the origins of the copper of Bronze age artifacts  spread out through the world it might give us an idea of how interconected we were then.

Really interesting story, but... do the ingot flash/reflect red light?

Sorry but I think this article floats about as much as Atlantis did. First, orichalcum is reddish in color, some speculate it's what we call Amber now, but the metal in the picture is copper.
Secondly, they found it in 1988 and no metal analysis is included in the article and why are we just now hearing about it?
I'm sorry but if you really want your article to be taken seriously please write it without an agenda.

I wish they would try to polish the ingots to see what color the metal is. In Egypt, they used electrum, a mixture of silver and gold, but they don't show it polished. It's dull, but reddish in color. I've just seen it used in their jewelry.

Bonusje [email protected] 13m13 minutes ago @beforeitsnews Atlantis just was an early Japanese name for Australia
アトランティス号 Atorantisu-gō
A tor anti su > een deur naar een andere dimensie/a door to another dimension
Daar kwam deze Mensheid die van Mars kwam van af Japan voor t eerst de Aardrassen die in God´s Liefde Leefden tegen/there this Mankind who came from Mars for the first time met the Earth Races Who Lifed in God´s Love
U was de zondvloed de deluge de Götterdämmerung de Ragnarok van alle aardrassen/You were the deluge the undoing of Creation and death of God
en zelfs van uw eigen Kinderen/and even of your own Children

gō ...go.y..im ...yid...jew...you are No Jews/Earthraces because Them you all killed and exterminated through the millenia. Here and there some fague bastard remnant of White and Aboriginal Earthraces

It cannot be the orichalcum from Plato's Atlantis, for several reasons.
One reason is, that the word "orichalcum" was used in various ways in antiquity. Partly it meant mythical metals, partly it meant unknown metals, partly it maybe meant brass or an alloy such as the alloy now found before the coast of Gela. In case of Plato's Atlantis it clearly meant an unknown metal, as explicitly said in Plato's text, and the Latin "orichalcum" resp. Greek "oreichalkos" is only a descriptive identification (literally: "mountain ore") for lack of knowledge of its real name and composition.

Further reasons can be found in an extended article here:
http://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis_newsl_archive.htm#an79

Very well put, Thorwald. All we can really do is speculate as long as we have no other hard evidence.

Finding a bunch of copper ingots and calling them "orichalcum" is not only illogical, but bordering on fraudulent, unless of course, the word was stamped into the ingots.

This nonsense again? See "Orchalchum and Related Alloys: Origin, composition and Manufacture with special Reference to the Coinage of the Roman Empire" by Earle R. Caley, The American Numismatic Society, 1964 (Monograph #151)

Also, you headline strongly implies that the ship and cargo are from Atlantis. Way to encourage the nut jobs, guys.

It would be nice if the author acknowledged her sources!

It seems a bit presumptuous that they would call these ingots "orichalcum" if there is still some uncertainty as to what the substance was in reality. Even the etymology of the word is in question. It sounds plausible, but we have yet to find a way to verify the meaning of "mountain copper."

Why call it "orichalcum" if it is merely copper or a copper alloy? Was the word "orichalcum" imprinted on them? Or was the writer letting their imagination get the best of them?

If the shipwreck is only 2,600 years old, that would mean 600 BC, and far from the time of Atlantis -- 9600 BC. Too many researchers waffle over Plato's details. If we stay true to what he wrote and understand what might easily have been artistic license, then we have a better chance of solving the mystery. Looking at the details of scientific discovery, we now know that 3 items of evidence all point to a big event occurring 9600 BC. Each of these is from a different scientific discipline. Plato got a lot right about Atlantis without knowing the science we know today.

Certainly copper is the only metal with a reddish hue in its natural form, but if orichalcum were an unknown alloy, we might never know the truth of it.

But what if orichalcum were an alloy of copper and uranium? Being relatively new material from the mantle of Earth, the soil of Atlantis (if it existed) would likely have been rich with minerals, just as Plato said it was. If you look up the properties of copper and uranium, you find that their melting points are almost exactly the same!

And if the Atlanteans did indeed have an advanced technology -- the stuff of myth and legend -- then perhaps the idea that dragon ships had scales that were immensely tough could come from the addition of uranium -- one of the densest and toughest metals known. The fact that changing the ratio of metals can make a copper alloy more gold colored adds credence to this notion that orichalcum was the stuff of dragon scales. The dragons of the Egyptian merchant prince, of Cadmus and of Medea were all gold in color.

There is bauxite in Greece, and the "Aiud Aluminum Wedge" artifact is very interesting. I think the orichalcum is an aluminum ore. It was lightweight, malleable and a good foil as weaponry combined with heavier gold.

Modern science is so lacking in what comprised the human past, it would be fair to say, today humanity is just emerging from another dark age. There were literally scores of elements the periodical table is lacking. First of all, the study of alchemical sciences has become so diluted, it is now considered mostly a myth. Alchemy today is believe to have been just a quest for immortality and method for changing lead to gold, but in reality, it was much, much more. True alchemy is now a lost science that involved not only forgotten energies and elements, it also involved magnetics, (both attractive and REPULSIVE) characteristics of elements long forgotten. Not only has pure orichalcum evaded modern fabrication, it will remain so because modern science is ignorant of what is necessary for, or how to produce it

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