|More ingots of orichalcum, the ancient metal that was purported to be mined at the mythical island of Atlantis, have emerged from the seas of Sicily.|
|In early 2015 a team of marine archaeologists discovered 39 ingots scattered across the 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.|
|For centuries, experts have 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.|
Orichalcum has been thought to be a gold-copper alloy, a copper-tin, or copper-zinc brass, or a metal no longer known.
It had been theorized that orichalcum was an alloy of gold and silver.
A fresco found in an ancient Minoan house at Akrotiri, showing a procession of boats
|X-ray fluorescence analysis conducted in Italy indicates the ingots were made from a mixture of zinc (15-20 per cent), charcoal and copper (75-80 per cent) with traces of nickel, lead and iron. Today, some scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity through 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.
The Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Santorini eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption which is estimated to have occurred in the mid-second millennium BCE.
|The eruption was the largest volcanic event on Earth in recorded history. The eruption devastated the island of Thera (Santorini), including the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri.|
There is some evidence that the myth of Atlantis, described by Plato, is based upon the Santorini eruption.