Researchers have recovered yet more ingots, possibly of the fabled metal orichalcum, from a ship that sank off the coast of Sicily around 2,600 years ago. The find has led some to ponder whether the mythical island of Atlantis, where the legendary alloy was supposed to have been created, was real. The shipwreck, however, dates to about seven millennia later than the legend of Atlantis.
In 2015, researchers diving near the shipwreck found 39 ingots of a copper, zinc, and charcoal alloy that resembles brass. They believe it may be the ancient metal orichalcum. The new cache of the same metal consists of 47 ingots.
Some of the orichalcum ingots found near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. (Superintendency of the Sea, Sicily)
While the metal is rare, it is not as precious as researchers expected from reading ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s description of it in the Critias dialogue. Plato said only gold was a more precious substance than orichalcum.
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