A 3,000-year-old treasure made of "alien" materials A 3,000-year-old treasure made of "alien" materials

A 3,000-year-old treasure made of "alien" materials

A dazzling Bronze Age treasure, discovered in Spain more than 60 years ago, contains some metals from beyond our world, as a new analysis has found that parts of it were made of meteoric iron.
The treasure, known as the "Vilina Treasure" and discovered by archaeologists in 1963, includes a total of 59 bottles, bowls and pieces of jewelry exquisitely crafted from gold, silver, amber and iron.

When the treasure was discovered, in a pit in the province of Alicante, archaeologists noticed some strange details about some of the iron pieces. At the time, they described the items as being made of “a dark lead metal that is shiny in some areas, covered with an iron oxide and mostly cracked,” according to Spanish newspaper El País.

New research published by the journal Trabajos de Prehistoria revealed that the iron used in two of the artifacts originated from a meteorite that fell to Earth about one million years ago.

The scientists tested two of the iron objects: a C-shaped bracelet and a hollow ball topped with a gold plate that may have once decorated the sword. Both pieces were manufactured between 1400 and 1200 BC.

“The relationship between gold and iron is important, as both elements have great symbolic and social value,” said lead scientist Ignacio Montero Ruiz, a researcher at the Institute of Spanish History. “In this case, the artifacts were most likely a hidden treasure that could belong to "To an entire community and not to a single person. There were no kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula in this historical period."

To conduct their research, Montero Ruiz and his team used mass spectrometry to measure traces of iron-nickel alloys in the artefacts that were similar to those found in meteorite iron.

Given that the compositions of the artifacts are very similar, "it is possible that both pieces could have come from the same meteorite," Montero Ruiz said.

While it is still unclear who made these treasures and where exactly they came from, Montero Ruiz and his colleagues have confirmed that these are the first and oldest iron meteorite objects ever found in the region.

He added that it was "remarkable" to see how cultures created new technologies, noting that "experimentation and curiosity were part of these past societies."

A new breakthrough may revolutionize ophthalmology

A team of scientists has invented new contact lenses that could bring about an unprecedented revolution in the field of ophthalmology.
Scientists revealed that the developed lenses rely on a helical pattern that enhances eye focus at different distances and in different lighting conditions.

The lens, called a spiral diopter, causes incoming light to rotate in an optical spiral, taking into account various distortions in the cornea that may occur as we age.

“Unlike existing multifocal lenses (which focus light from varying distances onto the retina), our lens works well under a wide range of lighting conditions and maintains multiple Foci regardless of pupil size.

He added: "For people with age-related farsightedness, the developed lens could provide consistently clear vision, which could revolutionize ophthalmology."

Scientists have conducted laser simulations and tests that show the lens works as intended, although they are currently unable to produce spiral diopter contact lenses in large quantities. 

“Creating an optical vortex usually requires multiple optical components,” says Laurent Gallinier, of the optical company SPIRAL SAS in France. “However, our developed lens includes the elements necessary to create an optical vortex directly on its surface. Creating optical vortexes is an advanced area of ​​research, but our method simplifies the process.” "This represents a major advance in the field of optics."

The research team reported that more studies are needed to understand the precise nature of the optical vortices (or twisted light) produced by the spiral diopter.

Currently, older people with conditions such as farsightedness and cataracts use progressive lenses to focus at different distances, with different parts of the lenses having different magnification powers.

It is noteworthy that helical lenses have an aspherical surface and can be used to correct refractive errors in the eye.

The research was published in Optica magazine .
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