When the Bronze Age hit ancient Israel, the copper-rich region was able to quickly source seven of the eight ingredients needed to produce the alloy at Timna and other mines. But where tin — another one-eighth of the metal’s recipe — came from has been a lingering mystery for scholars. A new paper from an international team of researchers proposes a surprisingly faraway source — Cornwall.

In a paper published in June on the open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, the authors analyze 27 tin ingots, or blocks, from five sites bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. For decades, researchers have debated the origin of tin used in ubiquitous precious bronze throughout the Levant during the eponymous era, from the late fourth and third millennia BCE. Hypotheses have swung from close-by Turkey, central Asia, or far-flung France and Britain.

In their paper, “Isotope systematics and chemical composition of tin ingots from Mochlos (Crete) and other Late Bronze Age sites in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: An ultimate key to tin provenance?” a team of interdisciplinary scientists from Mannheim, Germany; Greensboro, North Carolina; Merano, Italy; and Haifa have what they call solid proof of where — and where not — the precious tin was likely mined.

“Bronze was used to make weapons, jewelry, and all types of daily objects, justifiably bequeathing its name to an entire epoch. The origin of tin has long been an enigma in archaeological research,” said Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka in a press release this week. Study co-author Pernicka, now retired, worked at both the Institute for Earth Sciences of Heidelberg University and the Curt Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometry.

The scholars used an earth-shattering approach to figure out the mine’s locus. “By using a combined approach of tin and lead isotopes together with trace elements it is possible to narrow down the potential sources of tin for the first time,” they write.

The most logical source? According to the authors, the most likely suppliers of the 13th–12th century BCE tin ingots from Israel are tin mines from Cornwall and Devon.

Read more at Times of Israel

Related Articles:

UK, NATO, USA, Israel all condemn Iran for deliberate attack on oil tanker that killed two, including Brit

The UK government has strongly condemned Iran for the deadly attack that took place on a civilian oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week. This condemnation was one of a...

Iran behind ship hijacking in Gulf of Oman – Reports

A vessel hijacked in the Gulf of Oman on Tuesday evening has been blamed on Iran, according to maritime sources.The British navy says the hijackers who boarded a vessel off the coast of...

Israel signs £170 million deal with Germany for advanced military radar systems

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a deal worth 200 million euros (£170 million) to supply advanced radars to the German military. IAI is fully owned by the Israeli...

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN: ‘UNRWA is dangerous, has no right to exist’

Israel's Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations has written a strong letter condemning UNRWA's lack of action to route out anti-Semitism and hatred within its ranks...

UK summons Iranian ambassador as Raab blames Iran for ship attack

The UK Foreign Office has summoned the Iranian ambassador over last week’s attack on an Israeli-operated ship near Oman, in which a Briton and a Romanian were killed. It comes as British...

Subscribe to start receiving FREE TORCH magazines from CUFI UK

We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.