Dr. Marcus Heinrich Hermanns from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cologne has recovered three lead bars which may originate from the third century before Christ, 39 meters under the sea off the north coast of Ibiza. One of the bars has Iberian characters on it. According to the German Mining Museum in Bochum, the lead originates from the mines of Sierra Morena in southern Spain.
|Image courtesy of University of cologne, Universitaet zu Koeln|
With the help of ibiza volunteer divers, some of whom he also trained in crash courses in underwater archaeology financed by the local government, Dr. Hermanns examined the three lead bars. A fourth specimen had already been found on an earlier occasion. The characters on the upper surfaces of two of the four known bars are syllabary symbols from the script of Northeastern Iberian. “The characters must have been added to the metal before it had set, shortly after it had been cast,” says the underwater archaeologist Dr. Hermanns, “in which case, the characters are more likely to be related to production as opposed to commercial information.”
The destination planned for the lead remains unknown. The reason why the lead was transported from the Spanish mainland to the Balearic Islands, even though silver mines were in operation on the islands, has not been established. During antiquity, lead was a by-product of silver mining and used mainly for coinage. Dr. Hermanns therefore assumes that the lead was used as munitions for mercenaries provided by the Baleareans during antiquity.
source: Science Daily
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