Conference PaperPDF Available

Artifact-in-impactite: a new kind of impact rock. Evidence from the Chiemgau meteorite impact in southeast Germany

Authors:
  • Institute for Interdisciplinary Science, Gilching

Abstract

A hitherto worldwide unique evidence of a new type of impactite contains particles of metallic bronze and iron artefacts in a strongly shocked polymictic impact breccia from an archaeological excavation in the crater strewn field of the Chiemgau impact, dating the impact to relatively precise 900-600 BC.
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X. Минералогия астроблем и метеоритов
4. Shumilova, T. G., Isaenko, S. I., Ulyashev, V. V., Makeev,
B. A., Rappenglück, M. A., Veligzhanin, A. A., Ernstson,
K. Enigmatic GlassLike Carbon from the Alpine Foreland,
Southeast Germany: A Natural Carbonization Process//
Acta Geologica Sinica. 2018. V. 92, P. 2179—2200.
5. Shumilova, T. G., Isaenko, S. I., Ulyashev, V. V.,
Kazakov, V. A., and Makeev, B. A. Aftercoal diamonds: an
enigmatic type of impact diamonds // Eur. J. Min. 2018.
V. 30. P. 61—76.
6. Shumilova, T. G., Ulyashev, V. V., Kazakov, V. A.,
Isaenko, S. I., Vasil`ev, E. A., Svetov, S. A., Chazhengina, Y.,
Kovalchuk, N. S. Karite — diamond fossil: a new type of
natural diamond // Geoscience Frontiers, 2019. https://
doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2019.09.011
Artifact-in-impactite: a new kind of impact rock.
Evidence from the Chiemgau meteorite impact in southeast Germany
B. Rappenglück1, M. Hiltl2, K. Ernstson3
1Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, D82205 Gilching, Germany; b.rappenglueck@infis.org
2Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, D73447 Oberkochen; mhiltl@online.de
3University of Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany; kernstson@ernstson.de
Introduction
The Chiemgau impact (Fig. 1) as a meanwhile
established Holocene impact event has featured
quite a few exceptional observations in the last 15
years, which are summarized in [1, and referenc
es therein]. From the beginning of research it was
clear that a huge catastrophe in the Bronze Age or
Celtic era must have already affected densely pop
ulated regions, and in a routine archeological ex
cavation at Lake Chiemsee the worldwide unique
constellation was encountered that an impact ca
tastrophe layer was excavated sandwiched be
tween settlement layers of the Stone Age/Bronze
Age and the Roman Period (Fig. 1, 2) [2]. Among
the finds of ceramics, stone tools, bones and metal
artefacts also featured externally rather unsight
ly lumps, which were found by use of metal de
tectors and were addressed as «slag» by the ex
cavator. Here we report on specifically conducted
mineralogicalgeochemical investigations on 16
«slag» samples which have led to very remarkable
results.
Fig. 2. Inventory of the Stöttham archeological site (from left to right): diamictite of the catastrophic layer; archeological
finds; carbon, metallic and glass spherules; strongly corroded and fractured cobbles, metalrich «slag»
Fig. 1. Location map for the Stöttham archeological excavation (B) in the Chiemgau impact crater strewn field
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Fig. 3. Cut faces (to the left) and scanned images of corresponding thin sections accenting the shredded iron metallic par
ticles as parts of the polymictic impact breccia. p = pottery shard merging into vesicular fusion. Rightmost: EDS spectrum
of an iron particle (a nail fragment?). Apart from a little carbon Fe is the only element
Fig. 5. «Slag» containing high leaded bronze fragments and mottled matter, and possibly Sn bronze
Fig. 4. Shock metamorphism in polymictic «slag» breccias. Photomicrographs
Material and analyses
On preparation of the «slags» by cutting and
thinsection analyses with the polarizing micro
scope (Fig. 2), the «slags» turned out to be poly
mictic breccias with all signs of an impact melt rock
with vesicular remnants of alpine Quaternary cob
bles of the region mixed with multicolored rock
fragments and abundant glass (Fig. 3). As a notice
able portion, partially shredded metal particles in
terpenetrate the breccia, which the metal detector
had obviously classified as slag (Fig. 3). As already
demonstrated earlier in the diamictite of the catas
trophe layer [2], the «slag» breccias contain abun
dant shock effects, here with greater density and in
tensity (Fig. 4).
The most remarkable observation in the «slag»
proved to be bronze fragments, which according
to SEMEDS analyses are an unusual high leaded
bronze (Fig. 5), which according to EDS penetrates
the breccia also in fine and finest particles (Fig. 5). In
addition to probable normal tin bronze (Fig. 5), iron
particles (Fig. 3) are particularly noticeable, which
according to EDS consist only of iron without any
other element apart from very little carbon (Fig. 3),
a composition indicating iron in some processed
condition.
Conclusions
The new investigations demonstrate once
more impressively that the Stöttham archeological
site had been involved in a meteorite impact
invent, the Chiemgau impact. The original
finding of a meteorite impact layer between two
archeological horizons was to be classified as
unique worldwide. From the point of view of both
archeology and impact research, the new analyses
have put the crown on it by revealing human
objects and impact shock intimately intertwined
in the same samples a worldwide novelty
defining an artifactinimpactite as a new kind of
impact rock. A more exact dating of the Chiemgau
impact, based on the metallic components, is a
significant side effect of these unusual samples
367
X. Минералогия астроблем и метеоритов
and their investigation, scheduling the impact
event between 900 and 600 BC [3].
References
1. Rappenglück, M. A., Rappenglück, B.,
Ernstson. K. Cosmic collision in prehistory. — The
Chiemgau Impact: research in a Bavarian meteor
ite crater strewn field (in German) // Zeitschrift für
Anomalistik. 2017. V 17. P. 235—260.
2. Ernstson, K., Sideris, C., Liritzis, I., Neumair,
A. The Chiemgau meteorite impact signature of the
Stöttham archaeological site (Southeast Germany)
// Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry.
2012. V. 12. P. 249—259.
3. Rappenglück, B., Hiltl, M., Rappenglück,
M., Ernstson, K. The Chiemgau Impact — a mete
orite impact in the Bronze/Iron Age and its ex
traordinary appearance in the archaeological re
cord. In: Wolfschmidt, G. (ed.) Himmelswelten
und Kosmovisionen Imaginationen, Modelle,
Weltanschauungen. Nuncius Hamburgensis.
Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften
51, Hamburg: tredition. 2020 (in print). P. xxxx.
... t al. 2011;Isaenko et al. 2012;Shumilova et al. 2012;Rappenglück et al. 2013;Bauer et al. 2013;Neumair and Ernstson 2013;Rappenglück et al. 2014;Ernstson et al. 2014;Ernstson 2012Ernstson , 2016Ernstson and Poßekel 2017;Rappenglück et al. 2017;Shumilova et al. 2018;Poßekel and Ernstson 2019;Bauer et al. 2019;Bauer et al. 2020;Ernstson et al. 2020a;B. Rappenglück et al. 2020;Poßekel and Ernstson 2020;Ernstson et al. 2020b;Rappenglück et al. 2021), be described as probably the most important terrestrial impact crater strewn field at present, leaving the Wyoming strewn field now described far behind in scientific importance. This great Chiemgau impact is not mentioned with a word in the Kenkmann et al. article ...
... Physical and archeological dating confines the impact event to have happened between 900 and 600 B.C. Liritzis et al. 2010, B. Rappenglück et al. 2020, 2021. The impactor is suggested to have been a roughly 1,000 m sized low-density disintegrated, loosely bound asteroid or a disintegrated comet in order to account for the extensive strewn field , Rappenglück et al. 2017. ...
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The largest meteorite impact of the Holocene known to date occurred during the Bronze/Iron Age in southeastern Bavaria, between Altötting and the edge of the Alps. The event is known as the "Chiemgau Impact". More than 100 craters with diameters from 5 m up to several hundred meters are distributed over an area of about 60 km length and 30 km width. Finds of meteoric material confirm the event as well as the widespread evidence of so-called shock metamorphosis in the rock. The article focuses on new investigations of "slags" from an archaeological excavation in Chieming-Stöttham, on the eastern shore of Lake Chieming. Six objects analysed with polarisation microscope and SEM-EDS turned out to be complex combinations of rock and metal particles. While the rock components show the shock metamorphosis typical for a meteorite impact, the metallic components proved to be remnants of artefacts made of bronze or iron with a high lead content. Together they form an impact rock. To our knowledge, these are the first examples worldwide in which artefacts have become components of an impact rock. In addition, the special nature of the metallic components and the consideration of the archaeological context allow the more precise dating of the Chiemgau Impact to approximately 900-600 BC.