Mystery of the bronze hand missing for 3,500 years: Archaeologists find metal limb which was once ‘part of a sceptre’ in ancient Swiss grave
Archaeologists have found a bronze hand in Switzerland believed to be 3,500 years old.
The unusual artefact, which includes a gold cuff, was found alongside a collection of ancient objects including a dagger and a human rib.
Researchers made the discovery in Switzerland last year and have now presented their findings, saying the hand was the oldest metal body part that had ever been found in Europe.
After carbon-dating the trove they excavated the site and discovered the grave of a Bronze Age man, National Geographic reported.
The unusual artefact, which includes a gold cuff, was found alongside a collection of ancient objects including a dagger and a human rib
Although the grave had been damaged the researchers were able to find a stone structure underneath and other items including a bronze hair ornament and gold plating from the hand.
Experts believe the person buried at the site near Bern must have been a ‘high-ranking’ individual.
A statement from Bern authorities said: ‘It is still too early to determine whether the hand was made in the Three-Lakes region or in a more distant country.
‘We do not know either the meaning and the function attributed to it. Its gold ornament suggests that it is an emblem of power, a distinctive sign of the social elite, even of a deity.
The hand is extended by a hollow form that suggests that it was originally mounted on another object: it was perhaps part of a scepter or a statue.’