3,500-Year-Old Hand is Europe’s Earliest Metal Body Part
Found in a Bronze-Age grave, the rare artifact may have been used for ritual purposes.
Swiss archaeologists recently announced the discovery of what they say is the earliest metal representation of a human body part ever found in Europe. The 3,500-year-old object is a hand, slightly smaller than life-sized, made of more than a pound of bronze. It has a cuff of gold foil glued to the wrist, and a socket inside that would have allowed it to be mounted on a stick or pole.
The find was originally uncovered in 2017 near Lake Biel in the western canton (province) of Bern, by treasure hunters using metal detectors, who turned it in to authorities along with a bronze dagger and rib bone they found nearby. “We had never seen anything like it,” says Andrea Schaer, head