South America, Argentina, Campo del Cielo, ca. 4.5 billion years old. A large, naturally-shaped chunk from a massive and extremely heavy, iron meteorite from the very famous Campo del Cielo (also Piguem Nonralta) site in Argentina. The 22 plus craters from this 5000 year old collision with a giant space rock were discovered by Europeans around 1576, but were well known by the local inhabitants. In all, over 100 tons of meteorites have been recovered making this the largest meteorite field on record. Size: 8.7" L x 6.5" W x 7.5" H (22.1 cm x 16.5 cm x 19 cm); 42lbs 7 oz, 19249.3105 grams
This meteorite also played an interesting role in human history. It provided iron to indigenous people in the region and the Spanish colonists in the area took notice. In 1576, the governor of the province of northern Argentina sent out a military search party to locate the source of the natives' iron weapons. However, it was not until the late 1700s that early natural scientists began to understand the true source of the iron. In 1783, Ruben de Celis used dynamite to clear the area around the craters and discovered that it was not a mine, as previously suspected, but was instead the remains of a single huge mass. Believing the source to be a volcanic eruption, he sent a sample to the Royal Society in London, where it was found to be 90% iron and 10% nickel and thus from a meteor.
Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles, USA collection
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Unpolished and in natural condition, with oxidized surface.