An exciting new find from an ancient shipwreck site has scientists telling wild tales of Atlantis, according to Discovery News. The legendary lost underwater city is a familiar story, but the team of scientists involved in the expedition have used a word associated with the mythical place to name a strange metal recently found on the ocean floor off of the coast of Sicily, Italy.
The word is "orichalcum," and it stems from a text by the Greek philosopher Plato, where it was used to describe the common element used by the mythical people of Atlantis in constructing their city. The findings have so far included 39 ingots of this mysterious mineral, although one scientist quoted by the source believes that they are made of "latone metal" instead, due to the element's high copper content.
Regardless of the name, this metal was part of a shipment destined for the city of Gela. The source quotes Sicilian archeologist Sebastiano Tusa on the possible history behind this find.
"The wreck dates to the first half of the sixth century," he said. "It was found about 1,000 feet from Gela's coast at a depth of 10 feet." He also said that this discovery tells more about the port it was bound for. "The finding confirms that about a century after its foundation in 689 B.C., Gela grew to become a wealthy city with artisan workshops specialized in the production of prized artifacts," he added.
As a possible excavation effort draws nearer, media sources are already reporting that the researchers have found an "Atlantis metal." While that may not turn out to be true, teams that investigate unknown substances like this metal have to use extreme caution. Diving insurance helps cover interactions with unidentified substances.