Quote:Orichalcum or aurichalcum is a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, including a story of Atlantis in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato. According to Critias, orichalcum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of Atlantis in ancient times. By the time of Critias, however, it was known only by name. In numismatics, orichalcum is the golden-colored bronze alloy used for the sestertius and dupondius coins. In many sources of pop culture, such as novels and video games, orichalcum is presented as a valuable ore that can be mined and crafted into powerful armor and weapons.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orichalcum
Quote:Today most scholars agree orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity by cementation. This process was achieved with the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.http://news.discovery.com/history/archae...gn=rssnws1
Analyzed with X-ray fluorescence by Dario Panetta, of TQ - Tecnologies for Quality, the 39 ingots turned to be an alloy made with 75-80 percent copper, 15-20 percent zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron.
"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," Tusa said.
The 39 ingots recovered from the wreck were indeed destined to these workshops and were used in high quality decorations.
The article goes on to detail an interesting (and fringe-y) theory by Enrico Mattievich, a retired Brazilian physics professor and author who believes the material recovered is not orichalcum and further, that orichalcum originated in the Peruvian Andes with the Chavin culture and that Greeks had reached the Americas sometime before 200 BC.
I found the below picture of the ingots in this Spanish language article on Blasting News. http://es.blastingnews.com/ocio-cultura/...19505.html