3,000-year-old tin ingots from Cornwall or Devon found off Israeli coast

3,000-year-old tin ingots from Cornwall or Devon found off Israeli coast

Israeli envoy Mark Regev jokes that the discovery shows how 'UK-Israel trade goes back further' than he or the Trade Secretary Liz Truss

Tel Aviv's coast
Tel Aviv's coast

German archaeologists working off the Israeli coast say they have found 3,000-year old tin ingots from Cornwall or Devon.

Chemical and isotropic analysis of the 23 Bronze Age ingots found during explorations of ancient shipwrecks shows how far traders went to bring tin to the Middle East, where it was used for swords and armour.

During that period the eastern Mediterranean Sea routes were dominated by Greeks and Phoenicians, and similar ingots have been found near southern Turkey of Cyprus, but the tin was always assumed to have come from Asia.

Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev tweeted: “With the discovery 3,000 year old Cornish tin in Israel, it appears [UK-Israel] trade goes back further than I or Trade Secretary Liz Truss knew!”

Writing in scientific journal Plos One, researchers from the Curt Engelhorn Archaeometry Centre in Mannheim said: “It is no accident that the shift in the tin trade from the Near East to Europe and Cornwall in particular… corresponds to the demise of the Minoans and the rise of the Mycenaeans circa 1430 BC.”

Unlike the Minoans, they said, the Mycenaeans sailed west and established trading ports in southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia and Spain, which served as gateways to new trading routes to Britain and Europe.

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