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The aiud artifact: 250,000 years old piece of machinery found in a fossilized bone

Discovered in the summer of 1973, this thing has baffled both believers and skeptics for over 40 years. It’s called the Aiud Artifact, a metal object whose existence is a contradiction to traditional knowledge and beliefs.

Workers at a sand quarry on the banks of the River Mures, near the Romanian city of Aiud were the first to recognize the strange wedge-shaped object. Digging at a depth of 33 feet (10 meters), the workers accidentally uncovered a deposit of fossilized bones and a specialist was called on site.

Having determined that two of the items were fossilized mastodon bones, the consultant catalogued the enigmatic object as a stone axe head that was probably used by ancient men to hunt the mastodons. The findings were sent to the Museum of Transylvanian History in Cluj, where the unique item caught archaeologists’ eyes.

After carefully scraping off the layer of hardened sand which encapsulated the artifact, they were amazed to find an evidently artificial object cast out of a light metal. It quickly became obvious that the artifact was an anomaly.

The mastodon fossils were at least 10,000 years old but the metallic wedge showed signs that it was produced with modern equipment. It measured 8 x 5 x 3 inches and weighed approximately 5 pounds. Its shape was a clear indicator that it was once part of a larger assembly and many investigators have pointed out that it resembles the foot of an aircraft’s landing gear.

Mastodons walked the earth for over 34 million years until disappearing some 11,000 years ago. How can a flying craft be present on our planet such a long time ago and even end up losing one of its parts?

Hoping to solve this mystery, Romanian researchers sent samples from the object to the Radioactive Metal Research and Development Center in Baia Mare. Analysis showed the wedge was made from an alloy consisting of 80% aluminium and 11 other elements. Another sample was sent to a research institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, but the results came back the same.

But aluminium was a rather novel item. First discovered in 1825, it entered industrial production at the end of the 19th century. This light metal cannot be found in nature in its pure form and is present only as salts and oxides.

What was an aluminium object doing then in a pile of fossilized bones that could be millions of years old?

The fact that this question remained unanswered meant this inconvenient item spent its next twenty years hidden away in a museum storage room. In 1995, editors of a Romanian UFO magazine called RUFOR heard about the existence of this out of place artifact and requested a new set of tests. Chemical analysis found the same compounds as the the ones performed in the 1970s. There was no doubt about the object’s artificial origin.

This time, investigators focused on a clue that had been ignored by the previous team: the layer of aluminium oxide that covered the artifact. Aluminium does not corrode easily but the oxide layer on this object was as thick as 3 millimeters. Experts at the research center believed this was a sign that the object far predated the discovery of aluminium.

While no definitive age has been established, some went as far as calling the aluminium wedge of Aiud a 250,000 year-old piece of machinery.

 

Their statement was, in part, supported by another discovery. Using an electron microscope, researchers examined the internal structure of the aluminium alloy and found that the lattice structure itself seemed ‘aged’ and the ‘alloyed elements appeared to return to their own structures.’

We have no idea how a quarter of a million year-old piece of aluminum alloy is supposed to behave or how it’s supposed to look. But the Aluminum Wedge discovered near Aiud fits the profile quite well,” said George Cohal, one of the researchers who examined the artifact.

It’s the strangest thing I’ve seen in my entire life,” he added.

The Aluminium Wedge has yet to be explained by science. But unlike most other artifacts of this kind, it still exists and is on exhibit at the same museum in Transylvania. If it doesn’t disappear soon, it will probably continue to raise questions for years to come.