The Danebury Iron Age meteorite—An H5 ordinary chondrite “find” from Hampshire, England

Pillinger, C. T.; Pillinger, J. M.; Johnson, D.; Greenwood, R. C.; Tindle, A. G.; Jull, A. J. T.; Allen, D. H. and Cunliffe, B. (2014). The Danebury Iron Age meteorite—An H5 ordinary chondrite “find” from Hampshire, England. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 49(6) pp. 946–957.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.12301

Abstract

What remains of a 30 g sample, first recognized as a meteorite in 1989 during characterization of metalworking debris from Danebury, an Iron Age hillfort, in Hampshire, England, has been classified as an H5 ordinary chondrite. Its arrival on Earth has been dated as 2350 ± 120 yr BP, making it contemporary with the period of maximum human activity at the recovery site. Despite its considerable terrestrial residence age, the interior of the specimen is remarkably fresh with a weathering index of W1/2. There is, however, no evidence of human intervention in its preservation. Its near-pristine state is explained in terms of its serendipitous burial during the back-fill of a pit dug into chalk by prehistoric people for the storage of grain. This chance discovery has interesting ramifications for the survival of meteorites in areas having a high pH because of a natural lime content arising as a result of the local geology.

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