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Prambanan   contributed by Steve Brittenham, IMCA 2184   MetBul Link

Roll Overs:     #1   #2   #3    

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View all entries for   Meteorite (2)   Contributor (94)

Copyright (c) Steve Brittenham.
  Iron, ungrouped

TKW 500 kg. Fall not observed. Found 1797, Indonesia.


Steve writes:
These small meteorite spear points - the longest measures 125 mm - were fashioned by the indigenous native jungle inhabitants of Indonesia circa the 1880's to 1900's (presumably from the Prambanan meteorite, as the only other native iron is the 1981 Lovina beach find that is no longer thought to be extraterrestrial). They came from the old privately owned Somers Mountain Indian Museum in Connecticut many years ago. The museum was operated from the late 1930s through the mid-1970s by Mr. James F. King. Mr. King traveled both domestically and internationally to personally acquire many of the specimens for his museum. Permanent exhibits centered on Native American artifacts, though there were also other exhibits related to primitive technologies that included one with these spear points.

Back in the 1960s Mr. King decided that he wanted to focus the collection on stone artifacts, and these metal Indonesian points consequently didn't fit in. Needing some landscaping for his museum property, Mr. King decided to trade the spear points to Emil A. 'Tex' Mulnite of Windsorville, Connecticut, a nurseryman with 200 acres of shrubs and trees. The points remained in Mr. Mulnite's collection of Indian relics until February 2015, when he passed away after willing it to his lifelong friend Chet Mulka who subsequently sold them to me.

Eventually Mr. King gave a young couple the museum and all of the property with the intention of them continuing to run it. But unfortunately they sold many of the best relics, and after a time it closed and the house and land were put up for sale.

Photo 1 shows the five points. Three have not aged well, but Photos 2 and 3 show enlargements of the outer two that still show the obvious signs of folding employed during their creation (see below).

Some History of the Prambanan Meteorite
The Prambanan meteorite is insufficiently known from a 250 gram sample sent to the Netherlands from Soerakarta, Java in 1865. This piece was hot-chiseled from the original approximately one meter main mass which, while known before 1797, was moved to the Kraton of Soesoehoenan (the sultan's Imperial palace) in that year. The meteorite was preserved there to serve as a source of metal for particularly good weapons and tools: they would heat the main mass until it was red hot - approximately 900 C - then chisel off a piece that was then forged into a bar from which smaller pieces were subsequently removed and forged flat. These flat pieces were compounded with flat strips of other metals (usually iron or steel) and bent edgewise into a compact, serpent-like form. In the case of blades or points, after further sandwiching and final forging, the material was taper ground to expose sections of the various layers and then etched in fruit acids. Worked pieces were occasionally gifted to dignitaries - as an example, five beautifully finished kris (curved daggers) were given to the Emperor of Austria in 1907, of which four are still in Vienna's Ethnographical Collection. In addition, several hot-chiseled fragments appear in collections at Budapest, Vienna, Greifswald, Hamburg, Strasbourg, Chicago, London, Bonn, Stockholm, Washington, Berlin, and Paris. Unfortunately, since all have been artificially heated and no untreated pieces are known, the original characteristics of this meteorite cannot be completely assessed. Still, analysis suggests high nickel content consistent with a finest octahedrite.
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Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Found at the arrow (green or red) on the map below


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This Month

Ben Fisler
 8/17/2017 12:21:19 PM
Thanks Steve, very cool photos and story.
John Kashuba
 8/17/2017 11:42:08 AM
What evidence is there that these are meteoritic?
Michael Hofmann
 8/17/2017 3:10:57 AM
Cool stuff! Thanks for sharing...
Adri*n Contreras G*mez
 8/17/2017 1:46:25 AM
Mendy Ouzillou
 8/17/2017 12:34:28 AM
These are absolute treasures! Love the great history and background you provided. So very cool.

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