The bronze hand and its thin gold cuff, along with a bronze dagger and a human rib bone, were discovered by the metal detectorists near Lake Biel in the Bernese Jura, about 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bern, Switzerland, according to a Canton de Bern press release. The items were handed over to specialists at the Ancient History and Roman Archeology Department in the Bern Archaeological Service one day after the discovery.
The hand of Prêles, as it’s now called, is slightly smaller than an adult hand and was cast from about a pound of bronze, according to National Geographic. Radiocarbon dating of the organic, vegetable-based glue used to adhere the gold band to the hand’s wrist places the artifact to between 1,400 and 1,500 BC, back during Europe’s Middle Bronze Age. The archaeologists studying the hand, a team led by Andrea Schae, say it’s doubtful the hand was worn; a socket inside the hand suggests it was mounted on a staff of some kind.
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