3500 year old bronze hand excavated, may have been ‘Bronze age ‘cyborg’

Credit: Copyright Philippe Joner/Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern

A 3500 year old bronze hand decorated with a gold cuff is excavated in Switzerland, which some speculate may be the earliest known metal prosthesis.

The hand was manufactured during the bronze age, dating between 1400 and 1500 B. C., according to National Geographic.

At the bottom of the hand is an outlet, an indication that it is either used to fit over something, such as holding a statue or scepter or even used as a prosthesis, according to Andrea Schaer, head of the Ancient History and Roman Archaeology Section of the Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern, who spoke to National Geographic.


“We had never seen anything like it,” Schaer told the website. “We were not sure whether it’s real or not — or even what it was.”

What makes this so remarkable is that there is “never a similar picture from the bronze age in Central Europe”, making it “a unique and remarkable object.”

(Credit: Copyright Philippe Joner/Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern)

The hand is on display from Sept. 18 Oct. 14, 2018 at the NMB Nouveau Musée Bienne.

The discovery was made in the vicinity of the Lake of Biel in October 2017. Included in the search were a bronze dagger and a rib bone, which were handed over to the Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern.

“Carbon dating 14 determined that the bronze hand dating from 1500 to 1400 BCE,” a Google Translate version of the statement reads.

The statement continues: “These two data, located in the Middle of the bronze age, are in conformity with the dagger knife. The first analysis done on the metal that can be used to hand confirm that they are alloys current at this time.”


A broken finger was also found at the site, giving further evidence that the hand was buried.

In addition to the above findings, Schafer and her colleagues found in a damaged grave in the near Prêles, which included the bones of an adult male, a bronze fibula, a spiral-shaped her bronze ornament and small pieces of gold plate, LiveScience reports.

The archaeologists also found a stone structure built and the owner of the bronze hand was placed over the structure on the target, the experts say. “He must have a high ranking character,” the archaeologists said.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular