New review article: Chiemgau meteorite impact event

People experienced the prehistoric Chiemgau meteorite impact – geoarchaelogical evidence from southeastern Germany: a review

Barbara Rappenglück, Michael Hiltl, Jens Poßekel, Michael Rappenglück, Kord Ernstson

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 23, No. 1, 209-234, 2023. (full article free open access)

Abstract. – Archaeological sites undoubtedly destroyed by a meteorite impact had not been identified so far. For such a proof, both a meteorite impact and its definite effects on an archaeological site would have to be evidenced. This review article reports on geoarchaeological investigations, involving mineralogy, petrography, and geophysics, which established evidence that two prehistoric human settlements have been affected by the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (ca. 900-600 BC) Chiemgau meteorite impact in southeastern Germany. One site, the Mühlbach area, was affected by the ejecta from the 600 m Ø-Tüttensee crater, one of the largest craters in a crater strewn field measuring about 60 x 30 km. At the other site, Stöttham close to Lake Chiemsee, the catastrophic layer of the impact was found embedded in the archaeological stratigraphy of a settlement, which had been repeatedly occupied from the Neolithic to the Roman era. At both sites, artifacts have become components of impact rocks, establishing a hitherto unknown form of an impact rock, an artifact-in-impactite. The immediate coexistence of rocks, which exhibit impact-diagnostic shock metamorphism, with relicts of metallic artifacts, as encountered in finds from Stöttham, are unprecedented evidence of human experience of a meteorite impact.