The scientists studied the ore and the slag using chemical methods. Due to the ratio of certain forms of lead, the so-called isotopes, they assume that the rock comes from Spain. In the late Middle Ages, miners estimate the precious metal content of unknown ores by comparing them to galena, whose silver content they knew. Columbus, who wanted to find precious metals on his second trip to America, could have taken the galena pieces as reference material, the researchers suspect.
La Isabela is located on the north coast of today's Dominican Republic. The up to 1, 500 Spanish expatriates lived there more badly than right and abandoned the settlement only two years after its founding, when Christopher Columbus' brother Bartolomeo found at Santo Domingo on the south coast of the island of gold. Some of the last inhabitants of La Isabela tried desperately and apparently unknowingly to win silver from the ore brought from Spain. So the scientists explain the finding of the silver-containing slag that had accumulated when smelting the lead ore.Alyson Thibodeau (University of Arizona, Tucson) et al .: PNAS, Online Preliminary Publication, DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.0607297104 ddp / science.de? Fabio Bergamin ad