An iron dagger found with King Tutankhamen was fashioned from a meteorite. New research using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry identified the knife was likely made of metals of extraterrestrial origin.
Scientists from Italy and the Egyptian Museum said the dagger was forged using iron, nickel, and cobalt matching the signature of 11 other meteorites in a database, indicating a possible otherworldly connection. The metallurgic makeup of the dagger specifically resembles the nickel and cobalt found in a meteorite named Kharga discovered in Egypt 16 years ago.
"We suggest that ancient Egyptian attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of fine ornamental or ceremonial objects," the study authors wrote in an article published in Meteoritic & Planetary #Science.
A treasure greater than gold
During the Bronze Age, iron objects were considered more valuable than gold and often used for decoration. Experts believe this is because iron requires a very high heat to forge and early Egyptians found the metal difficult to mold.
The discovery provides a possible explanation of a 13th Century BCE hieroglyph that translates to “iron of the sky,” suggesting the early Egyptians knew what they were working with. According to the researchers, other Egyptian artifacts are likely meteoric as they rarely used smelted iron.
King Tut still has secrets
King Tut’s tomb was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. The Pharaoh began ruling Egypt when he was only nine-years-old, but the reign abruptly ended 10 years later when he died at age 19. Also found in the tomb was a scarab necklace that researchers think was created using glass made when a falling meteor strikes the Earth and melts the sand. Other objects are being studied using the same X-ray technology to determine if they too were created from a space rock.
The iron blade found nearly a century ago with the mummified king was long been suspected of being made from a meteorite, but earlier examinations proposing this idea have been rebuked. King Tutankhamen’s celestial dagger is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. #News #Middle East