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Study confirms King Tutankhamun’s dagger was made from meteorite

Posted by Naphtali Bowen on

AN EGYPTIAN dagger found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb was made with iron from a meteorite, a study has confirmed.

Using a hi-tech X-ray, the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy found the famous dagger contained 10 per cent nickel and 0.6 per cent cobalt.

A comparison with 11 metallic meteorites found they were made of similar elements.

The dagger dates back to the 14th century BC and was found in the wrapping surrounding the right thigh of King Tut’s mummy. It features a decorated gold handle with a rounded knob of rock crystal. It was encased in a gold sheath that was decorated with a pattern of lilies, feathers and a jackal’s head.

Another separate gold blade was found under King Tut’s wrapping on the abdomen.

The king's two daggers, one with a blade of gold, the other of iron.

The king's two daggers, one with a blade of gold, the other of iron.Source:AFP

 

The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his burial chamber. Picture: Khaled Desouki

Iron objects were rare and considered more valuable than gold during the Bronze Age and were mostly decorative. This may have been because Egyptians found iron difficult to work with as the metal requires a very high heat to forge.
Archaeologist Howard Carter found King Tut’s tomb in 1922 and it was long suspected that the iron blade was made from a meteorite but previous analysis has been controversial. The use of a portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry to identify its elements now confirms the theory.
The researchers said the finding provided insight into the Egyptian’s use of the term “iron of the sky”.
“The introduction of the new composite term suggests that the ancient Egyptians … were aware that these rare chunks of iron fell from the sky already in the 13th C. BCE,” the authors wrote.

The findings were published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

The sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun displayed in his burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, close to Luxor, 500km south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Picture: Khaled Desouki

The sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun displayed in his burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, close to Luxor, 500km south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Picture: Khaled DesoukiSource:AFP

 

 


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