The dagger’s composition “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin.”
A dagger buried in the wrappings of King Tutankhamun was made from iron mined from a meteorite, according to a new study published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.
Archaeologist Howard Carter found the dagger — which features a gold handle with a pommel of rock crystal and is housed in a gold sheath — in 1925, shortly after his discovery of the spectacular tomb of King Tut.
After conducting non-destructive X-ray fluorescence analysis on the blade, which identifies elements from the colors of X-ray light they give off when hit with higher-energy X-rays, the researchers concluded that its composition of cobalt and nickel “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin.”
The chemical composition was deemed to be similar to that of an iron meteorite that was found in Egypt 16 years ago. The meteorite, nicknamed Kharga, fell thousands of years ago near the port of Alexandria
The fall of meteorites was perceived as a divine message in many ancient cultures, the study authors explain.
During the 19th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, around 1295 BCE, a new hieroglyphic word appeared that translates as “iron from the sky.” A major impact event or shower of meteors might have sparked the sudden emergence of the word, which was later applied to all metallic iron.
The authors write that their finding “confirms that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects.”
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