Friday 28 July 2017

Knife found in Tutankhamun tomb was out of this world

The solid gold death mask of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun at the British Museum
The solid gold death mask of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun at the British Museum

Raf Sanchez

Ever since its discovery, wrapped in the folds of Tutankhamun's mummy in 1925, an ancient Egyptian dagger has puzzled historians.

They were unable to determine how craftsmen of the time had made an iron blade of such quality that it survived more than 3,000 years inside a sarcophagus without turning to rust.

Scientists have now reached a surprising answer: the dagger was forged from the metal of a meteorite.

Researchers using X-rays discovered high amounts of nickel and a similar make-up to the iron found in crashed meteorites.

"The blade's high nickel content... strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin," the scientists concluded.

Iron was rare in ancient Egypt - much rarer than gold - and Mediterranean civilisations only began skilled forging of iron tools a thousand years after Tutankhamun's death.

The findings suggest ancient Egyptians knew how to work with iron even if they were unable to make it, and placed great value on what they could obtain from meteorites. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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