New research has identified the material that King Tut’s intricate dagger was made from and it is out of this world. The Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun was buried with a gold-sheathed dagger placed beside his right thigh. The dagger was exceptionally well-preserved as it was placed inside of the king’s sarcophagus and remained untouched for thousands of years. However, researchers say that the dagger isn’t made of any ordinary material. In fact, it isn’t made of any material created here on earth.
The Daily Mail reports that researchers have discovered that the dagger found inside of King Tut’s tomb was made of a meteorite. The Egyptians were reportedly making items out of meteorites since at least 3,200 BC as scientists discovered beads made of the unusual material in a recently uncovered tomb in Gerzeh. The researchers note that it appears that the Egyptians were aware that the iron from meteors was different and that it came from “the sky.” It was noted that in ancient Egyptian text from 1,300 BC there are references to “iron of the sky.” While the text remained somewhat meaningless until recent studies suggested that some highly prized items buried with Egyptian royalty were made from meteorite material.
“The introduction of the new composite term [iron of the sky] suggests the ancient Egyptians, in the wake of other ancient people of the Mediterranean area, were aware that these rare chunks of iron fell from the sky already in the 13th century BC, anticipating Western culture by more than two millennia.”
King Tut was buried with a dagger made of an iron that literally came from space >> https://t.co/uk5LGyjche
— Discovery (@Discovery) May 31, 2016
King Tut’s dagger is an exceptional piece of meteorite craftsmanship as it was intricately detailed. The 13-inch blade was fashioned from the meteorite iron and was sheathed in gold. The handle of the dagger also had gold detailing. Even prior to the discovery that the dagger was made from space material, the dagger was considered one of the most highly valued items in the collection obtained from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The dagger was determined to be other worldly by researchers at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Milan Polytechnic and Pisa University. The researchers used x-ray scanning technologies to determine the composite materials of the dagger. They found that the composite matched that of a meteorite, more specifically that of the meteorite named Kharga.
“The meteorite, found in the Kharga Oasis region, is the only possible meteorite that could have the amount of nickel and cobalt to stay consistent with the amount in the blade.”
Kharga was discovered in the Maras Matruh plateau in Egypt in 2000 and the dagger material matched this meteorite exactly. The scientists working on the project noted that while there have been other artifacts found containing meteorite material, King Tut’s dagger is the most exquisitely crafted of them all.
“Moreover, the high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun’s dagger blade, in comparison with other simple-shaped meteoritic iron artifacts, suggests a significant mastery of iron-working in Ttankhamun’s time.”
— Astronomy Magazine (@AstronomyMag) June 1, 2016
What do you think about the ancient Egyptians having such a vast understanding of meteorites during the time of Tutankhamun? Did you know that ancient Egyptians fashioned items out of meteorites on purpose?
[Image by Amr Nabil/AP Photo]