Egypt was one of the earliest cultures to start keeping extensive records for future generations. Their monuments like the Great Pyramids of Giza remain to impress and awe us to this day. However, just because we have made many important finds throughout history doesn’t mean every last secret of ancient Egypt has been exhausted. In fact, in just the past few years, we have uncovered impressive finds which give us even more knowledge into the lives of the Egyptians of the past.
1. Iron From Meteorites
In the northern Egyptian city of Gerzeh in 1911, archaeologists found a tomb that contained nine beads that appeared to be made of iron. The only problem is that they were dated from 2,000 years before Egypt had the capability to smelt iron. Since then, historians have puzzled over where the ancient Egyptians either found iron or learned to create it so early in their history.
The Egyptian hieroglyphics for iron literally translate to “metal from heaven,” which gives a pretty good clue as to its origins. Because of the rarity of the metal, it was mainly associated with wealth and power. It was mainly crafted into jewelry and trinkets for royalty rather than weapons as it was later used.
In the 1980s, chemical analysis showed levels of nickel, a metal associated with meteorites, but levels were too low to confirm. Recently, however, tests have conclusively shown that the iron did indeed come from fallen meteorites which would explain why the metal appeared thousands of years before the Egyptians learned to smelt it.
Interestingly, this would also explain the mystery of King Tut’s dagger. Along with a gold blade, a mysterious dagger apparently made of iron was found at Tutankhamen’s side. Since King Tut died before iron was smelted, it was theorized that his dagger came from fallen meteorites. After testing, this theory was finally proven true.