A recent study published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science has confirmed that King Tut’s dagger was made from materials found in a meteorite. The dagger was discovered in 1922 when famed Egyptologists Howard Carter and George Herbert discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
Tutankhamun ruled from 1332–1323 BC in a period known as the New Empire Period, when Tut banned the worship of the god Aten and restored the worship of the god Amun; his name literally means “Living image of Amun.” While Tut did not have the most significant impact on Egyptian history, his tomb has provided archaeologists with one of the most complete pictures of Egyptian burial rites and artifacts.
King Tut’s dagger was found along with other burial artifacts in Tut’s lavish tomb. Scientists used a technique known as X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to determine the exact molecular composition of the dagger, which, along with iron, was found to have around 11% Nickel and Cobalt. According to the team behind this announcement, the blade shows a high level of sophistication that suggests ancient Egyptian metalworkers had experience with the then-precious metal:
In agreement with recent results of metallographic analysis of ancient iron artifacts from Gerzeh, our study confirms that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects. Moreover, the high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun’s dagger blade, in comparison with other simple-shaped meteoritic iron artifacts, suggests a significant mastery of ironworking in Tutankhamun’s time.
During the reign of King Tut, Egyptian metalworkers could smelt ores with a lower melting point like tin and gold, but did not have the technology to smelt iron. Despite this, many other iron objects have been discovered in Egypt that pre-date the iron age, such as jewelry.
Archeologists have long suspected that many of these early iron objects were forged from extraterrestrial iron sourced from meteorites, since the advent of mining and smelting techniques developed much later. The ancient Egyptians used meteoritic iron so widely that they had their own name for it: “iron of the sky.”
The practice of making weapons from meteorites didn’t end with the Egyptians, however. Just this year, an American company released a pair of pistols made from meteoric iron.
Already, ancient alien theory supporters have taken to the blogosphere with conjectures on how this dagger announcement lends itself to their theory that King Tut was either an alien/human hybrid or an alien himself. Whether or not ancient astronauts helped the Egyptians build the pyramids, it’s now clear that they did have some help from the skies, at least in the form of free precious metals.