King Tut, or Tutankhamun, is perhaps the most recognizable of the Egyptian pharaohs, mostly because his tomb remained remarkably intact until it was discovered in 1922, and because of the media drama surrounding a supposed “mummy’s curse” that haunts those who have disturbed the tomb. Over the course of the last year, the media has been alive with coverage of the secret chambers found within Tut’s tomb. While progress on the chambers has been slowed, Tut seems to be unable to remove himself from the limelight. A recent discovery regarding his dagger surrounds the enigmatic pharaoh in deeper mystery.
The dagger was uncovered by archeologist Howard Carter in 1925, three years after he discovered King Tut’s tomb. The dagger was in the wrapping surrounding the right thigh of the boy king’s mummy. The knife has a decorated gold handle with a pommel of rock crystal, and the iron blade was protected with a gold sheath decorated with a pattern of lilies on one side, feathers on the other, and a jackal’s head.
The dagger dates back to the 14th century BC and is one of very few iron artifacts ever found from the ancient Egyptian culture. According to the Smithsonian, the Egyptians are not attributed with developing iron smelting until the 8th century BC.
The meteoric origin of the dagger was discovered using xray fluorescence spectrometry, which found that the blade contained an unusually high amount of nickel — a characteristic of meteorites. Artifacts produced with ordinary iron ore quarrying typically display a maximum of 4 percent nickel, however, Tut’s weapon contained nearly 11 percent nickel.
Another characteristic of iron meteorites is the presence of cobalt, which was also identified within the dagger’s blade. The high manufacturing quality of the dagger blade compared with other simple shaped meteoritic iron artifacts also “suggests a significant mastery of ironworking in Tutankhamun’s time.
Researchers also found that the metal’s high nickel content and levels of cobalt strongly suggest an “extraterrestrial origin.” Researchers say the iron used in the dagger was from a meteorite. They compared the composition of the metal to known meteorites within 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) around the Red Sea coast in Egypt and detected similar levels in one. The said meteorite was named Kharga and was discovered about 150 miles of Alexandria in Mersa Matruh.
King Tut’s dagger is not the only object whose material came from the sky. Researchers say that because ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron in producing precious objects, others like the dagger have been fashioned out of the cosmic material. One example is the small beads from Gerzeh, Egypt, which are likely made from meteoritic metal.
The discovery not only brings closure to a decades long debate about whether or not the dagger was made from a meteorite, but it also gives insight into the culture of the Ancient Egyptians. Aside from the obvious cool factor of owning a dagger made from a material from space, King Tut’s craftsmen appear to have realized that meteoritic iron was a longlasting and tough material.
About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and founded Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. Andrew is currently working to complete two manuscripts that explore several ancient mysteries. He lives in Denver with his family.