There has always been an air of mystery and intrigue surrounding King Tut – ever since his tomb was first discovered in the Valley of the Kings back in 1922. King Tut’s legacy is quite an interesting one. He was “the boy king,” ascending to power as the ruler of Egypt when he was barely 8 or 9 years old. Tutankhamun’s rule itself was not noteworthy, but it was in death when King Tut became a legend.
The young pharaoh ruled Egypt for 9 years before he died. His tomb remained undisturbed until it was discovered by archaeologists in the 1920s. Besides finding an amazing amount of wealth that hadn’t been robbed throughout the years, the discovery gave rise to the legend of the curse.
But these weren’t the only things of notoriety and intrigue that were brought to light when his tomb was unearthed. Perhaps one of the most intriguing finds in his tomb was the dagger that was uncovered during a 1925 excavation of his tomb. The dagger itself measures just over a foot long, with the iron blade being set inside a gold handle. While it’s particularly cool-looking, the real kicker is its origin. Through x-ray analysis, it was calculated that the blade of the dagger was a mix of nickel and cobalt, meaning that it was most likely from an iron meteorite.
Since the 1960s, the dagger has been studied and it’s believed that the blade came from an iron meteorite, something that is a big deal since iron smelting back in ancient times was very rare. This made iron actually rarer and more valuable than gold. In fact, iron objects were rarely used for anything other than ornamental or ceremonial purposes. The dagger is so decorative as compared to the other iron objects found in his tomb, that many scholars believe the iron was a gift.
Back in 2016, researchers published a study which determined that the source of the iron most likely came from space-age substances. Using the ground-breaking technology that is x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, they were able to confirm the dagger’s composition. Once that was determined, they used historical records of meteorite sites within the range of Tutankhamun’s empire in order to determine which specific meteorite was used.
After doing their due diligence in research, the list was narrowed down to just 20 sites. After further analysis of the dagger’s make-up, it was presumed that the dagger’s blade came from the Kharga meteorite, which was first discovered in the year 2000 on a limestone plateau which was in a seaport just west of the city of Alexandria.
Back in the day, the ancient Egyptians would follow the fall of meteorites and travel all that distance in order to recover the precious metal. It’s such an incredible insight into life during that era.
What do you think of King Tut’s dagger? What are your thoughts on ancient Egyptian societies? Let us know!