Fun Finds Friday: Advanced Discoveries from King Tut’s Tomb

[dot_recommends] February 25, 2022 Manufacturing Trends

100 Years After the Tomb Was Discovered, Advanced Engineering Is Supporting New Understanding

Nearly 100 years after the opening of King Tut’s tomb, scientists continue to discover new knowledge about items found there. Through advanced, non-invasive engineering, researchers recently confirmed that the iron dagger found in King Tut’s tomb was forged from a meteorite.

When Iron Was Rarer Than Gold

Iron was rarely used in Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. In King Tut’s time, the iron that he wore and carried might have had more value than gold.

In case you’re not into Egyptology, let me remind you of a few facts:

  • King Tutankhamen (a.k.a. King Tut) was a child pharaoh.
  • His reign was not that important in the scheme of history.
  • Then, in 1922, the discovery of his tomb full of treasures in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt led to his fame.

How Do Scientists Know It’s Meteorite Iron?

Iron from a meteorite has distinct element signatures that enabled the researchers to confirm the iron came from outer space.

Shown above, researchers mapped the distribution of nickel, sulfur, and chlorine elements on one side of King Tut’s iron dagger using portable XRF spectroscopy.

Three Key Discoveries:

  • The distribution of elements did not match Earth.
  • The cross-hatched structure is typical of octahedrite meteorites.
  • The expert-made dagger had been made using a low-temperature method not practiced in Egypt at that time. 

How Did the Dagger End Up in King Tut’s Tomb?

Once researchers realized the method used to forge the dagger, the next question they had was where did the knife come from?

Some historic letters revealed the answer. It seems that King Tut’s grandfather received the knife as a gift from the family of his Mitanni bride. 

So now you know the amazing story of a humble iron dagger. Read more at Arts Technica.

Also, we invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn or Tweet us. We’re always happy to talk.

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Image source: Dagger image by T. Matsui, 2022. King Tut’s mask image by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images



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