Scientists: King Tut’s dagger was made of meteorite

CCTV News

In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File) In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Scientists have discovered that the iron dagger blade found in the sarcophagus of ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun (14th Century BC) most likely originated from a meteor.

The iron dagger of King Tutankhamun. Color picture of the iron dagger (Carter no. 256K, JE 61585) with its gold sheath. The full length of the dagger is 34.2 cm. (The meteoritic origin of Tutankhamun's iron dagger blade. Meteoritics & Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12664)

The meteoric dagger. (Meteoritics & Planetary Science)

In a paper published last month in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science the authors tested the blade using portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry and found that it “strongly supports meteoritic origin.”

“Our study confirms that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects,” the paper said.

Their findings comply with recent analysis of ancient iron artifacts from Gerzeh, an Egyptian cemetery on the west bank of the Nile.

“The sporadic use of iron has been reported in the Eastern Mediterranean area from the late Neolithic period to the Bronze Age. Despite the rare existence of smelted iron, it is generally assumed that early iron objects were produced from meteoritic iron,” the authors wrote.

The high-quality of Tutankhamun’s blade compared to other iron artifacts also found to be from meteorites shows “a significant mastery of ironworking in Tutankhamun’s time” the study said.

In related news, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Enany said earlier this month that his ministry will continue with its research and scans of Tutankhamen’s tomb, linked to a theory that secret burial chambers could be hidden behind its walls.

At a recent conference in Cairo dedicated to King Tutankhamun, archeologists clashed over the theory of the secret burial chambers.

Speaking at the conference, former antiquities minister and famed Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawas rejected the theory that the undiscovered area lies behind the Tutankhamun’s tomb and likely contains the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, one of pharaonic Egypt’s most famous figures.

The mummy of King Tutankhamun. Black and white picture of Tutankhamun mummy showing the iron dagger (34.2 cm long) placed on the right thigh (arrowed). (Griffith Institute, University of Oxford)

The mummy of King Tutankhamun. Black and white picture of Tutankhamun mummy showing the iron dagger (34.2 cm long) placed on the right thigh (arrowed). (Griffith Institute, University of Oxford)

The theory, put forward last year by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, has prompted the new exploration and the tomb has been extensively scanned by radar.

A 269-pound iron meteorite that came from more than 30 tons of meteorites found at the Barrington Meteor Crater in Arizona. It is 92 percent iron and 7 percent nickel. (Photo by Taty2007)

A 269-pound iron meteorite that came from more than 30 tons of meteorites found at the Barrington Meteor Crater in Arizona. It is 92 percent iron and 7 percent nickel. (Photo by Taty2007)

Story by CCTV America and the Associated Press.

Photos: Treasures found in Egypt

Mideast EgyptMideast Egypt
One of Egypt's famed King Tutankhamun's golden sarcophagus is displayed at his tomb in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Mideast Egypt AntiquitiesMideast Egypt Antiquities
FILE -- In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, the tomb of King Tut is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, Tuesday. On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun's tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
Mideast Egypt AntiquitiesMideast Egypt Antiquities
FILE -- In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun's tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Egypt AntiquitiesEgypt Antiquities
FILE - In a Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 file photo, a tourist takes photos of inscriptions on the walls of King Merenptah's tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. Egypt says there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun's tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum. Speaking at a press conference in Luxor on Saturday, Nov. 28, Mamdouh el-Damaty said the results will be sent to Japan for a month-long analysis before the search is resumed. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
Mideast EgyptMideast Egypt
The mummy of King Tutankhamun's is displayed at his tomb in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Mideast Egypt AntiquitiesMideast Egypt Antiquities
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2014 file photo, a 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti is displayed at the New Museum in Berlin, Germany. Egypt’s antiquities ministry said on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 exploration has begun inside King Tutankhamun’s 3,300 year-old tomb, in the search for alleged hidden chambers, one of which may include Queen Nefertiti, according to a new theory. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
Mideast Egypt AntiquitiesMideast Egypt Antiquities
FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, file photo, the gold mask of King Tutankhamun is seen in its glass case during a press tour, in the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s antiquities ministry said on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 that exploration has begun inside King Tutankhamun’s 3,300 year-old tomb, in the search for alleged hidden chambers, one of which may include Queen Nefertiti, according to a new theory. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

The funerary mask of pharaoh Psusennes I on display at the "Pharaon, Homme, Roi, Dieu" exhibition in the Museum of Fine Arts of Valenciennes, France (Wikimedia photo by Larazoni)

Gold earrings bearing the cartouche of pharaoh Seti II (Sethos II) found in tomb KV56 in 1908 by an expedition funded by Theodore M. Davis. It is now located in the Cairo Museum. (Photo by Hans Ollermann on Flickr)

Egyptian Ring Bezel: A scarab carved of light brown steatite with a thick gold rim around the bottom edge. A lip of gold, pressed around the scarab to hold it in place, is drawn out to form hoop-sockets. Carved into the back of the scarab is a beetle with outstretched legs under a disk. (Wikimedia public domain photo)

An ancient gold bowl made of solid gold taken from the tombs of an Egyptian Pharoh and now found in the British Museum. When Pharohs were entombed valuable objects that they may need in the After-life were buried with them and gold was often chosen for its perpetual protection against corrosion. (Wikimedia public domain photo)

Egyptian Artifacts at the British Museum (Photo by David Woo on Flicker)

Tourists visit the temple at Luxor, Egypt, at sunset. Sphinxes line both sides of the road approaching Luxor Temple. The road originally extended all the way between Karnak and Luxor temples. (Photo by Rick Collier on Flickr)

This elaborately carved oil container has it's own stand. The flanking openwork design symbolizes the unification of the two lands, Upper and Lower Egypt. Papyri, representing the north emerge from lilies, representing the south. (Photo by Tjflex2 on Flicker)

Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Tomb of Tutankhamun. (Photo by Tjflex2 on Flickr)

Archaeological survey of Egypt memoir (Wikimedia public domain photo)

(Wikimedia public domain photo)

Pendant, about 700 BC, Late Period, Dynasty 25, amethyst and gold. (Wikimedia photo by Daderot)

God Amun, a fragmant of a coronation statuary group. (Wikimedia public domain photo)