The dagger is stainless for thousands of years, but it is a visitor

  Tutankhamun was a pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. He lived in the 14th century BC. However, he became king at a young age and died prematurely due to a family genetic disease 10 years after he took power, so he did not make any achievements. But for the archaeological community of later generations, Tutankhamun’s tomb is simply an academic treasure trove. In 2016, Tutankhamun’s tomb was selected as one of the world’s top ten rare treasures of ancient tombs.
  In addition to the dazzling gold artifacts, an iron dagger in the tomb has attracted the attention of many scholars, because the iron used for the dagger seems to have come from meteorites and was rarely used during the Eighteenth Dynasty.
  Recently, a research team published a paper in the journal “Meteorology and Planetary Science”, in-depth analysis of the forging process of the dagger and how it fell into the hands of Tutankhamun.
  Pharaoh’s Daggers Across History
  In the 1920s, archaeological expeditions uncovered thousands of funerary artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb, including rare treasures such as gold masks and solid gold coffins, as well as thrones, bows, arrows, Trumpets, lotus cups and many other treasures.
  Afterwards, these artifacts began a long global traveling exhibition journey. By the 1960s and 1970s, relevant media coverage was overwhelming. Tutankhamun was even written into pop music, becoming an ancient Egyptian who “breaks the circle” like his stepmother, “the most beautiful woman in the world”, and the peerless queen Nefertiti…
  Tutankhamun’s tomb was unearthed Of the more than 5,000 artifacts in the museum, 19 are made of iron, including a dagger, a miniature headrest, a talisman and a set of blades that may have been used in special ceremonies. In addition, metal beads and other precious stones hang from the mummy’s neck and waist.
  In 2013, scientists analyzed one of the beads and found that its microstructure and composition were very similar to iron meteorites. They speculate that the meteorite was likely processed into flakes and then made into beads. Archaeologists believe that iron objects were a symbol of social status in ancient Egypt at that time.
  The researchers said that when it was first discovered, the dagger was wrapped around the right leg of the pharaoh mummy. The handle was decorated with gold, the round head was made of crystal, and the iron blade was protected by a gold scabbard. On one side are engraved feathers and the head of a jackal. It is amazing that the dagger remained in the tomb for more than 3,000 years without rusting! Although rust has a lot to do with the storage conditions, it is rare for an iron product to be preserved for such a long time. The high nickel content of the dagger has led scientists to believe that the iron used in its blade likely came from a meteorite. This was confirmed in 2016 when researchers analysed the blade composition using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, a non-destructive testing method, and showed that iron was the main component, along with 11% nickel and 0.6% cobalt – levels of this The nickel content is indeed comparable to meteorite iron. Be aware that artifacts made from common iron ore have never been higher than 4% nickel.
  Existing archaeological evidence can only date the emergence of ironmaking in ancient Egypt to the 6th century BC, but the earliest known example of the use of metallic iron in ancient Egypt dates back to the 34th century BC. The dagger is made by cold working – which involves cutting and polishing iron meteorites, hot working – where iron is melted at high temperatures and then cast, and forged after low temperature heating. However, the 2016 study gave no results on the type of iron meteorite or how the dagger was made.
  Ancient Meteorite, Today’s Treasure On the
  other hand , the origin of the dagger is also unresolved.
  The history of daggers can be traced back to the 14th century BC. In the ancient Egyptian culture at that time, iron tools were very rare. According to research, it was not until the 8th century BC that Egypt invented iron-making technology, which was later than the surrounding countries. “Because the melting point of iron is too high (1 538 ℃), early forgers could not heat it to such a high temperature to extract iron, let alone make it into weapons.” The researchers said that the early iron products were mainly ornamental And ceremonial, forged by hammer forging with meteorite iron, which is considered more precious than gold.
  Compared to other crudely crafted iron artifacts unearthed from Tutankhamun’s tomb, the dagger is so well-crafted that it was used as a royal gift – a letter from the Egyptian Royal Archives mentions a list of gifts that includes A dagger with a gold hilt inlaid with lapis lazuli and an iron blade. The gifts on the list came from the kingdom of Mitanni on the plains of Mesopotamia, a “dowry” given by the country’s king when Princess Mitanni married Amenhotep III (Tutankhamun’s grandfather). “.
  X-ray cracks the mystery of the dagger The author of the
  latest research paper, Takafumi Matsui from Japan’s Kanye University of Technology, and others hope to solve the problems of the type of meteorite iron, the production process of the dagger and its origin with the help of the Cultural Relics Protection Center of the Grand Egypt Museum.
  In February 2020, they visited the Cairo Museum.
  Matsui and colleagues took high-resolution optical images of the dagger. They also measured the elemental abundances of the dagger, gold hilt, and gold sheath using a portable scanning X-ray fluorometer. They also investigated the concentrations of iron, nickel, cobalt, and manganese on the dagger. Content distribution. In addition, they did not miss the sulfur, chlorine, calcium, and zinc in the black spots on the dagger. After some research, Matsui et al. got quite interesting results, among which the results on element distribution are the most attractive.
  They saw a distinct cross-hatched texture on the dagger, called the Weidmann pattern (named after the Austrian mineralogist Weidmann), typical of octahedral iron meteorites, the most common type of iron meteorite. This was confirmed when they compared the texture on the dagger to the same type of Japanese meteorite.
  On the other hand, the black specks of iron sulfide were identified as inclusions (or “inclusions”) of the octahedral iron. According to the research team, the black spots and Weidmann patterns contained low levels of sulfur, strong evidence that Tutankhamun’s dagger was forged at a relatively low temperature of less than 950°C.
  As for the source of the dagger – as mentioned earlier, it was a wedding gift from the Kingdom of Mitanni, and the research team found that the lime mud on the gemstone embedded in the gold handle was a commonly used material in the Mitanni area at that time, and Egypt at the same time People use gypsum mud more often. In view of this, the researchers deduce that the 3,000-year-old meteorite iron dagger originated in Mesopotamia.

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