The Real Extraterrestrial Artifact In Tut's Tomb
We told readers to imagine they woke up in ancient Egypt, asking them the first thing they'd do. "Walk like an Egyptian," said Kerry L, which makes sense, since blending in is wise. "I'd wake up in the Nile about it," said John U. "Invest in Bitcoin," said Jonathan L., probably because it's a pyramid scheme.
Quite a few readers, like Parker H. and Patrick W., simply said, "Cleopatra." Though, ancient Egypt spanned a period of thousands of years, so your chance of running into Cleopatra would be slim. If you do find her, she might not be into you, unless you're a powerful leader or a blood relative (Cleopatra married two of her brothers). You also might not be into her. Portraits of her show her looking a bit different from the beauty of legend, to the point that some historians wonder if these portraits were manipulated to make her look like Mark Antony.
"Talk to the aliens building the pyramids," was the answer we got from reader Sal C., as well as Debbie N., Alex C., Angus R., and others. They were joking, but a fair number of people claim to really believe that aliens built all ancient architecture, unable to understand that anyone that far in the past could manage something so difficult. Few of those people are probably reading this, so we're not going to waste your time debunking that theory. Instead we're going to let you know that some stuff in ancient Egypt really did have extraterrestrial origins.
King Tut's tomb contained two daggers, one gold and one iron. Though the gold one sounds more impressive, at the time (around 1300 BC), iron was actually rarer than gold. People can find gold in its raw elemental form, so it was one of the first pure metals humans got their hands on. Iron, on the other hand, is locked into iron oxide when you mine it. You have to smelt it to extract the iron, and in the time of King Tut, humans appear not to have developed iron smelting. "Bronze Age" and "Iron Age" sound like ways of dividing up prehistory, but most of ancient Egypt took place in the Bronze Age—that's how old Egypt is.
So how did the Egyptians get enough pure iron to leave Tut an iron dagger? The same way most people in the Bronze Age did: by tapping the pure iron in a meteorite. Besides pure iron, the dagger was 11 percent nickel and 0.5 percent cobalt, which is nearly the exact average composition of iron meteorites.
Ancient Egyptians knew meteorites came from space, and they referred to this iron as "iron from the sky." They may have used iron for these ritual objects because they thought the metal came from the gods, those aliens who made the Earth.
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We're not saying this was aliens, but for more on aliens, check out:
Top image via Wiki Commons