TechDid the Egyptians know this before? Tutankhamun's cosmic dagger is not a coincidence

Did the Egyptians know this before? Tutankhamun's cosmic dagger is not a coincidence

Hieroglyphs conceal knowledge about ancient Egypt - illustrative photo
Hieroglyphs conceal knowledge about ancient Egypt - illustrative photo
Images source: © Getty Images | POJCHEEWIN YAPRASERT
ed. KMO

8:31 PM EDT, October 23, 2023

Egyptologists' research on hieroglyphic texts and symbols suggests that the ancient Egyptians most likely understood where iron-rich meteorites came from - thousands of years before astronomers came to the same conclusion. One such meteorite was even used to create what is known as King Tutankhamun's extraterrestrial dagger.

The service IFL Science draws attention to the analysis of egyptologist Victoria Almansa-Villatoro, which appeared in the service "Sapiens". According to the researcher, hieroglyphs suggest that the ancient Egyptians were aware that meteorites come from space. According to another expert, Diane Johnson, who presented her observations in "The Conversation", an important clue can be found, among other things, in the Egyptian word for iron - "bi-An-pt". It can be literally translated as "iron from the sky".

Did the ancient Egyptians know where meteorites come from?

"It is unknown why this new word is currently appearing in exactly this form, but it was later applied to all metallic iron. An obvious explanation for the sudden appearance of this word would be a serious impact or large meteor shower," Johnson explained.

Iron in Egypt began to appear even before the Iron Age, which started about 3300 years ago. Almansa-Villatoro mentions that the oldest identified iron objects in the world are small beads from a burial in Gerzeh, a village about 5300 years old in northern Egypt. Other known objects are an amulet found in Queen Aashyet's tomb that is 4000 years old in Deir el-Bahari and Tutankhamun's dagger.

An analysis of this weapon conducted by researchers from Italy and Egypt, headed by Dr. Daniela Comelli from the Department of Physics at the Polytechnic in Milan, revealed that it does not originate from Earth. Experts using spectrofluorometry determined the composition of the dagger's blade. It turned out that it contains 88 percent iron, 10.8 percent nickel, and 0.6 percent cobalt. These are proportions not found in objects made of terrestrial iron, but common for example in iron meteorites.

It is also worth mentioning that, according to Victoria Almansa-Villatoro, the earliest known Egyptian references to iron, associating it with the sky, come from the "Pyramid Texts". This is a collection of inscriptions carved on the inner walls of pyramids, in which Egyptian kings and queens from the V to the VIII dynasties, ruling around 4400-4100 years ago, were buried. As the expert explains in "Sapiens", these texts were most likely funeral liturgies and provide insight into the Egyptian understanding of the universe.

"The inscriptions portray the sky as an iron bowl containing water, pieces of which can fall to Earth in the form of meteorites or rain. But capturing this scene based on a superficial reading of the texts, especially in translation, is not easy. It is contained in metaphors and spread over several unrelated fragments," emphasized Almansa-Villatoro.

It was precisely the understanding of metaphors and the combination of different fragments that led the researcher to such conclusions. In the article, she draws attention, among other things, to an iron bowl representing the sky, the interchangeable use of the words iron and sky, or beliefs about the goddess Nut, who personified the sky. She also emphasizes that "in Egypt 4400 years ago, the word for iron might simply mean sky, because the Egyptians knew that iron is part of the sky."

Victorii Almansa-Villatoro is also aware that "some scholars rightly reject the possibility of the existence of this ancient knowledge," because meteorite impacts on our planet remain rare events and it's not easy to witness them. However, reports about them have been known for many years, which does not rule out that the ancient Egyptians probably discovered the origin of meteorites thousands of years ago.

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