search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Rare Iron Objects From the Bronze Age Analyzed

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

King Tut DaggerPARIS, FRANCE—According to a report in the International Business Times, Albert Jambon of the Institute of Mineralogy, Materials Physics, and Cosmochemistry says that all iron artifacts crafted during the Bronze Age were made from meteorite iron. Jambon analyzed a variety of Bronze Age artifacts, such as a dagger, bracelet, and headrest recovered from the tomb of Egypt’s Tutankhamun; a pendant found in northern Syria dating to 2300 B.C., and Shang-Dynasty artifacts from China dated to 1400 B.C., with a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. He found that the rare and valuable iron objects made before 1200 B.C. were made from space rocks, which have a unique chemical signature. Iron from meteorites did not have to undergo the smelting process in order to separate it from ore, making it accessible to smiths using Bronze Age technologies. Some 2,000 years later, during the Iron Age, humans developed a process to smelt iron from Earth-bound sources. To read more about metallurgy during this period, go to "Bronze Age Ireland's Taste in Gold."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement