Bronze Age people used tools made of iron that's alien in origin, says new research

After conducting thorough analyses on several iron tools that belong to the Bronze Age researcher Albert Jambon found out that all of them have unearthly origins.


Just about last year, we learned that King Tutankhamun's legendary dagger is as epic as the king himself. Following X-ray analysis, experts have discovered that the iron used to make this ancient blade had arrived on Earth via meteorites.

Now, a new French study has unearthed something even more classic. It revealed that the dagger of King Tutankhamun was not the only artifact to have other-worldly materials. In fact, all the iron tools that belong to the Bronze Age have unearthly origins.

The Bronze Age had initiated around 3300 BCE. It was classified by the widespread use and creation of tools, decorations and weapons made of bronze across some parts of South Asia and the Near East. This metal remained preferable to the citizens for the next 2,000 years until Bronze Age was replaced by the Iron Age.

However, it wasn't that iron was never used during the Bronze Age. On unusual occasions, iron tools and weapons have been found over the years, which date back to the Bronze Age. The metal was hard to find at that time and also it was difficult to work with.

The hiccups were that most of the iron was stacked in the ores and an exceedingly high temperature was required to smelt them – both these factors were beyond the technological capacity of that time. So, the question is from where did those iron weapons and artifacts actually come from?

For a long period, it was assumed that iron tools of that time were created with iron, which came via meteorites. This theory would explain how artifacts of Bronze Age could have iron. Chances are, their owners didn't even know that the metal, which they are using, doesn't belong to this planet.

To detect the origin of these iron tools of Bronze Age, Albert Jambon from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France carried out chemical scrutinizes of several such samples. Jambon's research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Apart from the legendary dagger of King Tutankhamun, the artifacts that Jambon examined included axes that belonged to China and Syria during 1400 BCE, a headrest and a bracelet of King Tutankhamun dating back to around 1350 BCE, a dagger from Turkey dating back to 2500 BCE, a Syrian pendant from the 2300 BCE, and the oldest of all were the beads from Gerzeh in Egypt, which date back straight to 3200 BCE, shortly after the beginning of the Bronze Age.

Using a device called portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, Jambon could successfully determine whether or not the iron used in those relics are extraterrestrial. Iron coming from the meteorites carry more cobalt and nickel than the iron found on Earth. At the end of the study, it was found out that all the samples that were tested had just enough amount of cobalt that can be seen in iron meteorites.

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Jambon concluded the study by saying that all the iron tools, weapons and other items, which belong to the Bronze Age, are essentially made of iron meteorites and the trend went on until 1200 BCE, the time when Iron Age began on the Earth.

This article was first published on December 6, 2017