The legends and mysteries of Tutankhamun and the ancient Egyptians have enthralled us for years.
Giant pyramids with secret passageways, tales of vast treasures and spooky claims of curses placed on doomed explorers have spawned a welter of conspiracy theories.
And now it appears that one of the most bizarre – that aliens visited Egypt and helped build the pyramids – may not be quite so ridiculous.
For it has emerged a dagger belonging to the Egyptian Boy King, Tutankhamun, was made out of iron from a meteorite forged in the depths of outer space.
Scientists said the make-up of the iron ‘strongly suggests extra-terrestrial origin’. The 3,300-year-old weapon was wrapped in bandages on the mummy’s right thigh when British Egyptologist Howard Carter excavated the tomb in 1925.
The origin of the unrusted iron blade has puzzled scientists ever since because such metalwork was rare in ancient Egypt.
Italian and Egyptian researchers used ‘a non-invasive X-ray technique’ to analyse the iron without damaging it, according to a study published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
Along with its iron blade, the dagger’s fine gold handle ‘is decorated with cloisonne and granulation work, and ends with a pommel of rock crystal,’ the authors said.
They compared the composition of the dagger to known meteorites within the trading sphere of Tutankhamun’s 14th-century BC kingdom. Their search stretched around the Red Sea coast of Egypt to the Sahara desert and as far as modern day Iran. They found that one meteorite in particular – which was nicknamed Kharga and landed 150 miles west of the port of Alexandria – contained similar levels of nickel and cobalt as that of the dagger blade.
The dagger’s quality ‘suggests a significant mastery of ironworking in Tutankhamun’s time,’ according to the study.
In the years after Tutankhamun’s reign, Egyptians are known to have used the term ‘iron of the sky’ to describe all types of iron, said the study. ‘The introduction of the new composite term suggests that the ancient Egyptians... were aware that these rare chunks of iron fell from the sky,’ it added.
Dr Diane Johnson, of the Open University, who studies meteorites in Egyptian culture, said they were likely to associate the sky-borne metal with the divine.
‘If ancient Egyptian people knew that iron sometimes as meteorites came from the sky, the place of the gods, this would undoubtedly have implications for the importance they placed upon it,’ she said.
The dagger, which features a decorated gold handle and a gold sheath with a floral lily motif on one side and a feather pattern on the other, is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
ALIENS ‘BUILT THE PYRAMIDS’
The huge scale and sophisticated building of the pyramids have led conspiracy theorists to suggest only aliens could have constructed them.
They claim that an ancient civilisation could not have built the structures with such precision without modern engineering.
They also note that some of the raw materials used included huge blocks of granite weighing up to 70tons which were sourced 500 miles away.
Another theory is that the pharaohs themselves were aliens. Some Egyptian hieroglyphics appear to depict modern images including helicopters, submarines and aeoplanes.
It is argued that this is proof aliens once visited the ancient Egyptians in their spaceships.
Others have pointed out that the three pyramids at Giza line up perfectly with ‘the belt’ of Orion, a star constellation often associated with aliens.
They say the Egyptians would not have been able to have created the perfect alignment with their primitive tools. – Daily Mail