King Tut Dagger Out of This World

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June 1, 2016

A weapon buried with the Boy King was made of space-age material, scientists say.

The dagger, buried at the right thigh of King Tutankhamen, has a gold outer layer, but it is the inner layer that has turned out to be partly extraterrestrial. A team of researchers from Milan Polytechnic, Pisa University, and Cairo's Egyptian Museum used non-invasive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to scan the dagger, and scans revealed the presence of iron that came from a meteor, that would have struck Earth's atmosphere thousands of years ago.

Quarried artifacts, like the dagger in King Tut's tomb, are routinely made of no more than 4 percent iron. But the dagger in Tut's tomb contained 11 percent iron, as well of a high amount of nickel and traces of cobalt, all consistent with that found in meteorites.

The results of the scan appear in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science. The dagger is on display in the Egyptian Museum.

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