The Most Classic Rock
Are you a fan of ripping shreds and face melting solos? What about shock waves, heat radiation, and the formation of craters? Okay, maybe we have got our definitions of classic rock crossed but let me tell you why meteorites are the original hard rock.
When we think of Ancient Egypt, we think of Pyramids, The Great Sphinx and sand… a lot of sand! We do not think of iron being used as a material, especially as the Iron age was not for another 800 years. Yet one of Ancient Egypt’s most well-known Pharaoh’s, Tutankhamun, had an iron dagger, how do we know? He was buried with it across his chest. It was obviously incredibly important to the boy king, but how did it become to be? How could a metal (not yet discovered) come to be forged nearly a millennium before it was extracted from the earth? The makeup of the dagger baffled scientists for years, until in 2016 the dagger was a studied using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, a non-destructive element analysis, breaking down the amounts of known elements found in an artifact. They found the iron was in fact otherworldly, a meteorite that had fallen from the stars.
After this monumental find some of the most ancient iron objects ever found were then tested. This included sheet-iron beads found in Egypt, dated to 3200 B.C; a weapon from Northern Syria, dated to 1400 B.C; a dagger from Turkey, dated to 2500 B.C; and three other iron objects from Tutankhamun’s tomb, dated to 1350 B.C; another dagger, a bracelet and a royal headdress. These items were all found to be made of meteorite iron and in fact the items from Tutankhamun’s tomb were from at least two different meteorites, showing active searches were carried out for the valuable iron meteorites in ancient times. Even then, the Ancients understood the importance of space matter, which is impressive considering modern scientists did not believe in meteorites until 1803.
So, whether being used for the strongest daggers or rarest jewellery or even causing the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, the name given to the die-off of the dinosaurs and other species that took place some 65.5 million years ago, believed to be caused by an impact hitting the Earth. Meteorites truly are the shooting ‘stars’ of history, they’ve turned it all the way up to 11 and absolutely rock the hardest.