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The accessories of ancient Egypt - meteorites

Researchers at the UK's Open University and the University of Manchester have found proof that the ancient Egyptians used meteorites to make ornaments (accessories) for their dead.

Beads found in Egypt, made from a meteorite rich in iron. Photo: The Open University of Great Britain
Beads found in Egypt, made from a meteorite rich in iron. Photo: The Open University of Great Britain

The evidence comes from beads, the beads in which are made of iron and which were uncovered in 1911 in the cemetery in Garza - a burial site located about 70 km south of Cairo. The strings are described for the period 3350-3600 BC - thousands of years before the Iron Age in Egypt. The beads in the necklace were thought to be part of a meteorite rich in nickel and iron from which the nickel was extracted, but this theory was challenged in the XNUMXs and it was then claimed that the source was not a meteorite but an attempted smelting. Or in other words - processed strings.

The string from the Garza site, which is still the first example of the use of iron by the Egyptians, was loaned to the Open University by the University of Manchester for examination with an electron microscope and the CT scanner to examine the nickel-rich composition and to examine whether it actually originates from a meteorite. The researcher who headed the project on behalf of the Open University, Diane Johnson, says: "The study highlights the application of modern technology to examine ancient materials not only to better understand the composition of meteorites but also to help us understand how ancient cultures used these materials and what importance they had to them for them.”

Dr. Joyce Tyldesley, senior Egyptology researcher at the University of Manchester and research partner says: "We see iron as a practical and common material. For the ancient Egyptians it was a beautiful and rare substance that fell from the sky and because of that it probably has magical or religious properties. Therefore, they used this impressive metal to create small and beautiful objects and the religious importance was so great for them that they chose to put them in the graves."

Philip Withers, Professor of Materials Science at the University of Manchester added: "Meteorites have a unique structure and chemical composition because they cooled very slowly as they traveled through space. It was interesting to discover that their fingerprints were found on Egyptian objects. The study was published last Thursday (May 30) in the Meteoritics and Planetary Science journal.

to the notice of the researchers

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