Researchers have found several rare iron tools dating back to the Bronze Age across the world. This includes beads from Gerzeh, Egypt, dating back to the year 3200 BCE, a dagger from Turkey from around the year 2500, several artifacts from the Shang Dynasty in China, and even the dagger of King Tutankhamun. This was long – roughly 2,000 years – before humans developed the means to smelt iron ore. So what’s the heck? While studies suggested some had meteoric origin, a new study says all of these remarkable objects have a cosmic origin.
Despite the abundance of iron ore on Earth’s surface, iron tools during the Bronze Age are a rarity, and greatly treasured. At the time, humans did not yet have the means to smelt the ore.
In his new research study, Albert Jambon has examined the rare Bronze Age iron artifacts found all around the world to determine the mysterious origin of their metal. And, he found that all were made with meteoric iron.
The explanation behind this BRONZE AGE IRONS
Meteoroids that break off a celestial body can be composed of core materials, meaning they’re packed with iron, nickel, and cobalt. When such an object passes through Earth’s atmosphere and hits the surface as a meteorite, the iron is already in a usable metal state. This would allow Bronze Age metalworkers to create iron tools without the smelting process, which would typically require the reduction of bound oxygen in order to achieve the desired metal.
This is the basis of smelting in furnaces, a breakthrough that marked the beginning of the Iron Age. With smelting, Iron Age cultures could forget rare extraterrestrial metal and tap into terrestrial iron ores, which were far more abundant and easier to procure.