Archaeologists have found a dagger made of meteoric iron in the tomb of Tutankhamun. New research casts doubt on theories about its origin.

A dagger with a golden handle found in the tomb of Tutankhamun surprised archaeologists. They found that it was made from meteoric iron. Now, two new studies cast doubt on the origin of a mysterious weapon wielded by perhaps the most famous ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Some experts suggest that the dagger was made in Anatolia (modern Turkey), while others generally question its “cosmic” origin.

First study

In a study published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, scientists claim that the glue used on the golden dagger handle was made from lime plaster. This material was used in Anatolia (modern Turkey) during the reign of Tutankhamun. However, lime plaster was not so widespread in Egypt in those years.

In addition, historical records found in Egypt show that Tushratta, the king of Mitanni in Anatolia, gave at least one iron dagger to Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun’s grandfather. The team also found that the iron blade was made by low-temperature heat forging at less than 950°C.

Another point of view

However, in another study published in the book “Iron from the Tomb of Tutankhamun” (American University in Cairo Press, 2022), experts state that “it is currently impossible to reach a reliable conclusion regarding the origin of Tutankhamun’s iron objects as well as the craftsmen involved and the materials used” .

The authors of this study noted that the shape of the dagger is reminiscent of artifacts that were widely used in the Aegean region. At the same time, the typically Egyptian form of the pommel suggests either a foreign order for the Egyptian market or local production, experts write. “As a result, it is impossible to form a clear overall picture of the origin of the handle and blade of the dagger,” the scientists conclude.