CAIRO – 6 November 2022: A century ago, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the Boy King Tutankhamun, which housed ornate jewelry, beautiful furniture, fine clothing, and the famous golden funerary mask.
Everything was in harmony with the royal burial, which expressed the most prosperous eras in the history of ancient Egypt. However, inside the mummy's casings, Carter discovered a dagger that seemed out of place.
The problem wasn't in the golden dagger's case, but was in its blade of shiny iron, a metal that the Egyptians didn't learn to smelt until centuries after Tutankhamun's death.
Carter had a simple explanation assuming that the dagger was imported, possibly from the ancient Hittite Empire in Anatolia, where there was early ironwork. It wasn't until 2016 that it was confirmed that iron originated from much further afield, with the discovery that it contained high levels of nickel associated with meteoric iron.
For the Egyptians who wrapped the dagger near the body of their king, they most likely considered it a gift from the gods, according to the American website New Scientist.
This was explained by the X-ray analysis that was done without damaging the dagger, which revealed a new approach to Egyptology focused on preservation, whether one is studying mummies without unpacking or creating virtual landscapes as they have existed for thousands of years.
We can now make discoveries that Carter could only dream of while leaving the artifacts intact for future generations.