These 5K-Year-Old Egyptian Beads Are Actually From WHERE??
Aug 21, 2013 09:12
Archaeologists dug up these nine blackened corroded lumps of stone from a pre-dynastic Egyptian cemetery. It was only until now that they realized how old they are and where they came from.
Where? Space. The stones were excavated back in 1911 near el-Gerzeh, and it comes from a meteorite that was an alloy of iron and nickel mixed with other elements like cobalt and phosphorus. The last two helped archaeologists determine that it came from space.
A team led by Professor Thilo Rehren, director of the UCL branch in Qatar were able to use a non-destructive test called prompt-gamma neutron activation analysis to determine where they came from and how they were made.
The actual elements in the alloy absorbed would absorb the neutrons and respond by emitting gamma rays. The level of the gamma rays can offer up evidence of it's otherworldly origins.
The research team was able to say with near certainty that the beads had to have come from a meteorite.
The presence of these elements, nickel in particular makes these beads harder than the stuff found on Earth. Using X-ray scanners, researchers were able to see that the meteorite beads had to be heated and hammered over, and over again until it got the shape ancient Egyptians wanted.
As Rehren told The Telegraph:
The really exciting outcome of this research is that we were for the first time able to demonstrate conclusively that there are typical trace elements such as cobalt and germanium present in these beads, at levels that only occur in meteoritic iron. We are also excited to be able to see the internal structure of the beads, revealing how they were rolled and hammered into form. This is very different technology from the usual stone bead drilling, and shows quite an advanced understanding of how the metal smiths worked this rather difficult material.
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