Archaeology

GRtak

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King Tut's Blade Made of Meteorite

King Tut was buried with a dagger made of an iron that literally came from space, says a new study into the composition of the iron blade from the sarcophagus of the boy king.

Using non-invasive, portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, a team of Italian and Egyptian researchers confirmed that the iron of the dagger placed on the right thigh of King Tut's mummified body a has meteoric origin.

The team, which include researchers from Milan Polytechnic, Pisa University and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, detailed their results in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

The weapon, now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was described in 1925 by Howard Carter, who three years before had discovered the treasure-packed tomb, as "a highly ornamented gold dagger with crystal knob."

Made of non-rusted, homogeneous metal, the finely manufactured blade features a decorated gold handle. It is completed by a gold sheath garnished with a floral lily motif on one side and with a feathers pattern on the other side, terminating with a jackal's head.

Now dramatic technological improvements have allowed the researchers to determine the composition of the blade.

"Meteoric iron is clearly indicated by the presence of a high percentages of nickel," main author Daniela Comelli, at the department of Physics of Milan Polytechnic, told Discovery News.

Indeed, iron meteorites are mostly made of iron and nickel, with minor quantities of cobalt, phosphorus , sulfur and carbon.

While artifacts produced with iron ore quarrying display 4 percent of nickel at most, the iron blade of King Tut's dagger was found to contain nearly 11 percent of nickel.

Further confirmation of the blade's meteoric origin came from cobalt traces.

"The nickel and cobalt ratio in the dagger blade is consistent with that of iron meteorites that have preserved the primitive chondritic ratio during planetary differentiation in the early solar system," Comelli said.

Comelli and colleagues also investigated the possible source of the iron blade.

"We took into consideration all meteorites found within an area of 2,000 km in radius centered in the Red Sea, and we ended up with 20 iron meteorites," Comelli said.

"Only one, named Kharga, turned out to have nickel and cobalt contents which are possibly consistent with the composition of the blade," she added.

The meteorite fragment was found in 2000 on a limestone plateau at Mersa Matruh, a seaport some 150 miles west of Alexandria.

The study shows the ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects, possibly perceiving those chunks of iron falling from the sky as a divine message.

The most ancient Egyptian iron artifacts, nine small beads excavated from a cemetery along the west bank of the Nile tomb in Gerzeh and dated about 3200 BC, are also made from meteoritic iron hammered into thin sheets.

"It would be very interesting to analyze more pre-Iron Age artifacts, such as other iron objects found in King Tut's tomb. We could gain precious insights into metal working technologies in ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean," Comelli said.

She noted that the high quality of King Tut's dagger blade shows that iron smithing was successful already in the 14th century B.C.

The dagger blade is not the only celestial object found in the boy king's tomb. His pectoral, or necklace, features an amulet scarab which is not "greenish-yellow chalcedony," as Carter had noted, but Libyan desert silica glass.

The glass was produced by the impact on the sand of a meteorite or comet. Such natural glass exists only in the remote and inhospitable Great Sand Sea of Egypt ? the Western Desert. In order to produce the scarab, the ancient Egyptians would have had to trek across 500 desert miles.

- See more at: http://www.space.com/33037-king-tut-blade-made-of-meteorite.html#sthash.2v8ouwAZ.dpuf
 

GRtak

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Ancient Shipwreck Off Greek Island Yields A Different Sort Of Treasure

A team of archaeologists diving near the Greek island of Antikythera have reported a startling new discovery from a previously explored 2,000-year-old shipwreck. The find ? a very heavy, metal cylinder ? offers new insights into the maritime warfare of ancient times, the scientists say.

"Of the 40 or 50 shipwrecks all around the Mediterranean, "there's nothing like the Antikythera," says Brendan Foley, an archaeologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He's only recently returned from exploring the ruined ship, which now sits nearly 200 feet beneath the surface, encrusted with sediment and sea life.

In 1900, marble and bronze statues brought up by the sponge divers who discovered the ship stunned the world. Even more amazing was the Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious metal device the size of a wall clock. It turned out to be a sort of clockwork computer that predicted planetary movements and seasons with remarkable accuracy.

The wreckage drew no further exploration until 1976, when divers outfitted with scuba gear could search more carefully.

It was full of the best stuff available in the first century B.C., Foley says, including gold jewelry, glassware, perfume bottles and medicine bottles ? a floating bazaar of wealth from the early Roman Empire.

In 2012, the Greek government asked Foley and his colleagues to help Greek scientists search for more artifacts. The Woods Hole team brought underwater robots and sophisticated diving gear so they could dive deeper and longer. They mapped the entire site. And they found more stuff.

"Beautiful stuff," Foley says.

The ship was massive ? about 180 feet long with hull timbers 5 inches thick. That's as thick as those of ships built centuries later, during the American Revolution. Analysis by Foley's team suggests the ship was likely built in Greece.

He says it probably sailed in the service of Rome, which ruled the region at the time. It may have traded grain and luxury goods between the capitol and far-flung parts of its empire.

Recently the scientists found something in the sediment that was definitely not a luxury item. At first, they thought the torpedo-shaped cylinder was ceramic.

"But then we tried to move it," Foley says, "and it was unbelievably heavy."

The cylinder was made of lead, and had a hole through it. No one knew what it was. To find clues, Foley went back to ancient literature ? writings by the Greek historian Thucydides.

"He writes how the biggest ships in antiquity had these defensive armaments known as dolphins," Foley says.

Today's archaeologists suspect that when an enemy ship pulled alongside to board, sailors would hoist the dolphin up to their own yardarm, and then drop it on the enemy ship to put a hole in its hull.

"It would have been truly a wrecking ball," Foley says, "and it's the only one in existence if that's what it is."


The team plans to return in September to the site ? where another wreck they've found nearby awaits exploration.
 

GRtak

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[h=1]Sphinx head discovered in California desert[/h]


You read that right, but it is not ancient. It is from a movie set that was buried about 95 years ago.
 

GRtak

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This is the right thread to dig up, right?


https://www.archaeology.org/news/8470-200220-germany-soviet-radio

Soviet Shortwave Spy Radio Unearthed in Western Germany


COLOGNE, GERMANY—According to a Live Science report, archaeologist Erich Classen of the Rhineland Regional Association and his colleagues were looking for a Roman villa in western Germany when they unearthed a Soviet spy radio that had been sealed in a metal box and hidden along a path through what was the Hambach Forest, just a few miles away from a nuclear research center and military air base. Manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1987, the shortwave radio, which was still covered in factory wrapping bearing notes on dial positions in Russian script, is a model R-394KKM capable of transmitting and receiving messages over a distance of some 750 miles. “We think the radio will work if a new battery is available,” Classen said. The radio itself is labeled in English with the Roman alphabet, and was perhaps intended for use by a German or English speaker before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Classen and his team suggest the radio was never used, however, and may have been stowed away as a backup device. To read about the discovery of Soviet nuclear warhead bases in the forests of Poland, go to "Cold War Storage."
 

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calvinhobbes

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Nice of you to dig up this thread! :drums:
 

GRtak

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GRtak

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GRtak

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GRtak

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GRtak

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CraigB

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GRtak

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In similar news from Lake Superior.



I caught that when it happened, but things got hectic and it slipped my mind.
 
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