Egyptian’s steel innovation


Since the beginning of civilization humans have used every resource we can get our hands on, meteorites included.

A recent study of some early Egyptian artifacts by Professor Thilo Rehren and his team shows that they were forged out of meteoric iron rather than anything terrestrial. This was allowed the Egyptians to get a leg up on the competition becoming familiar with working iron before Iron smelting was even discovered.

Thanks to their interest in working these unique space given materials the Egyptians were able to quickly implement many of the technologies they had already refined in the early early iron age .

When looking at a set beads so corroded they had be scanned with X-Rays to make sure of their makeup. It was clear that the nickel iron alloy which was much harder and more brittle than the bronze typically used had been manufactured differently Professor Thilo Rehren explains that

“The shape of the beads was obtained by smithing and rolling, most likely involving multiple cycles of hammering, and not by the traditional stone-working techniques such as carving or drilling which were used for the other beads found in the same tomb.”

These beads were seen as a jewel, and were found along precious stones and minerals. This might explain some other discoveries, such as Tutankhamun’s dagger which was made of meteoric iron as well. Showing that the value of the material continued long after the invention of iron smelting.

It’s fascinating that we have been using such diverse materials for so long and shows the value of experimentation even with materials that are incredibly difficult to source.