The Dagger of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, the Subject of the Movies, ‘Not From This World’ Revealed


Tutankhamun’s belongings, which were excavated in 1920, continue to be studied today. From these items, new information has emerged about the dagger, which is thought to be a 1-meter-long family heirloom.
The Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun has been the subject of many legends throughout history. It is thought that Tutankhamun, who is thought to have started his reign at the age of about 8-9, struggled with many diseases due to his birth from consanguineous marriage and therefore did not have a long life. His death at a young age was the subject of many legends, and perhaps the legend of the ‘Tutankhamun curse’ may have arisen for this reason.

The interesting items excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb, which has been the subject of movies and documentaries, have been preserved until today. These items contained many interesting things such as Tutankhamun-shaped jars in which Tutankhamun’s organs were stored, promissory notes, fans, and perfume caps. In 1920, a new study was conducted by archaeologists regarding one of the items unearthed from Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Investigations on Tutankhamun’s 1-meter dagger revealed interesting information.

The dagger was crafted from an iron meteorite group
Archaeologists had declared that the dagger was made of iron in their first examination, but this was a rather surprising development because the Iron Age began nearly a century after the death of the pharaoh. A study in 2016 suggested that Tutankhamun’s dagger might have been made from a meteorite, but no clear information could be obtained.

Researcher Tomoko Arai from the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan explained that they used non-contact and non-destructive two-dimensional chemical analysis to understand the origin of the dagger. With this examination, the iron, nickel, manganese and cobalt concentrations on the dagger were examined. Sulfur, chlorine, calcium and zinc were detected in the blackened spots of the blade. What surprised the researchers was the distribution of these substances.

“We noticed that there was a criss-cross texture on both sides of the dagger,” Arai said. This brings to mind the Widmanstätten pattern of iron meteorites known as octahedrite. This was a moment when we were very surprised.” After this determination, the researchers clarified that the dagger was made from a group of iron meteorites known as octahedrites.

Tutankhamun’s dagger may have been produced in Anatolia
Researchers, who revealed that it was forged at low temperatures, say that although they cannot give precise information about where the dagger was forged, considering the diplomatic activities in Ancient Egypt, it may have been forged in Anatolia. In the 3,400-year-old tablets known as the Amarna Letters, which the researchers examined, Tutankhamun’s grandfather III. It is mentioned that Amenhotep married the daughter of the Mitanni king in Anatolia, and therefore an iron dagger with a gold sheath was given to the pharaoh. This means that Tutankhamun’s dagger could be a family heirloom forged in Anatolia. Stating that they will continue their research on the dagger, Arai says that they hope to reach more precise information about its origin in the coming days.