King Tutankhamun’s dagger is out of this world – literally.
A team of researchers have confirmed that the iron of the dagger placed on the right thigh of King Tutankhamun's mummified body has meteoric origins.
"Meteoric iron is clearly indicated by the presence of high percentages of nickel," said lead researcher Daniela Comelli from Milan Polytechnic.
"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.”
When archaeologist Howard Carter found Tutankhamun’s tomb, he described the knife as a “highly ornamented gold dagger with a crystal knob.”
The weapon, which is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was made from a non-rusted homogenous metal with a gold handle.
Tutankhamun was a pharaoh during ancient Egypt's New Kingdom era, about 3,300 years ago. He ascended to the throne at the age of 9 but ruled for only ten years before dying at 19 around 1324 B.C.
Despite his brief reign, King Tut is perhaps Egypt's best-known pharaoh because of the wealth of treasures—including a solid gold death mask—found during the surprise discovery of his intact tomb in 1922.