Meteorite Uses Since Ancient Times

Sowerby's sword to Alexender 1 1814- image by State Hermitage Museum (Konstantin Sinyavsky)

Sowerby’s sword to Alexender 1 1814- image by State Hermitage Museum (Konstantin Sinyavsky)

In ancient times the discovery of bronze and iron brought huge improvements to the lives of men and women of the era. Tools and weapons were among the first uses of such metals once the smelting process was understood. However, man’s first experience of the importance of early metals, especially iron and nickel may have came by the way of ancient meteorites.

The use of meteorites by various civilizations over the past several thousand years is well documented. Such examples include: iron beads found in an ancient Egyptian tomb in 1911, small objects made from people living in the Ohio area, circa 100 BC; harpoons, knives, ulos, and other edged tools made by the Thule people in Greenland in 1000 AD. Furthermore  Swords of the Tsars, a statue of Buddha from the 8th to 10th centuries, a bead from 5,000 BC in Iran, spear points and jewelry from ancient Egypt and Sumer around 4000BC all were made from “metal that fell from the sky”. A Chinese axe head from about 1500 BC and an adze from around 1000 BC found in Sweden are further examples of the use of meteoric material.

The Mughal Emperor Jahangis of India (born Sept.20, 1569, died Nov. 8 1627) received a meteorite from a loyal tax collector. It is said the emperor had a pair of swords and a dagger made from space rock. A diary of the event dated April 1621 reads: “One of the strangest things happened at dawn, a tremendous noise arose in the east — it was so terrifying that it nearly frightened the inhabitants out of their skins. Then in the midst of that tumultuous noise, something bright fell to the Earth from above; the people thought fire was falling to Earth from heaven. A moment later, the noise ceased, and the people regained their composure.”

For 25 feet, the earth had been so scorched that no trace of greenery or plants was left. The local tax collector came to take a look and he ordered the villagers to dig.

“The deeper they dug, the hotter it was”, the diary goes on. “Finally they reached a spot where a piece of hot iron appeared. It was so hot; it was as if it had been taken out of a furnace. After a while it cooled off, the tax collector took it home, sealed it in a purse, and sent it to court.” Historians believe both  tax collector and the emperor considered the fallen star as a gift from God.

On a final note, on June 1814, James Sowerby, a British artist and natural historian, designed a special meteoric sword to present to the Emperor of Russia, Alexander I.  Soweby had a number of iron rich specimens in his collection and with the defeat of France at the end of the Napoleonic Wars he planned a special present for the brave efforts of the Russian people and to encourage world peace.

The Cape of Good Hope meteorite used for this artisan creation is a high content uniform nickel-rich ataxite with 16% nickel. Artisans crafted a blade 600 mm long with inscriptions written by Soweby that read,  “This Iron having fallen from the heavens was, upon his visit to England, presented to His Majesty Alexander Emperor of all the Russias, who had successfully joined in Battle, to spread the blessings of peace throughout Europe.”

The emperor did receive the sword years later, in 1819 due to the time taken for the sword to be crafted, permission obtained, and the time going from the Czar’s secretary to the Czar himself.

For more information:

http://wamu.org/programs/metro_connection/12/09/07/smithsonian_displays_mysterious_dagger_from_the_stars

and

http://rsnr.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2013/09/02/rsnr.2013.0044.full.pdf+html

20 Responses

  1. I think the admin of this web page is truly working hard in support of
    his website, for the reason that here every information is quality
    based stuff.

  2. You’re so cool! I don’t believe I have read through anything like that
    before. So good to find another person with
    original thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up.
    This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with
    a bit of originality!

  3. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to
    see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now
    destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is
    completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  4. Hello there! This is my first vacation to your website! We
    are a collection of volunteers and starting a brand new project inside a community from the same niche.

    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You might
    have done a wonderful job!

  5. Hi all, here every one is sharing these knowledge, so it’s nice to read this webpage,
    and I used to pay a visit this blog every day.

  6. “We stumbled over here different web address and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page for a second time.”

  7. This is one awesome blog post. Keep writing.

  8. Major thankies for the post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  9. Your style is unique compared to other folks I
    actually have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting if you
    have the means, Guess I will just bookmark this article.

  10. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post.

    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  11. I simply want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and absolutely liked you’re web-site. Likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You absolutely have tremendous stories. Bless you for sharing with us your website page.

  12. Hi, I read your blogs as with any week. Your writing style
    is awesome, keep in the good work!

  13. What’s up to all, as I am genuinely keen of reading this
    blog’s post to be updated regularly. It contains nice information.

  14. There is definately a lot to find out about this issue. I like all of the points you made.

  15. A round of applause for your article post.Really thank you! Cool.

  16. Hi,I log on to your new stuff named “Meteorite Uses Since Ancient Times” on a regular basis.Your story-telling style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about تحميل اغانى.

  17. Sports says:

    Keep functioning ,fantastic job!

  18. I have been reading out some of your posts and it’s nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your website.

  19. These are really wonderful ideas in about blogging. You have touched some good factors
    here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  20. Hiya! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the good info you might have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for extra soon.

%d bloggers like this: