Friday, November 14, 2008

Swords from Meteoric Iron

"In a 1923 article in Scientific Monthly, Arthur M. Miller asserted that there "is little doubt but that the human race first learned the use of iron from sideritic masses of celestial origin" – in other words, iron meteorites (438). Meteoritic iron has been found in numerous ancient archaeological sites, ranging from Sumerian artifacts dating back more that 4500 years, to the tomb of Tutankhamen (Bevan and De Laeter 2002: 12). It was alleged that Attila the Hun "and other devastating conquerors had swords from heaven." According to "Averrhoes, an Arab philosopher of the twelfth century… excellent swords were made from a meteor weighing 100 lb that fell near Cordoba, in Spain" (Rickard 1941: 55). The Prambarian meteorite of Indonesia was used to manufacture a number of blades circa 1800, including "superbly fashioned kris daggers" (Bevan and De Laeter 2002: 17). A decade later, James Sowerby forged a sword from a meteorite taken from Cape of Good Hope, which was presented to Czar Alexander of Russia (Burke 1986: 232-3). The famed Damascus blades (made of patterned steel) have alternately been claimed to have originally been made of meteorites or merely made in mimicry of distinctive pattern found in meteoritic iron. Such blades were said to have the ability to slay dragons (Cashen 1998). "

from http://www.physics.ccsu.edu/larsen/meteorites.html
Also of interest: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/meteor-01a.html

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