If you want to track down meteorite debris, UCL Qatar professor Thilo Rehren explains in a phone interview, you have a couple options: your best bet is to scour for the black chunks of rock in the white plains of Antarctica, "but the second best place to hunt meteorites is the Sahara Desert," where it's relatively easy to find space rocks amid the expansive, light sands. About 5,000 years ago, that's where the Egyptians likely looked.
Rehren and a team of archaeologists have been studying Egyptian jewelry first uncovered from a grave in 1911--specifically, a set of beads from around 3,200 B.C. (The markings on ceramics and other finds at the site indicate the general time period.) The beads don't look like much more than decaying chunks of metal (which they are), but they were ceremoniously strung together on a necklace and wrapped around the deceased inside the tomb.
The beads are the earliest known iron artifacts ever found. So old, in fact, that the beads pre-date iron smelting, where metal is produced from raw ore. That technique is what ushered in the Iron Age, when stronger tools and weapons altered the course of human history. It's long been suspected that iron trinkets from well before the Iron Age came from meteorites, and now it's been confirmed "beyond reasonable doubt," Rehren says. That means iron working was practiced thousands of years before it was widespread.
The beads have been undergoing tests since the 1920s, when archaeologists first did a destructive (!) test that melted down one of the beads to analyze its components. Inside were nickel and cobalt in proportions that suggested the jewelry was made from meteorites. But the analysis was still only suggestive of meteorites--not quite a smoking gun that would prove it.
That changed recently, when advances in technology allowed for more intensive (and not priceless-bead-destroying) tests. Back in May, a different team examining one of the beads from the same set used electron microscopy and computer tomography to confirm the high amounts of nickel in the bead, and also found a crystalline structure called a Widmanstätten pattern, which is found in iron from meteorites.
The final nail in the mystery's coffin, however, is Rehren et. al's work. Using techniques like neutron radiography, where the reactions from neutrons beamed into a sample is picked up in a black-and-white image, the team was able to get a look at not only the surface of the beads, but the interior and its composition. Inside, along with the expected ingredients, they also found something that hadn't been seen before: a tiny, tiny amount of the element germanium. ("We're talking about roughly 1 percent of 1 percent," Rehren says.) Even that minuscule amount of the substance suggests that the jewelry originated from meteorites; germanium isn't found at all in metal from iron smelting.
Neat. And you can look at this finding as the fun, high-tech resolution to an archaeological curio, but when you put it in historical context, it's bigger than that. After these beads were made, it was another 1,500 years before iron smelting was used, and another 500 before iron replaced copper as the dominant metal for tool-making, meaning iron-working was an older profession than expected. It takes a certain level of skill, too, to hammer out sheets of metal and form them into tube shapes like these beads--"You need to invent blacksmithing, basically," Rehren says.
So there were a skilled set of people working with metal hundreds of years before the process became widespread. (Not many, since meteoritic iron is rare, but still some.) Instead of iron-working being completely invented, then, there were likely smiths from generations before who could pass the the technique down to younger workers.
Plus, iron falling out of the sky might have inspired ancient religious beliefs, so imagine how excited they were when they'd figured out how to mimic the process on solid ground.
Besides making jewlery, ancient blocks had connecting metal ties, which takes knowledge of black smithing and smelting techniques.
If you look over this website you will see.
Another construction feature commonly suggested as an earthquake preventative is the means used to join huge blocks together. It is believed that copper (or silver) was used at Tiahuanaco (below), both of which are soft metals.
Some examples from the 'Old-World' (Namely Egypt, and Cambodia)..
..Angkor Watt, Karnak, and Denderra... And from the 'New-World'.: Tiahuanaco, and Ollantaytambo.
It has also been suggested that these 'ties' were employed to 'ground' structures properly (often made of conducting Quartzite).... "
Only people suffering from chronological snobbery brought on by a misplaced devotion to the religion of Darwinism are surprised by these things.
In fact, finding temples burried underneath water in places that were only above water "before" the last ice age, suggests that civilization itself is older than the "stone age". Look what we have done in 300 years since the industrial revolution. If a civilization was around for even 200 years, they most likely would have learned stone cutting and metallurgy. Also, finding these beads around the neck of someone when they died does not mean they didn't find the jewelry from somewhere else. Beads are easily transferred onto another necklace.
There were 10 million square miles of land above water before the melting of the last ice age. A meteor could have easily flash evaporated a ton of frozen water and taken out huge swaths of civilization. Nothing says that the melting didn't have help and only happened gradually. We have to examine all the possibilities and these are easily in reach. Those beads could be from the very meteor that did some damage. Let's see those beads get matched against a nasty crater under water somewhere.
All conjecture, I know, but also possible. There are many unexplained structures, building techniques, etc, all over the globe. All of them point to man having skills that didn't exist before the stone age yet these unexplained things existed, were created, before then. Two reasons are possible and one of them involves aliens. The other suggests that man was here, and civilized, long before our history books say they were. I tend to go with the most possible and simplest explanation. Man is much older than we think and his ability to learn quickly is best displayed in his going from the Industrial Revolution to the Quantum Computer in 300 years. The traces of these older civilizations lie beneath the water... under rock from tectonic activity, strewn across the 10 million square miles of land that is now under water.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
A sudden polar shift could easily cause the frozen continents to shift into warmer climate, killing civilizations with Earth quakes, tsunamis and the eventual melting flooding of higher ocean waters with the glacier melts. An intelligent ancient civilization which knew how to make monolithic structures, smith and smelter metals, most likely would know how to make ocean going wooden vessels, spreading this knowledge around the globe, until the faithful day of the polar shift and great flood causing civlizations, ancietn knowledge and anything made of wood\ships over the course of time would just fade away with time.
Where there are beads, could there not also be Ancient Malls where 12 year old Middle Paleolithic teens bought, sold and created their own bracelets?
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Yah, saw that already at the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco a few years ago. Old news.
The pictures look a bit like taken from 5 billion lightyears away. I suggest those people get a modern cellphone.