Step Pyramid

4 Nov 2017

A 4600 year old step pyramid has just been uncovered in Egypt - see www.scientificamerican.com/article/4600-year-old-step-pyramid-uncovered-... (link provided by Jovan). It once stood 43 feet high, one of seven scattered but similar pyramids from the same period, of almost identical dimensions. The new pyramid, at Edfu, is new just 16 feet high having been robbed of its stone blocks and as a result of weathering over the centuries. The similarities between the seven pyramids are said to be amazing but for some reason by the 5th dynasty these pyramids had been abandoned.

There is also another story at the same source - www.scientificamerican.com/article/iron-egyptian-relics-came-from-space/ ... iron beads, or rather rolled tubes used as beads, dating back 5000 years ago, were made from meteorite iron it has been confirmed. Meteorites played a role in Egyptian religion according to Joyce Tildesley, an Egyptologist at Manchester University. Tube like beads were found in a cemetery at Gerzeh 70km south of Cairo, back in 1911 (and have been dated to 3300BC). They are the oldest known iron artifacts from Egypt and as such elicited a controversy. Not everyone accepts they are meteorite in origin. It has been suggested, for example, that early smelting could have led to a nickel enriched iron and a more recent analysis of dried material on the surface of the beads showed a low nickel content. Meteorites have a high nickel content. Diane Johnson decided to settle the matter once and for all using scanning methodology (electron microscopy together with tomography). Microscopy showed the nickle content of the original material was very high - as much as 30 per cent. The metal also had a distinctive crystalline structure which is only found in iron meteorites that cooked extremely slowly inside their parent asteroids (or comets). The tomography showed the Egyptians had made the beads by hammering a fragment of iron into a thin plate and then bending it into a tube.

Note - iron smelting in Egypt began around the 6th century BC - but we can add a few centuries to the knowledge of iron, no doubt. Meteorite iron on the other hand is only found in high status graves. Meteorite iron was strongly associated with royalty - as pharaoh was representative of the god on earth.