'Space beads' push back origins of iron working

Ancient Egyptians heated and hammered meteorite metal into ornaments

By Bruce Bower, 14:09 PM September 9, 2013

Iron beads from jewelry discovered a century ago in an ancient Egyptian grave came from pieces of meteorites that were hammered and heated into ornaments, two new studies find.

Researchers say that techniques employed by Egyptian artisans around 5,200 years ago eventually proved essential for making objects out of iron extracted from ore, a practice that started roughly 1,500 years later in or near modern-day Turkey and 3,000 years later in Egypt.

Hammering relatively soft metals such as copper...

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