Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tutankhamun jewel formed by meteor fireball

"In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of Tutankhamun's necklaces. The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.
Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert.
But the glass is itself a scientific enigma. How did it get to be there and who or what made it? The BBC Horizon programme has reported an extraordinary new theory linking Tutankhamun's gem with a meteor."

I actually managed to see this programme whilst in Wales (thanks Dad). Although there were a lot of shots of four-wheel-drives zipping over sand dunes, and most of the information actually isn't new, it was a cheerful presentation of the facts that have emerged about the green-yellow glass that litters parts of the Western Desert and was used by both prehistoric and pharaonic people to form tools and artefacts. See the above page on the BBC News website for the full story.

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