Let’s Send King Tut’s Dagger Back to Space

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Today I wrote about how scientists figured out that the blade of one of the daggers buried with King Tut is made from meteoric iron—as in, metal from outer space.

In response, a reader tweeted a compelling idea:

I realize that historians don’t often take kindly to the destruction—flaking or otherwise—of ancient artifacts, but the idea is a romantic one. I can’t help but appreciate the thought of such a journey: A ball of metal falls to Earth from the sky, is discovered by a human, and fashioned into something meaningful and valuable to that person’s culture. It is soon forgotten, buried underground for millennia before being rediscovered and sent skyward once again.

The ancient Egyptians who buried Tutankhamun with the dagger believed it would protect him as he ascended to the heavens after his death. Perhaps it could make it there after all.