Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thoughts on the Resurrection of Tabitha

Hola darlings!  It's Saturday, and I've been enjoying it despite the unseasonably cool, clammy weather.  June 8th and it didn't get up to 70 today; night-time temperatures tonight will drop into the 40's once again.  Sigh.  And tomorrow, rain.  More rain...

I visited Biblical Archaeologal Review's website this evening to see what's new and came across this very interesting article on the resurrection of Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, one of the few female disciples of Jesus Christ mentioned in the New Testament. 

Tabitha in the Bible
A Disciple Known for Doing Good
DORCAS
(Dor′cas) [Gazelle].
A Christian woman in the Joppa congregation abounding in “good deeds and gifts of mercy,” evidently including the making of inner and outer garments for needy widows. (Ac 9:36, 39) “Dorcas” corresponds to the Aramaic “Tabitha,” both names meaning “Gazelle.” Possibly Dorcas was known by both names, as it was not uncommon then for Jews, especially those living in a seaport such as Joppa with its mixed population of Jews and Gentiles, to have a Hebrew name as well as a Greek or Latin name. Or, Luke may have translated the name for the benefit of Gentile readers.
 
Dorcas is the only woman mentioned in the Scriptures as having the feminine form of the word “disciple” applied to her. This, however, does not mean that she held a special position in the congregation, for all Christians were actually disciples of Jesus Christ. (Mt 28:19, 20) Though her death in 36 C.E. caused much weeping among the widows who had apparently benefited greatly from her kindnesses, the fact that no mention is made of sorrow on the part of a husband suggests that Dorcas was unmarried at the time.

At her death the disciples at Joppa prepared her for burial and, on learning that Peter was in Lydda, about 18 km (11 mi) SE of Joppa, sent for him. Undoubtedly they had heard about Peter’s healing the paralytic Aeneas there, and this may have given them a basis for reasoning that the apostle might resurrect Dorcas. On the other hand, they may have turned to Peter simply for consolation.—Ac 9:32-38.

Following a procedure similar to that used by Jesus in resurrecting Jairus’ daughter (Mr 5:38-41; Lu 8:51-55), Peter, after dismissing everyone from the upper chamber, prayed and then said: “Tabitha, rise!” Dorcas opened her eyes, sat up, and took Peter’s hand to rise. This is the first reported resurrection performed by an apostle, resulting in many becoming believers throughout Joppa.—Ac 9:39-42.
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001214
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/s/r1/lp-e?q=Tabitha&p=par

Irish Monks' Annals of Weather Changes Confirmed by Modern Research

This is just fascinating!  From BBC News.

June 6, 2013
Ancient Irish texts show volcanic link to cold weather


Thursday, June 6, 2013

The REAL Housewives of Jane Austen

OHMYGODDESS!  This is just too funny!



Chess Program at I.S. 318 Brooklyn Could Be Shut Down

Read it and weep!  This just breaks my heart.  How short sighted can our politicians possibly be?  OHMYGODDESS, please help us.  Please help the kids at I.S. 318 and the other schools whose students benefit so greatly from the chess programs!

Looming city budget cuts leave famed Williamsburg middle school chess team on the choping block

The team from I.S. 318 in Brooklyn currently receives $20,000 from the city, money that could go away if the proposed budget, which calls for $130 million to be cut from child care and after-school programs is passed by the city council

It could be checkmate for Brooklyn’s chess darlings if city officials cut funding for afterschool programs.

Parents and teachers at Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg have been struggling to raise enough money to keep the program afloat for the last five years.

Without the much-needed funding, the team couldn’t train after-school or attend local tournaments — virtually killing the famed program which took national titles last year in junior high school and high school divisions.

“It would be like a football team that can’t hold practice before the big game on Sunday,” said assistant principal John Galvin. “To achieve the same level of success would be nearly impossible.”

The program has been so successful, Hollywood hotshot producer Scott Rudin purchased the rights from Katie Dellamaggiore, who created the 2012 documentary “Brooklyn Castle” about the team.
The chess program costs $60,000 to run — which includes classes after-school and travel to local tournaments on the weekends — according to Galvin.

The city kicks in $20,000 as part of the afterschool funding.

Faculty and the chess masters have been working overtime to raise the rest of the money by selling candy, running bake sales and appealing to private donors.

But Galvin said if they needed to raise an extra $20,000 to cover what the city kicks in, it would be a death blow.

“This is the best chess program in the U.S. I don’t even know how we would break the news to the kids,” said Galvin.

So far, city officials and members of the city council are trying to hammer out a budget which is due by June 30. The current budget on the table calls for $130 million to be cut from child care and after-school programs.

Teachers and students at the school said they’d be crushed if the program was axed.

“I love the chess program. It’s more than just a game,” said sixth grader Lennin Antunish, 12.  I’ve played it all my life. I would be pretty devastated if it gets cut.”

Chess teacher Elizabeth Spiegel said the pressure to raise money is constant.

“It’s a terrible thing,” said Spiegel “It’s hard to have a program when you don’t know year to year if it’s going to exist.”

But IS 318’s chess program isn’t the only one on the chopping block. Advocates estimate 47,000 children will lose out on childcare and after-school programs if the cuts go through.

New Evidence for Viking Presence in North America

From Live Science.

New North America Viking Voyage Discovered

Date: 05 June 2013 Time: 02:19 PM ET
 
Some 1,000 years ago, the Vikings set off on a voyage to Notre Dame Bay in modern-day Newfoundland, Canada, new evidence suggests.

The journey would have taken the Vikings, also called the Norse, from L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the same island to a densely populated part of Newfoundland and may have led to the first contact between Europeans and the indigenous people of the New World.

"This area of Notre Dame Bay was as good a candidate as any for that first contact between the Old World and the New World, and that's kind of an exciting thing," said Kevin Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University.
  Evidence of the voyage was discovered by a combination of archaeological excavation and chemical analysis of two jasper artifacts that the Norse used to light fires. The analysis, presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Honolulu, suggests the jasper used in the artifacts came from the area of Notre Dame Bay.

The jasper artifacts were found L'Anse aux Meadows and the Norse explorers likely set out from that outpost. They would've headed due south, travelling some 143 miles (230 kilometers) to Notre Dame Bay. When they reached their destination Norse would have set foot in an area of Newfoundland that modern-day researchers know was well inhabited.

"This area of Notre Dame Bay [is] archaeologically the area of densest settlement on Newfoundland, at that time, of indigenous people, the ancestors of the Beothuk," a people who, at the time, lived as hunter-gatherers, Smith told LiveScience.

Aside from likely encountering the ancestral Beothuk, the Norse would probably have been impressed by the landscape itself. The coastline had fjords, inlets and offshore islands, with lots of forests. Birds, sea mammals and fish also would have been plentiful.

"For anyone coming from the nearly treeless islands of the North Atlantic, this would have potentially been a very interesting zone," Smith said. "There are a lot of trees; there's a lot of opportunities for cutting things down; it's a bit warmer; it's an interesting mix of resources," Smith said.

For any Norse voyagers who had been to Norway, it would have been familiar. It still would have made an impression though, since the lands the Norse had occupied in their journey across the North Atlantic tended to be more barren.

Researchers don't know the specifics about the contact between the Norse and the ancestral Beothuk on this voyage, presuming it actually happened. It could have been a peaceful encounter, although the Norse sagas also tell of hostile meetings with people in the New World. Also, while the possible meeting likely would have been one of the earliest Old World-New World encounters, researchers don't know if it was the very first.

Norse matches

The two jasper artifacts were key pieces of evidence that helped the researchers unravel the existence of the voyage.

The larger, and more recently excavated of the two, was found in 2008, only 33 feet (10 meters) away from an ancient Norse hall. The discovery was made by Priscilla Renouf, a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland, and Todd Kristensen, who is now a graduate student at the University of Alberta.

"You can think of these almost as the matches of the Vikings," Smith said. The Norse would have struck them against a steel fire starter to make sparks to start a fire, he explained. As time passed, and after being struck against steel repeatedly, the jasper fire starters wore down and were thrown out.

The chemical composition of jasper varies depending on where it was obtained. To figure out where the larger jasper fire starter came from, Smith, Thomas Urban of Oxford University, and Susan Herringer of Brown University's Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World looked for the outcrops in the New (or Old) World chemically matched it. They compared the fire starter with geological samples using a handheld X-ray florescence device that can detect the chemical signature of jasper.

The results suggested the jasper originated from the area of Notre Dame Bay, somewhere along a 44-mile-long (71 km) stretch of the coast. The closest chemical match was to a geological sample from modern-day Fortune Harbor.

The second, smaller jasper piece was unearthed in the 1960s in excavations carried out by Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, who discovered L'Anse aux Meadows. Different tests run on this piece suggested in 1999 that it also came from the Notre Dame Bay area. At the time Smith couldn’t prove it was used as a fire starter, but now believes it likely is.

Exploring the New World

Ever since the discovery of L'Anse aux Meadows nearly 50 years ago, archaeologists and historians have been trying to uncover the story of Norse exploration in the New World.

Previous research has revealed the presence of butternut seeds at L'Anse aux Meadows, indicating the Norse made a trip to the Gulf of St. Lawrence or possibly even a bit beyond. Additionally, Norse artifacts (and possibly a structure) have been discovered in the Canadian Arctic, indicating a trading relationship with the indigenous people there that might have lasted for centuries.

However, the Norse exploration outpost at L'Anse aux Meadows was in operation for no more than 10 to 25 years, archaeological evidence suggests. In fact, according to medieval Norse stories, the outpost may have been in use for just two to three years, and perhaps only seasonally, before being abandoned.

The new research, Smith said, has demonstrated there is still much to learn about Norse exploration in the New World.

"It's provocative," he said. "It's interesting to think about where this goes."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Treasure Trove! Backworth Hoard on Display

Absolutely incredible.  To think these beautiful pieces had survived 1800 years buried in the ground!

The Backworth Hoard: Roman Treasure On Display In North East For The First Time

By Ruth Holliday Location: Wallsend
Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The Backworth Hoard, a stash of exquisite Roman treasure buried on Tyneside 1,900 years ago, has gone on display in the North East for the very first time.

The collection is on loan from the British Museum and can be seen at Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend between May 24 and September 15.

The hoard was found in 1812 and is a personal collection of jewellery and precious ornaments, buried on the Roman-Barbarian frontier by a mysterious, wealthy owner.

Geoff Woodward, Manager of North Tyneside Museums at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said: "It's very exciting that these beautiful precious objects are going to be returning to the area where they were buried nearly 1,900 years ago.

"They are high status objects that demonstrate the wealth and power of an individual living at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall.

"The circumstances of their burial give us a connection, albeit shrouded in mystery, with that individual and a glimpse into the murky overlap of cultures on this key frontier of the Roman Empire.

"We're delighted to have been able to work in partnership with the British Museum to create this fascinating exhibition."

Dr Ralph Jackson, Senior Keeper of Romano-British Collections at the British Museum, said: "The Backworth Hoard, purchased by the British Museum in 1850, was one of the first acquisitions made specifically to build up the National Collections and exhibit British antiquities.

"As a probable temple treasure, dedicated to the shadowy Mother-Goddesses, it is not only of great rarity but also enigmatic, beautiful and fascinating.

"The Treasure is still a key part of the British Museum's Roman Britain display, and we are extremely pleased to collaborate with our partners at Segedunum Roman Fort to display it temporarily for the benefit of those living in the region where it was buried so long ago."

The Backworth Hoard is of national significance, and features gold and silver artefacts such as a silver pan, spoons and gilded silver brooches that were believed to be treasure deposits from a pagan shrine.

It forms the centrepiece of an exhibition that examines the complex relationship between the Romans and their environment, the native people and the indigenous deities of northern Britain.

Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 Madison Spring Championship

Took place June 1 - 2, 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin.  GM Josh Friedel was the TD.

Top ranked player was GM Aleksandr Lenderman (I have a soft spot for him) and many of Wisconsin's best players came out to play in the Open section.  Lenderman took clear first, finishing with with a perfect 5.0/5. 

Anumpama Rajendra
 12 | ANUPAMA SHASHIKALA RAJENDRA    |3.5  |W  36|L   5|W  23|W  14|D   7|
   WI | 14061227 / R: 1849   ->1891    |     |     |     |     |     |     |
finished in a tie with several other players with 3.5/5, but on the table I'm looking at she's in 12th place overall out of 48 players.  Not bad!  She played against the following:

Result Score Pre Rtg. Post Rtg. Opponent
W 36 2.0 R: 1362 1401 KENNETH R RASMUSSEN (12533630)
L 5 3.5 R: 2129 2134 ALLEN J BECKER (10481783)
W 23 2.5 R: 1680 1693 ROBIN J GROCHOWSKI (11164412)
W 14 3.0 R: 1926 1902 WADE CHRISTENSEN (12439617)
D 7 3.5 R: 2075 2081 AKSHAY INDUSEKAR (14640961)

The All Egypt Edition

Hola darlings!

Egyptian antiquities have been in the news quite a bit recently.  Here is a quick review.  Click on a particular link to read more:

Interview with Hawi Zahass at The Smithsonian Online.  I read it through, but not thoroughly.  Well worth the read - lots of fascinating information in it!

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Zahi Hawass
  • By Joshua Hammer
  • Smithsonian magazine, June 2013

    You all have probably heard about this right now, but Explorator conveniently compiled related links regarding the discovery of, reporting on, apology for, attempted (but failed) restoration and, so they now claim, a successful removal of the grafiti.  Yeah, like I believe the pathetic schmucks running ANYTHING in Egypt right now?  NOT!

  • A Chinese tourist defaced an image of Alexander the Great in a temple
    in Luxor:

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/72467/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Chines\
    e-tourist-scribbles-name-on-ancient-Luxor-Te.aspx

    http://tv.ibtimes.com/officials-forced-restore-egyptian-relic-after-teen-graffit\
    is-name-11337

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/05/ding_jinhao_d\
    efaced_the_luxor_temple_writing_graffiti_on_egyptian_pyramids.html

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/27/travel/china-egypt/?sr=google_news&google_edit\
    ors_picks=true

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22677980
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2331613/China-disgraced-tourist-vandal-e\
    ngraved-Ding-Jihao-hieroglyphics-Egyptian-temple.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaig\
    n=1490

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/785075.shtml#.Uajyqdj4JVU
    http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=62890#.Uaj5n9j4JVU
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0601-saturday-egypt-graffiti-2\
    0130601,0,4764462.story


    … and his parents later apologized :

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/05/27/ding_jinhao_chinese_parents_ap\
    ologize_for_teen_s_egypt_graffiti.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content

    http://www.newsdaily.com/article/c86c1303cdc6281f3ae2c1e08b4ce61d/nile-relic-van\
    dal-hunted-down-in-china


    … and there was a followup piece on graffiti on Egyptian monuments:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/05/ding_jinhao_d\
    efaced_the_luxor_temple_writing_graffiti_on_egyptian_pyramids.html

    A sensationalistic article (one of a great deal of coverage on the discovery) about the first evidence of child abuse in ancient Egypt -- from an oasis late in the empire that was basically overrun by Romans and was "Christian."  Frankly, I'm skeptical that the child was actually Egyptian:

    Earliest Case of Child Abuse Discovered in Egyptian Cemetery

    Date: 28 May 2013 Time: 08:24 AM ET


    Lots of news about the well-noted decline in tourism in Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood took the government over.  Well, what the hell did they expect!  Unemployed thugs and the desperate who do not realize or do not care just how much damage they are doing to their country are out in the streets daily, maybe some of them paid by the struggling government and the rest are just - you know - stupid, protesting and shouting ceaselessly "DEATH TO AMERICA."  Even CNN doesn't report on these schmucks any more, everyone rolls their eyes and spends their money elsewhere. Free-spending, big-spending American tourists are avoiding Egypt en masse these days.  Does the Brotherhood really think Chinese tourists will make up the shortfall?  LOL!

    Egypt's tourism still in decline after uprising
    Sarah Lynch, Special for USA TODAY
    12:17 a.m. EDT April 4, 2013

    Tourism in Egypt: Hope amid a slow recovery
    By Orlando Crowcroft, for CNN
    updated 7:19 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013

    Wondering if anyone else found this as hysterically funny as I did, LOL! 

    'It's just business' says minister on phobia of Iranian tourists in Egypt
    Dalia Farouk and Ahram Online , Saturday 1 Jun 2013

    And if anyone really believes the government that the tourist traps along the Red Sea will still be welcoming Europeans and others with open arms, and bikinis will not be banned and booze will continue to be served - just wait until they read this article.  And the authorities are writing this off to an "inexperienced" security officer.  Hmmmmm....

    Al-Arabiya,

    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Hooray, Gata Kamsky!

    There'a a dude's Grand Prix going on right now in Thessoliniki, Greece.  I don't normally follow male-only events, but since recently crowned U.S. Chess Champion GM Gata Kamsky is in first place by half a point with one more game to go, I felt it incumbent upon me to give a nod in his direction, one fellow law degree holder to another :)

    According to Mark Crowther at The Week in Chess (I used to spoof it as The Weak in Chess at the old International Chessoid):

    Gata Kamsky was not forced to work very hard at all for yet another win in the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, this time in the 10th round against Alexander Morozevich. Kamsky turned 39 today although he was trying not to make very much of it. For Morozevich this was his fourth loss in a row. He arrived at the board hidden under a baseball cap and played a rather rare variation which he used over a decade ago against Peter Leko. Already 17...Nxb2 loses to a long line in which Kamsky missed a key point at the end: 18. Nd5 Bxd5 19. exd5 Rxc2 20. Rxe7 Rxe7 21. Bxf6 gxf6 22. Qxf6! Re1+ 23. Rxe1 Qxf6 24. Re8# but his 18.Bb3 left him with an easy position to play and after 18...Bd8? (20...Ne5 had to be tried) 19.Nxg7 Morozevich could have resigned. Morozevich just needs the event to end now. Kamsky leads by half a point going into the final round and a draw in the final round against Caruana should take him back into the top 10 in the world.

    Imagine, THE USA HAVING TWO CHESSPLAYERS IN THE WORLD TOP 10.  Holy Hathor!  When was the last time that happened?

    BTW, Happy Birthday to GM Kamsky.  Thirty-nine was a very good year for moi, and I hope it will be for him, too :)))

    Makedonia Palace FIDE GP Thessaloniki GRE (GRE), 22 v-4 vi 2013cat. XXI (2753)
    123456789012
    1.Kamsky, GatagUSA2741*1.½½11½½11½2945
    2.Dominguez Perez, LeiniergCUB27230*1½½11.½½1172900
    3.Caruana, FabianogITA2774.0*½½½½11½112862
    4.Grischuk, AlexandergRUS2779½½½*½.½½½1½½2791
    5.Ponomariov, RuslangUKR2742½½½½*0½½1½.12789
    6.Kasimdzhanov, RustamgUZB269900½.1*½½½1½½52755
    7.Svidler, PetergRUS276900½½½½*½1.012713
    8.Topalov, VeselingBUL2793½.0½½½½*00112715
    9.Bacrot, EtiennegFRA2725½½0½0½01*½½.42683
    10.Nakamura, HikarugUSA27750½½0½0.1½*½½42677
    11.Morozevich, AlexandergRUS2760000½.½10½½*½2643
    12.Ivanchuk, VassilygUKR2755½00½0½00.½½*2562

    Shaman 'Rainmaking' Center Discovered in South Africa

    From Live Science via Yahoo News



    A towering "rain control" site, where shamans would have asked the gods to open up the skies centuries ago, has been discovered in South Africa.

    Photo credit.

    Located in a semiarid area of the country, near Botswana and Zimbabwe, the site of Ratho Kroonkop (RKK) sits atop a 1,000-foot-tall (300 meters) hill and contains two naturally formed "rock tanks." These tanks are depressions in the rock created when water weakens the underlying sandstone. When the scientists excavated one of them, they found over 30,000 animal specimens, including the remains of rhinoceros, zebra and even giraffe.

    "What makes RKK special is that every piece of faunal material found at RKK can in some way be linked to rain control," researcher Simone Brunton, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cape Town, wrote in an email to LiveScience.

    The shamans, or religious leaders, would have ascended to the top of Ratho Kroonkop through natural tunnels (fissures) in the rock. When they reached the top of the hill, they would have lit a fire to burn the animal remains as part of their rainmaking rituals.

    The people who conducted these rituals were from the San, an indigenous group in southern Africa who lived as hunter-gatherers. "They were San rain controllers who were employed by the farmers to control the rain," Brunton explained. The farmers, in turn, depended on their chief to make sure this arrangement went smoothly and that they did, in fact, get rain.

    Access to the rain-control site would have been strictly controlled.

    "The shaman or ritual specialist was usually the only one directly involved with the actual doing of the rituals. It would have been strictly forbidden for normal folks to go near the site," Brunton wrote in her email. The site "was placed away from society because it was seen as very dangerous or 'hot,' and any interference would cause the gods to be angry."

    The team's findings were reported in Issue one of the 2013 volume of the journal Azania.

    Fat power

    Brunton and her colleagues used ethnographic studies to determine the importance of the different animals at Ratho Kroonkop for rainmaking.

    Some of the animals, the team found, were sacrificed for their fat. "Many San believed (and believe) that fat contained a high concentration of supernatural potency," the researchers wrote in the Azania paper.

    For instance, the rhinoceros remains the team found were mainly from the animal's lower extremities. "People were taking the lower parts of the rhinoceros, in the region of the leg and thighs. These parts of the animal contain a lot of fat and meat, which is linked to potency and power," wrote Brunton.
    Other fatty creatures they found at the site include the rock hyrax, a bushpig and what might be the remains of an eland. "In San cosmology, the eland was the most potent animal; killing one would give the shaman immense power to ask the ancestors for rain," Brunton wrote in her email.

    Exploration and dating

    Maria Schoeman, Brunton's supervisor and co-author of the study, originally surveyed the area as part of her doctoral work. "We were originally interested in [Ratho Kroonkop] because we found rock art at the bottom of the hill and decided to investigate it further. We climbed up the hill, and that was when we found the mound of bones contained in the rock tank 2," Brunton wrote.

    Dating the excavated rock tank has proven difficult, as it contains a termite mound, and the insects may have moved some of the smaller objects. It's also possible that Ratho Kroonkop was used as a rain-control site before the rock tank was in use.

    Brunton said the history of the region, and the rock art at the site, may provide clues as to exactly how long the site was in use.

    "The site was possibly used by hunter-gatherers for many years, as there is San rock art at the bottom of the hill. Over time, farmers came onto the landscape and knew that the site was sacred in San cosmology; they would hire the San shamans to control the rain, but also left their own marks on the site by painting their own sacred animals over the San art, adding power to their own animals," Brunton wrote, adding that farmers were in the area by A.D. 1000.

    "The way I see it is that this site could have been used over many years, but this paper is a snapshot in time for one of many periods of occupation/use," Brunton wrote.

    New Study Funded: How Foreign Queen Consorts Shaped European Culture

    Well, duh!

    From Past Horizons.

    How consorts shaped Europe

    Ancient Egyptian Beads Made from Meteorite(s)

    Yes - imagine wearing a necklace that included one or more beads fashioned out of the metal found inside a "star that fell from the sky" -- the sky where Nuit protectively arcs over us every night -- the sky where the Solar Barque travels -- the realm of ancient deities Shu, Amun, Amaunet, Re, and Horus. 

    
    Meteorite bead

    Ancient Egyptians Crafted Jewelry From Meteorites


    An ancient Egyptian iron bead found inside a 5,000-year-old tomb was crafted from a meteorite, new research shows.

    The tube-shaped piece of jewelry was first discovered in 1911 at the Gerzeh cemetery, roughly 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of Cairo. Dating between 3350 B.C. and 3600 B.C., beads found at the burial site represent the first known examples of iron use in ancient Egypt, thousands of years before Egypt's Iron Age. And their cosmic origins were suspected from the start.

    Soon after the beads were discovered, researchers showed that the metal jewelry was rich in nickel, a signature of iron meteorites. But in the 1980s, academics cast doubt on the beads' celestial source, arguing that the high nickel content could have been the result of smelting.

    Scientists from the Open University and the University of Manchester recently analyzed one of the beads with an electron microscope and an X-ray CT scanner. They say the nickel-rich chemical composition of the bead's original metal confirms its meteorite origins.

    What's more, the researchers say the bead had a Widmanst├Ątten pattern, a distinctive crystal structure found only in meteorites that cooled at an extremely slow rate inside asteroids when the solar system was forming, according to Nature. Further investigation also showed that the bead was not molded under heat, but rather hammered into shape by cold-working.

    The first record of iron smelting in ancient Egypt comes from the sixth century B.C., and iron artifacts from before that time are quite rare, Nature reported.

    "Today, we see iron first and foremost as a practical, rather dull metal," study researcher Joyce Tyldesley, an Egyptologist at the University of Manchester, said in a statement. "To the ancient Egyptians, however, it was a rare and beautiful material which, as it fell from the sky, surely had some magical/religious properties."

    The iron beads' inclusion in burials also suggests this material was deeply important to ancient Egyptians, Tyldesley added.

    Strange as the find may seem, it's not the first time scientists have uncovered the cosmic origins of an ancient artifact.

    Back in September, German researchers found that a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite between the eighth and 10th centuries. They even linked it to a specific space rock — the Chinga meteorite, which scientists believe fell to Earth 10,000 to 20,000 years ago and left a scattering of space rocks around the Siberian and Mongolian border.

    The new research on the Egyptian bead was detailed on May 20 in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
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