Join Date: May 2006
Thanks for your further comments David.
I was not suggesting that you originated the "Iron Age Proper" terminology, it is a term that is fairly commonly encountered in texts that deal specifically with the Iron Age, and in texts that take a broad general view of history. It represents one point of view of the academics who are specialists in these fields, it is not a universal opinion.
I am not specialist in either Iron Age history or general history, I have only a slight knowledge of both, but I have read over many years many texts dealing with both fields, and I have formed the opinion that I tend to agree with the people who place the beginning of the Iron Age quite a bit earlier than the point at which Greece and Cyprus became involved.
Some historians adopt one point of view, some historians adopt a different point of view.
Two different opinions.
I incline towards one of these opinions, and question the validity of the other.
Thus, when I wrote that "--- I do not understand what is meant by "the Iron Age Proper"---", this is exactly what I meant. It was not an oblique comment, it can be taken at face value, and it refers only to my personal understanding.
However, what historians do seem to agree on is that Egypt did not begin to work with ferric material until iron smelting technology became widely available around 600BC.
It is true that a piece of meteoritic material can be cold forged into a reasonably compact form, it is also true that a piece of meteoritic material can be worked in a forge.
However, the technology required to do this, and the skill needed to apply that technology does not come out of a clear blue sky, it leaves evidence of its development, and in the case of Ancient Egypt this evidence is not present.
The Iron Age came to Egypt when iron smelting technology became widely available, and that was around 600BC.
The KT dagger can be dated to around 1300BC.
We have in the KT dagger a particular artefact, that required a particular technology and a particular skill to produce.
There is no evidence of that technology and skill existing in Egypt at or prior to the date of the KT dagger.
There is evidence of the technology and skill existing in Anatolia at the date of the KT dagger, and for a considerable time before this date.
The raw material used in Anatolia was probably haematite, it might have been magnetite, it could have been limonite, it was almost certainly not generally meteorite, but in very early items, it might have been.
The reason for the rise of iron technology is often misunderstood. Quite simply the ingredients needed to produce bronze were localised and difficult to obtain, on the other hand sources of ferric material are widespread and can be found almost everywhere. People turned to iron because of availability and then developed the technology needed to work it. Early iron artefacts were not really superior to bronze, it was only when carburisation was understood that ferric materials became a better product than bronze.
In fact, we are not talking about the dagger as a whole, we are only talking about the blade, the mounts are Egyptian. Dagger blades were recognised as acceptable gifts between rulers at this time in history.
The core question here is the way in which the Jambon findings are to be understood. In my opinion Jambon has produced a hypothesis, he has not produced a theory, and he has not produced proof of meteoritic origin of the KT dagger.