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How was Iron Discovered?

 

My Original question:

Some metals such as gold and copper can be found in nuggets on the surface of the earth.  You can smelt then easily and work them into useful or ornamental objects.  But iron does not exist in such form:  it only occurs as iron ore, which looks like a rock.  So it must have taken a very clever person and lots of trials to reduce iron from iron ore.  It also needed a much higher temperature than used for working other metals.  Is there any archaeological story of the introduction of iron?  How fast did it spread once it was discovered?

The Answer

My question overlooks the fact that meteorites often are composed of pure iron and therefore iron can indeed be found in its metallic state.

Thanks to Lee Griffiths, who found a brief history of iron, Mark Nichols who later pointed to the historic section of iron in the Wikipedia, Paul Larmuseau found much the same pages including one about iron in Egypt and also some that are mystifying but show that there is still much archaeology to be done.  I had also seen a polished iron dagger among the items retrieved from Tut-Ankh-Amon's grave, and consider that object more interesting than all the gold in the treasure.  Dominik Buss has a book with a chapter about the discovery of iron, and Frode Tennebø advises to search for Hittites & Iron.

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