I need a blacksmith's expertise on a 15.15 metric ton iron meteorite. Was it mined for metal to make tools?

  • July 13, 2023 1:09 PM
    Message # 13227535

    It's me again.  I earned my Ph.D. in archaeology and anthropology and am now scheduled to give a talk on the EL ALI meteorite mid-August at the Meteoritical Society Annual meeting at UCLA.  As an archaeologist, I look at the videos on my URL in slo-mo and to me they say, "this hunk of iron has been hammered on relentlessly over 90% of it's surface."  But some of my meteoriticist colleagues may dismiss those markings as evidence of their fiery passage through the atmosphere, or "regmaglypts."  I've created the following "views" in Agisoft MetaShape and again to my eyes they clearly show ridges that have been hammered up to be broken off to use as "sharps" for knives and points.  My argument is that the meteorite was mined for meteoritic metal, which was then cold forged on the same meteorite into blades.  This is similar to the Eskimo's use of the Cape York iron meteorites for harpoon tips, ulus and knives. My presentation will be called, "Somalia's Iron Age began with EL ALI."

    I think I can convince my audience, but I'd like your opinions as folks who work with iron.  What do you think?

    The images are from Agisoft MetaShape software.  More information, and the original videos and stils, are on my website:


    If any of you are willing to "hammer up some ridges" on a hunk of iron (or brass) by cold or hot forging, please send me some photographs. The pieces that were used to make these "sharps" were small, probably not much larger than the "mushrooming" that we see on overused cold chisels and hammers.

    Thanks, Nick

    7 files
  • July 14, 2023 6:27 PM
    Reply # 13228149 on 13227535

    You have excellent examples of iron hammered to form ridges and the hunks of metal that could be broken off with the mushroomed hammer and chisel.  It looks in the hammer a few of the chunks have come off. With the hammer, what is left after a chunk if off is a sharp and thin transition from the parent stock to the chunk. Nowhere on the meteorite are there any sites so thin that I can see.

    The hammer and chisel also show the best place to get a chunk off the parent stock in at an edge.  For the meteor I would expect lots of hammering at the edges with little on the faces. In the 30 degree views the right side appears to be thinner forming a pocket. This is where hammering would have occurred to break off parts of the meteor, not on a wide face. The lack of difference in indentations on the face compared to the edges argues against hammering for metal fracturing causing these marks.

Copyright ©2023 California Blacksmith Association. All Rights Reserved.          

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software