New research has shed light on the discovery of a rare and enigmatic metal called steatite in Egypt.
The finding of steatites in the Great Pyramid of Giza, dating to about 12,000 years ago, has sparked debate about the geology and geochemistry of the world’s oldest structure, and its importance in understanding the past.
But the discovery was not the only interesting find to come from Egypt over the last two decades.
Archaeologists from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Queensland discovered a mysterious metal called phyllo-silicate, or silicate, which is also used in the production of precious stones.
This was the first time researchers had identified silicate in the geologic record, but it was not until now that scientists had discovered the mineral’s presence.
“We discovered a lot of silicate minerals in the ancient Egyptians, but only very small quantities, and not all of them were in the same deposits,” said lead researcher Dr David Wollaston from the UC Berkeley School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.
“And there was no clear record of how many were in particular deposits.”
The discovery of this mineral in Egypt is a first-ever discovery of silicates in the archaeological record.””
It’s an incredibly exciting finding.”‘
It’s like the missing link’The discovery has the potential to unlock a huge amount of information about how the ancient people lived.”
It will open up a whole new way of looking at the past,” Dr Wollast said.”
I think it’s like a missing link in the puzzle of ancient Egypt.
“There are so many other rocks in the region that we haven’t seen before, and it’s very interesting to find this mineral.”‘
We have a lot more to learn’Dr Wollasts findings are being presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
“This is just one of a lot that we are doing to try to understand the ancient world and what was happening at that time, what the Egyptians were doing, what people were doing,” Dr Simeon Otero from the USGS said.”[This] gives us the ability to look at the geologies of the area, what kinds of rocks there were, what we know about what people used them for and what they produced.”
“And that will lead to a whole lot more research into how this mineral was used and what people are using it for, what it was used for in this ancient world.”
“This could help us understand the history of the Earth and its geography, which could also have a big impact on understanding climate change and other aspects of the human environment.”‘
The world is at risk’Experts say the findings could help to answer questions about the past, such as how the Great Pyramids were built, or what the pyramids were made of.
“If we can learn more about the minerals in these deposits and we can study them, we can make better and more reliable estimates about the materials used in these pyramids and other monuments,” Dr Otera said.
“If you can make those estimates, you can start to think about the world we live in today, which will be much more interesting to us in the future.”
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