A cache of iron beads dating back 5,000 years to Egypt had long puzzled archeologists: That predates smelting, so how on earth did the Egyptians craft them? Turns out, it wasn't done on Earth at all, reports Nature. UK researchers borrowed one of the beads from a museum and used electron microscopy to conclude that the nickel-rich iron came from a meteorite. They think ancient jewelry-makers hammered the found iron until it became thin and bendable.
“The sky was very important to the ancient Egyptians,” says a co-author of the paper in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science. "Something that falls from the sky is going to be considered as a gift from the gods.”