It is not just a novelty then to identify meteorite materials in ancient objects. The research is helping to determine precisely when and where iron smelting first occurred. As Jambon said, "Archaeologists think this happened somewhere in the Near East, sometime about 1200 BC, but we don't know for sure."
The various ages in time named after materials — such as the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age — all marked technological advancements that changed the way people made tools, weapons, and dwellings. Just as the Computer Age has changed life as we know it, so too did these different periods affect everything from warfare to cooking.
Since iron smelting requires precise heating and melting of its oxide ore, its emergence marked a great innovation that also affected working with other base metals. The metals that make bronze are more easily recovered from their ores, and the resulting alloy in ancient times was soft enough to be easily worked with tools available then. These properties of bronze led to its namesake age, which lasted from about 3200–500 B.C., depending on the region.
Some historians have claimed that Bronze Age irons were smelted. To investigate the matter, Jambon studied a variety of artifacts containing iron from that time. They included beads from Gerzeh (Egypt, 3200 BC), a dagger from Alaca Höyük (Turkey, 2500 BC), a pendant from Umm el-Marra (Syria, 2300 BC), an axe from Ugarit (Syria, 1400 BC), several items from the Shang Dynasty civilization (China, 1400 BC), and the dagger, bracelet, and headrest of Tutankhamen (Egypt, 1350 BC).