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Those artifacts include, for example, a bead from the 5th millennium BC found in Iran These early uses appear to have been largely ceremonial or ornamental.

Meteoritic iron is very rare, and the metal was probably very expensive, perhaps more expensive than gold.

Firm sand The physicists placed a laboratory version of the Egyptian sledge in a tray of sand.

They determined both the required pulling force and the stiffness of the sand as a function of the quantity of water in the sand.

Credit: Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) Wall painting The Egyptians were probably aware of this handy trick.

For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel.

Steel (with a carbon content between pig iron and wrought iron) was first produced in antiquity as an alloy.

In the presence of the correct quantity of water, wet desert sand is about twice as stiff as dry sand.

A sledge glides far more easily over firm desert sand simply because the sand does not pile up in front of the sledge as it does in the case of dry sand. A person standing on the front of the sledge wets the sand.

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