Archaeologists and scientists have dated ancient Egyptian iron objects to 3500 B.C. The Egyptian objects contained 8 percent nickel, suggesting that the iron came from a meteorite. The Hittites of Asia Minor began smelting and working with iron around 1500 B.C., the beginning of the Iron Age.
Iron is one of the earliest elements that was discovered by man. It is the fourth-most abundant element available in the Earth's crust, approximately 5.6 percent. The Earth's core is believed to be made up of mainly iron. The most common form of iron ore mined out of the crust is hematite, a compound formed by the bonding of two iron atoms and three oxygen atoms.