While many human developments may not be of truly great importance, some are so important that we consider their creation as the dawning of a new age. For example, the Iron Age is a time when much of humanity had discovered how to work with the metal, and create stronger tools than the Bronze Age before it. A recent study by researchers at University College London however has placed the development of iron smithing almost two thousand years before the new age had dawned, thanks to meteorites.
A great deal of material from outer space falls onto Earth every day, but much of it burns up in the atmosphere. Some material does survive to reach the surface, including iron, where it can be found and worked on by artisans. It appears this happened in at least Lower Egypt over 5000 years ago, as a tomb, excavated over a century ago, contained iron beads. Using non-invasive methods, the UCL researchers have been able to confirm that the specific iron alloy of the beads is a blend only found in meteoritic iron, and not just magnetite, which can be confused for iron.
While meteoritic iron is certainly going to be rare, the knowledge the artisans had back then most likely contributed to the dawn of the Iron Age being when it was. Once humanity learned how to smelt it from terrestrial sources, they would already have an idea of how to use the metal.
Source: University College London