The Stolen Meteorite Ahnighito
Siting in the basement corner of the American Museum of Natural History in NY is a 30-ton meteorite … most people , myself included in the past, have walked by it without much thought or reflection of how it wound up in the museum …. Until now.
Reading about explorers such as Robert Peary and learning about the history of this meteorite, I decided to revisit the museum to pay my respects to the meteorite.
Fall to Earth
The meteorite fell to Earth in northwestern Greenland after the retreat of glaciers from the last ice age and were known by the local Inuit for thousands of years both as a spiritual location and a source of iron.
The Inuit names for three Meteorites (all of which are in the museum) are “the Woman,” “the Dog” and a largest one, weighing more than 30 tons, “the Tent.” Now known as Ahnighito.
For centuries, Inuit living near the meteorites used them as their only source of metal for tools and harpoons.
In 1894 Peary reached the meteorites in Greenland’s Cape York and enlisted the help of Inuits in loading the heavy iron meteorites onto his ship.
Peary sold them to the museum for $40,000 (equivalent to $1.3 million today). All three are still on on display at the museum in New York City.
Placing my hand on the Ahnighito meteorite I felt a sad energy emanating from its core. Ahnighito was yearning to be back in the land the Inuit called Savissivik, the land of iron from space.