Faculté des sciences

Tools to qualify experiments with bloomery furnaces

Senn, M. ; Gfeller, U. ; Guénette-Beck, Barabara ; Lienemann, P. ; Ulrich, A.

In: Archaeometry, 2010, vol. 52, no. 1, p. 131-145

Five experimental bloomery iron ore smelts were carried out in a reconstruction of an early medieval furnace of the Boécourt type (Switzerland). A part of the bloom from the most successful experiment was forged to a billet. Starting materials and products were weighed, described and chemically characterized (ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS and WD-XRF). The calculation of the yield and mass balance based on... Plus

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    Summary
    Five experimental bloomery iron ore smelts were carried out in a reconstruction of an early medieval furnace of the Boécourt type (Switzerland). A part of the bloom from the most successful experiment was forged to a billet. Starting materials and products were weighed, described and chemically characterized (ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS and WD-XRF). The calculation of the yield and mass balance based on the chemical analyses from the ore (optimum) and from the ore, furnace lining, slag and ash (applied) allow the determination and quantification of the materials involved in the process. This permits the interpretation of the quality of the experiments. The chemical characterization of metal produced from hematite ore from the Gonzen Mountains in Switzerland gives archaeologists the possibility to compare the metal of iron artefacts to metal from this mine. Finally a good agreement between experiments and archaeological reality can be shown.