Original paper

Archaeometallurgical investigations into the iron production technology in Upper Lusatia, Saxony, from the Early Iron Age (Billendorf period) to the 12th century A.D.

Heimann, Robert B.; Kreher, Ulrich; Oexle, Judith; Hirsekorn, Volkhard; Ullrich, Olaf; Janke, Dieter; Lychatz, Bernd; Ullrich, Bernd; Lindner, Harald; Wagenbreth, Bernhard

European Journal of Mineralogy Volume 10 Number 5 (1998), p. 1015 - 1036

36 references

published: Oct 5, 1998
manuscript accepted: Mar 25, 1998
manuscript received: Aug 25, 1997

DOI: 10.1127/ejm/10/5/1015

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP147051005014, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract Archaeological, geological, palynological, geophysical, chemical, mineralogical and technological investigations into prehistoric iron smelting sites and their material remains such as ore, slags and refractory furnace parts excavated in Upper Lusatia showed that two types of locally obtained low-grade bog iron ore were used to produce iron by the bloomery process from the Early Iron Age (Billendorf period) onwards. The two types of iron ore can be distinguished by their manganese and barium contents. The slags showed high iron contents in the range of 30 to 55 weight% Fe2+/3+ that point to a rather inefficient iron recovery technology. A reconstructed instrumented bloomery shaft furnace equipped with a slag drainage pit yielded amounts of metallic, almost slag-free iron corresponding to an iron return between 30 and 50 %.


archaeometallurgygeophysical prospectionironbloomery processbog orefayalitic slag