|MadSci Network: Engineering|
|MadSci Network: Engineering|
I'm afraid that I know very little about this subject, so about the best I can do is point you in the right direction for some more research. I got onto an email-list called "arch-metals", which is devoted to discussion of all aspects of archaeo-metallurgy - that is, the study of prehistoric methods of metallurgy. I posed the question on to the list of whether there was any good Web resources that would explain the process of iron smelting in Medieval times. Here are the responses I got:
I don't know of any WWW resources on this, but there's
plenty on good old fashioned print on the subject. I recommend R.F. Tylecote,
A History of Metallurgy, 2nd edition (London: Institute of Metallurgy,
1992)and W. Rostoker and B. Bronson, PreIndustrial Iron (Philadelphia:
Archaeomaterials)as good places to start. Where you go from there depends
very much upon your specific interest. If it is American ironworking that
interests you, then I highly recommend Robert Gordon's American Iron: 1607-1900
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1996).
Department of Anthropology/Department of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Arizona
[M]edieval iron smelting is a matter of local and chronological
developments and changes, controled by many factors like ore quality, economic
constrains (capital-intensive large furnaces vs. small scale seasonal smelting),
quality demand etc. Bloomery process and the various 'modern' medieval
smelting techniques of different high furnace types co-existed over many
centuries, often very close-by. Hence, the matters appears much to complex
and specific to allow a www-site to outline *the* medieval iron smelting,
Thilo Thilo Rehren,
There is not [a comprehensive Web site], as far as I know.
But even if there was it is likely that it would only deal with one aspect
of medieval iron smelting. You need to define your question more specifical,
defining the region and the period. Also I wonder what is the real question
behind your question. During this period, the bloomery, the high bloomery
and the blast furnace were all in operation in various parts of Europe.
Are you interested in iron smelting, or the products of the process? The
are a number of well excavated iron smelting furnaces in Britain, France
and Switzerland published. I can give you some references should you wish.
For more general reading try Paul Craddock's recent book, or some of Ronnie
Tylecote's publications, the Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society
- (one of the Society's metallurgical data sheets has a set of schematic
drawing of various excavated classes of bloomeries including several medieval
forms), and Archaeomaterials (now defunct).
I have just finished a report on an early Medieval iron smelting site in Somerset, which I intend to put on the WWW but that will take a month or so while I work out how to deal with the catalogue. Having dealt with bloomeries and blast furnaces of all periods for the last 20 years, including running Iron Age bloomeries, I am willing to answer your question in more detail, if you can give a little background to the question.
University of Oxford. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to pursue this question further, I suggest you check at a local library for some of the references listed above. You might also like to look at some of these Web sites which I found a little helpful:
The Archaeo-metallurgy mail list (archives, subscription info)
Experiments on Copper-Smelting at Rocca San Silvestro, organized by the University of Siena. Has some sketches and a little explanation of a possible prehistoric process of copper smelting.
of Bradford, Ancient Metallurgy Research Group
University of Bradford, Archaeometallurgical links
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Engineering.