"Harvesting" the Ore: The Use of Iron Seepages in the Early Bloomery Furnace in Ireland

Photos-Jones, E. and Hall, A.J. (2011) "Harvesting" the Ore: The Use of Iron Seepages in the Early Bloomery Furnace in Ireland. In: 37th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Siena, Italy, 13-16 May 2008, pp. 629-635. ISBN 9783642146770 (doi:10.1007/978-3-642-14678-7_92)

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Abstract

In this paper we suggest that iron-seepages, a precursor form of bog iron ore, must have been among the earliest iron ores used in early bloomery furnaces in Ireland. This is because: of their bright orange colour; the dramatic red-staining of the associated water-red springs or meinn in Gaelic; their rapid regenerative nature which means that they would have been “harvested” on a cyclical basis rather than “mined”; and also because there is an absence of solid bog ore remains within the relict furnaces. Archaeological evidence for iron-seepage ore, consisting of fine powdery material, in early bloomery furnaces would be elusive on account of its clay-like pasty nature and the fact that it will easily merge into a background of soil and metallurgical waste. We assume that the original wet clay-like pasty mass would have been dried prior to charging in the furnace and purer than our modern sample; and also, possibly, but not necessarily, shaped into small lumps.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Photos-Jones, Dr Effie and Hall, Dr Allan
Authors: Photos-Jones, E., and Hall, A.J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
ISBN:9783642146770

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