By-products of iron production, mainly slag and bloom fragments, unearthed at three Iron Age urban centres in Israel (Hazor, Tel Beer sheba and Rehov), were analysed in order to better understand the organization of iron production during the Iron Age. The production remains studied are all dated not earlier than the Iron Age IIA, and thus shed light on a period of transition from bronze to iron production. Chemical composition and microstructural analyses enable us to determine that both the smelting of iron ores and the refining of the bloom took place within the urban centres of Hazor and Beer-Sheba. We show that slag cakes are the products of smelting, possibly carried out in pit-furnaces. Hammerscales, products of primary and secondary smithing, were attached to slags. From these observations we infer that all stages of iron production were practiced in these urban centres.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was undertaken under the auspices of the European Research Council under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007e2013)/ERC grant agreement no 229418. Laboratory work was undertaken in the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science.
- Bloom fragments
- Iron Age
- Iron production
- Slag cakes