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Archaeologists Discover Scandinavia's Oldest and Most Complex Group of Iron Forges
"We found three different types of forges", Øien says. "Some were small and circular, some were indoors, and a third type was in the shape of a figure eight. Findings suggest the smiths used one half of the figure-eight shaped forges for the rough work before refining the iron in the other forges."
The excavations uncovered more than 200 construction-related artefacts, including post holes, forges, fireplaces and wall ditches. "Even though we have only uncovered half of the area, we have already found seven forges", says Preben Rønne, the museum's project manager for the site. "This cluster suggest some kind of early industrial activity, in the sense that clearly they had large scale production."
The team also found post holes from a large house that was at least 30 metres long. One end seems to have been used for working the iron, with remains of elevated forges, an airing canal and a possible foundation for an ambolt. The large quantities of burnt bark that they found could be from a roof, and suggest the forge might have burnt down.
The finds are the first tantalizing clues that give an answer to the archaeological mystery of where and how Iron Age Scandinavians refined their iron.