Margrét had been in conversation with Kevin Smith about his work excavating an 'industrial' level Viking Age iron smelting site at Hals in Iceland. The DARC team have also been working with Kevin towards a possible full reconstruction of the Hals / Icelandic working system. Our 5th smelt in that series (interrupted for Vinland) was May 28. Over the last week a conversation in depth between the three of us has been going on.
Margrét should be extremely pleased with her team's results.
On their very first smelt, they got a roughly 3 kg bloom!
The images bellow have been scammed outright from her Facebook postings over the last week.
Consider the commentary a bit vague, as I am mainly pulling conclusions only from what I see in the images!
|The base of the furnace under construction. Stone blocks defining a 'slag room', tap arch and grooved support for the tuyere. This marks one departure from Hals, where only small stones have been found, the construction is entirely turf slabs.|
|A close up of the tap arch and lintel stone. The rock is volcanic - Basalt with many small air voids.|
|Better view of the bellows. The small size suggests lower air volumes available. This type of bellows will allow a skilled operator to modify air pressure however (so blast penetration into the furnace interior).|
|The extracted bloom under initial compaction. The darker material on the outside is slag, but the still bright core indicates the presence of iron!|
|The final bloom pieces? (No description with the image) Its hard to tell quality from an image. The shape and surface texture does suggest a lacy consistency, to be expected with the air systems used.|
Just for comparison, remember the DARC team did not get any iron at all until our *sixth* smelt attempt.