Friday, September 14, 2012

Presentations at Re-Arc 2012

3rd Annual Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference

From Experience to Experiment - A Marriage of Two Worlds

The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Gastonia, NC
October 19 - 21, 2012

 I am happy to announce that I will be presenting at this conference:

Formal Presentation - 'Early Iron in North America' 
Mike McCarthy instructing at Early Iron
Since the late 1990's there has been increasing interest in the direct reduction bloomery process in both Europe and North America. The 'Early Iron' movement in North America is driven not by archaeologists, but by working blacksmiths. In this way, practical metalworking experience has been brought to bear on what is largely unknown technical processes. Although the focus is on iron production, there are clear links to the first iron smelting furnaces built historically on this continent. This presentation will focus on some of the discoveries made and lessons learned over hundreds of iron smelts by a core group of experimenters.

Demonstration - 'The Aristotle Furnace'
Demonstration using Norse bellows
Working from clues by Aristotle and the descriptions of Ole Evanstad, combined with practical insights from a decade of bloomery iron smelting, a small re-melting furnace has been developed. About the size of a standard water pail, this furnace will produce a 500 - 750 gram 'puck' of carbon steel in roughly 25 minutes. This makes the system ideal for smaller scale demonstrations, or for those wanting to work with a bloomery type metal.

Bio - Darrell Markewitz

Working with students at Brown, 2011
Darrell Markewitz is a professional artisan blacksmith, with over 30 years experience, who specializes in objects from the Viking Age. He designed, created and implemented both the 'Norse Encampment' living history program for Parks Canada and the 'World of the Norse' exhibit for the Cranbrook Institute of Science. He consulted on the Smithsonian's 'Vikings - North Atlantic Saga', and the Newfoundland Museum's 'Full Circle - First Contact' exhibits, as well as assisting a number of the institutions hosting both exhibits.
His interest in iron smelting goes back to 2001. To date he has participated in over 50 experimental firings, in Canada, the USA and in Denmark. He has documented this work in formal academic papers, a CD-ROM, and extensively on the internet. (

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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