Sunday, January 24, 2021

Paper / Presentation for EXARC 12 in March/April

 2021 March: 

12th Experimental Archaeology Conference EAC12, World Tour 


I will be one of the presenters at this event : 

'Now with 70% less clay!' Experiments with Viking Age Icelandic turf walled iron smelting furnaces. 

co authored with Kevin Smith and Neil Peterson

Our segment will be included in the segment being hosted by the Dark Ages Re-Creation Company, later in the afternoon of April 1. 

The abstracts for all the presentations can be found at : 


Register for the conference :

This is free of charge but enables EXARC to reach those who are interested with up to date information.


Abstract :

Iceland's Viking Age settlers came from regions with long
traditions of bloomery iron smelting. They faced a significant
problem, however, as the clay typically used in Iron Age furnace
construction was either unsuitable, or extremely limited, in
Iceland. Excavation of a major 9th-10th century iron production site
at Háls by Kevin Smith illustrated an alternative – walls made of
conical stacked grass turf, with or without a thin clay lining.

From 2007 to 2016, a group of independent researchers in
Ontario, Canada, executed a series of eight experimental bloomery
iron smelts to investigate possible furnace designs and working
methods based on this archaeological evidence. This series related
to a second concurrent project investigating iron smelting at
Vínland (L’Anse aux Meadows NHSC), and more recent furnace builds
suggested by excavations at Skógar, Iceland.

This paper will describe how the archaeology at Háls was
interpreted into a possible working system, provide an overview of
how individual elements were tested and combined for successful iron
production, and suggest directions for future investigations.
Further, this report helps to illustrate how valuable insights can
be provided through direct experience, even with limited resources
for experimentation.



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

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