Oldest Scandinavian iron forges found
Thu, 31 Dec 2009

Some forge beads from the forges found in Norway

Archaeologists have stumbled upon the oldest and most complex Scandinavian group of iron forges in a rural Norwegian area.

Ruth Iren Oien and her team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Museum of Natural History and Archaeology found a cluster of tiny iron beads south of Trondheim in Norway.

Only 1 to1.5 millimeters in diameter, the beads were found to have belonged to a smithy, ScienceDaily reported.
"We found three different types of forges," Oien said. "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 beads were first found in November 2008, but the excavation was stopped due to seasonal weather conditions. The team returned in July of 2009 and found over 200 artifacts, including post holes, forges, fireplaces and wall ditches dating back to 400-500 CE. "Even though we have only uncovered half of the area, we have already found seven forges," says the museum's project manager for the site Preben Ronne. "This cluster suggest some kind of early industrial activity, in the sense that clearly they had large scale production." "These are rare and exciting results, and unique in a Scandinavian context," he adds.

The forges belong to 0-500 CE and are considered the first evidence of where and how Iron Age Scandinavians refined their iron.