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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Presenting Experiments

Darrell and Neil are headed out to the Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference in North Carolina the weekend of Oct 18th.

Saturday will see two presentations:

Glass on Fire: A review of 5 years of experiments in the reproduction of Viking Era Glass Bead Furnaces
Glass beads were a widely used form of Viking era Norse personal ornamentation. Seven production sites have been found archaeologically, although only Ribe has well-documented traces of furnaces. Using data from the excavations, and experimental archaeology, various possible charcoal fired clay cob furnace reconstructions were constructed and tested. The as yet unrealized goal is to produce a furnace that matches the archaeological remains and is capable of producing beads that match the artifact samples. This paper reviews the archaeological material and the experimental sequences undertaken over the last five years. 

Early Iron in North America
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.

 Sunday will hopefully see two practical sessions

The Aristotle Furnace
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.
Viking Era Bead Production
Watch as a replica glass bead furnace is heated and glass is worked to produce beads similar to those loved by the Vikings. The furnace used is the result of 5 years of experimental archaeology, and is still a work in progress. Join the conversation on alternate interpretations of the material and furnace designs.

Join us if you have a chance

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