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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Iron production began in many parts of Europe during the late Bronze Age. Although initially comparatively rare, production steadily increased in volume and quality, and major centres developed in southern France, Bavaria, Austria, and southern Poland; the discovery of standardized ingots shows the distribution of smelted iron. Blacksmithing techniques improved rapidly, and the processes of cold working, quenching, and annealing were mastered. The transition from bronze to iron for tools and weapons varied regionally, and the role of iron varied from a utilitarian material for tools to an exotic inlay for decoration. By the late Iron Age a full range of tools had been developed, which changed little for many centuries. These harder, sharper, and more durable tools had a major impact on the productive capacity of other industries, including agriculture, but especially woodworking and carpentry. The use of iron nails transformed domestic architecture, the construction of fortifications, and shipbuilding.

Keywords: iron production, iron ore, furnaces, smithing, smelting, ingots, tools, semi-products, symbolism

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