Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Nathalie Kellens and Patrick Degryse analyze metal remains.

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Metallurgical Studies: July 27-August 2, 2003

There is abundant evidence for iron production at Sagalassos. Much waste--mainly of smithing hearths and non-diagnostic slag--is found in excavation contexts, and pieces of hematite (iron ore) and a hooked billet have been recovered from stratified layers. Intensive survey within the city and its immediate surroundings has revealed large amounts of iron waste, mainly tap slag and bloom. In the city's territory, during the geological survey, remains of smelting and smithing processes were also observed including tap slag, bloom, and smithing hearths, along with remains of kilns, crucibles, and smelting hearths.

The material from the city and its immediate surroundings is clearly distinct from that found in the wider territory of Sagalassos. Local smelting and smithing of iron raw materials to produce readily needed iron objects such as weaponry, tools, and architectural fittings was performed at Sagalassos itself. In the territory, smelting was also performed, but using a distinct technological process. This results in the production of iron artifacts with different physical properties and separate characteristics for use.

The aim of the study of all metal artifacts and production material at Sagalassos is the reconstruction of the process of metalworking at the city itself in contrast to the production on the territory. Also, we want to investigate the ores present in the territory, identified in the geological survey. During this week this research was done by geologist Patrick Degryse (KULeuven) with archaeology doctoral student Nathalie Kellens (KULeuven).

In order to study the iron-making technology, we must first classify all waste products of metal production (e.g. smithing hearths, tap slag, bloom, etc.). Both slag and metal objects, sampled from distinct chronological contexts, will be characterized mineralogically and geochemically, to be able to relate differing properties to chronological (e.g. early Roman to early Byzantine) and functional (e.g. household instruments, architectural fittings, military objects and armor, etc.) categories. After identifying the possible iron ores on the territory of Sagalassos, their chemical and mineralogical characteristics may be compared to those of the slag, bloom and artifacts found in the city and its surroundings.

Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2010 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA