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Site visit at Vetricella, Siena, and archaeometallurgical analyses of iron from Ribe: Exchange of ideas and knowledge

Research Assistant Line Lauridsen reports on a research trip to the University of Siena, where the Northern Emporium project and the nEU-Med project shared and exchanged ideas and knowledge on iron.

Cross-section of a nail from Ribe, showing a high content of carbon (photo: Line Lauridsen).

By Research Assistant Line Lauridsen

Back in September, Research Assistant on the Northern Emporium project, Line Lauridsen, visited the University of Siena. Here, the ERC-funded nEU-Med project investigates the site Vetricella, a medieval site with large quantities of iron finds, not unlike many northern sites.

The main goal of this research trip was to exchange ideas and methods with the archaeometallurgist Alexander Agostini, who is working on the iron finds from Vetricella. For analysing the iron from Ribe, the Northern Emporium project uses similar methods as Alexander Agostini. Thus, the exchange of ideas and methods was useful, as Line is currently studying the metallurgical structure of iron finds from the Northern Emporium excavation in Ribe. The analyses of the craftsmanship behind each iron find will result in an overview of the treatment and craftsmanship behind the iron from Ribe’s early history. So far, the analyses have shown that many everyday artefacts, such as nails had a high content of steel.

Furthermore, tentative provenance studies of the imbedded slag inclusions in the iron objects have shown that the iron did not just come from western Jutland. We might also be able to trace the iron back to Norway and Sweden.