|24 July 2003
Iron Age 'industrial' kilns discovered in Italy
Archaeologists have discovered what appear to be the precursors of today's industrial kilns, dating back to the Iron Age. The discovery was made at Piani d'Emma (Italy), during a archaeological field campaign carried out by Bergamo University and Lecco's Civil Museum. During excavations traces of metal working were found in conjunction with iron ore extractors, dating 3rd century BCE.
According to Marco Tizzoni of Bergamo University "It is the most ancient proof of iron ore reduction in the region found thus far. We are looking at what are probably some of the first proto-historic mines in Lombardy. The kilns were very simple: small clay structures resting at the feet of the mountain, they were used in conjunction with hand driven vents, which allowed for the creation of iron in a paste form".
The ore was mined at nearby sites - archaeologists explained - which were used, according to scant documentation up until the 18th century. The material found thus far is being studied and great attention is being paid to the process' by-products, coal, and kiln fragments. A new, in depth campaign will start after the latest finds.
Source: Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (17 July 2003)
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