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Was Moshyttan the earliest iron blast furnace in Sweden?: The sediment record as an archeological toolbox
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2001-1199, Vol. 5, p. 35-44Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recently, archeological study of the establishment and spread of iron blast furnace technology in Sweden has suggested a phase of rapid expansion from AD 1150 to 1350, mainly in the historically important "Bergslagen" region in central Sweden. But the geographical extent and earliest development remains debated. One archeological investigation of Moshyttan, in the less studied western part of Bergslagen, suggested that it may have been established before 1150. To independently study the timing of blast furnace establishment at Moshyttan, and also the vegetation history of the area, we performed a multiproxy analysis of the sediment record from Fickeln, a small lake immediately downstream of the smelter site. We present radiocarbon dating (macrofossils and bulk sediment), pollen, charcoal particles and geochemistry. To establish a reliable age depth model, ages of the bulk samples were corrected for old carbon and the model was validated by comparison to chronological markers (immigration of Picea abies and airborne lead-pollution) in other lakes with varved or otherwise robust chronologies. Based on markedly increasing lead concentrations, decreases in the Pb-206/Pb-207 ratio towards values resembling Bergslagen ores, increasing charcoal particle counts and increases in iron and zinc concentrations, the establishment of the blast furnace is estimated to AD 1250-1300 with an age-depth model probability of 91%. This places the establishment of the blast furnace at Moshyttan within the known period of early expansion of iron blast furnaces in Sweden, rather than earlier as suggested by the earliest dates from the archeological study. The first signs of a human presence in the area can be seen in pollen associated with forest grazing from ca. 170 BC, and the first signs of cultivation appear ca. AD 1020, preceding the blast furnace by 200 years.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 5, p. 35-44
Keywords [en]
Lake sediment, Geochemistry, Pollen, Charcoal particles, Blast furnace
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142830DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.040ISI: 000415596200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-142830DiVA, id: diva2:1164891
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Myrstener, ErikLidberg, WilliamBindler, Richard

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