The magic of archaeo-metallurgy

We’ve just started Week 3, and the season has hit cruising altitude with no less than four courses running concurrently, another trench open, and Open Day on the horizon.

Our courses got off to a flying start in Week 1, however, with the Archaeo-metallurgy course run by the fun, amazing (and extremely knowledgeable) Ellie.

The 2017 archaeo-metallurgy team

The 2017 archaeo-metallurgy team

Building the furnace brick by handmade brick

Building the furnace brick by handmade brick

Mixing muck for furnace bricks

Mixing muck for furnace bricks

The roasting furnace: fire and iron

The roasting furnace: fire and iron

Seven intrepid souls came along to venture forth into a world of casting and bellowing, starting from scratch to build a casting hearth and a smelting furnace, carving cuttlefish moulds and designing their very own creations to make and take home.

Finishing off a cast ring

Finishing off a cast ring

Kate's copper-alloy ankh

Kate’s copper-alloy ankh

Paul and his creation

Paul and his creation

Some of the week's new treasures

Some of the week’s new treasures

The course highlight was Thursday’s iron smelting – over 12 hours of bellowing, bonding and branding each other with tribal ‘paint’.

The rest of the site was invited along to help with the bellowing work and admire the show, as the smelting furnace sent sparks flying into the night.

Preparing charcoal for the smelting furnace

Preparing charcoal for the smelting furnace

Sunset over the evening smelting

Sunset over the evening smelting

Bellowing the furnace on the Thursday night smelting

Bellowing… bellowing… bellowing…

The magic of the furnace at night

The magic of the furnace at night

Pure iron

The precious results

After six days of hard work, everyone was very satisfied (if also quite tired and a little grubby) and agreed it was a great week of making and learning.

Ellie will be running her archaeo-metallurgy course again in 2018 – keep an eye on the website (sharp.org.uk) for dates to come along and make some magic of your own.

(And it’s Open Day this Sunday 23 July! 10-4 at the Boneyard – see you there)

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