Northern Telangana, an Iron and Crucible Steel Production Landscape in India

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


ISIJ International, Nihon Tekko? Kyo?kai, Volume 54, Number 5, p.1030–1037 (2014)



crucible steel, field survey, India, iron smelting


Northern Telangana now lies in the remote rural heartland of India but is world renowned for its role in the past as a region of iron and crucible steel production, recorded in historical accounts and field investigations by first Thelma Lowe and then S. Jaikishan. In 2010 a joint team from University of Exeter and NIAS (National Institute of Advanced Studies), Bangalore, carried out a six-week archaeological field survey in the area that recorded 245 locations of which 183 are associated with metal-working. Locations of primary iron smelting dominated the survey results, with crucible steel manufacture forming c. 20% of the records. Further analysis is needed to resolve variations in smelting technologies but differences can be observed between smelting locations within settlements and those in more remote forested areas. A wide range of technologies are indicated by differences in tuyere size and shape, and techniques of furnace wall construction. The crucible steel-making locations show at least two different traditions using small, thin-walled crucibles and large, conical-lidded crucibles. This paper describes a preliminary assessment of the survey data.


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