Northern Telangana, an Iron and Crucible Steel Production Landscape in India
Publication Type:Journal Articles
Source:ISIJ International, Nihon Tekko? Kyo?kai, Volume 54, Number 5, p.1030–1037 (2014)
Keywords: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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