4 Low Forge, Wortley, South Yorkshire : An Investigation of the Slags

Author(s): Brice Girbal

A 60 litre bulk sample was taken from an evaluation trench at Low Forge, Wortley. The majority of the material proved to be iron working residues in the form of slag. The subsequent analysis of this debris and comparison with slags from similar sites suggests that water-powered bloomeries were in operation at Low Forge in the period between the late 13th century and mid 16th century. The use of water-power whether for the bellows, the hammer or both can unfortunately not be ascertained. Analysis of the metallic prills in the slags hinted at the production of a phosphorus-rich iron which may explain documentary accounts stating that iron produced was used to make nails. Although no ore was found the chemical analyses indicated that it must have been phosphorus-rich and from carboniferous deposits.

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