Michelmersh, Romsey, Hampshire: Analysis of the Slag

Author(s): Brice Girbal

84kg of industrial debris was retrieved from the Iron Age site of Michelmersh. Approximately 60kg of slag was identified and analysed scientifically in the hope to gain a clearer understanding of iron manufacture in Iron Age Wessex. Their morphology revealed that iron was being smelted/produced in the slag pit furnace tradition characteristic of pre-Roman iron technology. The debris showed little micro-structural and compositional variability which suggests that it was all produced by the same or similar technology. Several points of interest were raised such as the high manganese oxide content of the slags. It is argued that the assemblage forms part of a new geological group as discussed in Paynter 2006 and it is proved that other production sites on similar geology produced slags characteristic by their high manganese oxide contents. It has not been possible to identify Michelmersh as the production site for the Danebury currency bars but several other iron artefacts from Danebury have revealed compositional parallels with the iron prills and slags analysed in this study suggesting that they may have been made locally.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Iron Age


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