Iron production in the Siegerland in the Latène period: Chaîne opératoire And econometrics of process steps

Iron production in the Siegerland in the Latène period: Chaîne opératoire And econometrics of process steps

The Siegerland in the south of Westphalia is one of the most important mining areas of Central Europe. As part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains to the east of the Rhine (Rechtsrheinisches Schiefergebirge), it is traversed by the Siegerland-Wied mining district, whose iron-rich mineralizations appear on the surface as a so-called “Eiserner Hut” or gossan.

Iron was extracted from the in-situ ore in the Siegerland from the Middle Ages to the 1960s. However, research in the early 20th century by the local historians O. Krasa and P. Theis, who discovered the first slag heaps from the Latène period, showed that this activity went back much further, probably to the 6th century BC. The thesis focuses on questions of economic archaeology relating to iron production in the Siegerland in the Latène period. Thanks to the collaborative project “Siegerland iron industry in the Latène period”, archaeological remains and samples are available for interdisciplinary analyses to help answer these questions.
In order to be able to trace the chaîne opératoire from the ore to the product, the metallurgical finds in particular (such as slags, blooms, furnace walls etc.)must be subjected not just to quantitative and macroscopic examination, but also scientific analyses. Anthracological and palynological analyses will give additional information about agriculture and the use of forest resources, amongst other things. Preliminary dating by ceramic finds will be substantiated with 14C measurements.
The aim is to survey and present, as far as possible, all the facets of the economic cycle of Latène period iron production in the Siegerland. To do so it is necessary to answer questions about settlement practice, geographical networking in trade and transport routes, about production volume and buyers for iron production, and about the related economic strategies, including those associated with agricultural logistics in the Siegerland, an area with ample rainfall.

Relevant Project

Early iron in the eastern Rhenish Slate Mountains: the Siegerland

Abgeschlossene Hochschularbeiten

Eveline Salzmann
Provenienzstudien an frühem Eisen im Siegerland

Stephanie Menic
Der latènezeitliche Schmiedeplatz Wilnsdorf-Rudersdorf/Höllenrain im Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein

Jennifer Garner
Der latènezeitliche Verhüttungsplatz in Siegen-Niederschelden „Wartestraße“

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum