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The Question of Meteoritic versus Smelted Nickel-Rich Iron: Archaeological Evidence and Experimental Results

E. Photos
World Archaeology
Vol. 20, No. 3, Archaeometallurgy (Feb., 1989), pp. 403-421
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124562
Page Count: 19
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The Question of Meteoritic versus Smelted Nickel-Rich Iron: Archaeological Evidence and Experimental Results
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Abstract

The absence, until now, of evidence for the smelting of nickel-rich iron ores has led to much speculation about the respective nature and properties of smelted nickel-rich iron compared to iron meteorites. The relevant literature on the latter subject is critically reviewed. Recently, archaeological evidence of smelting of nickel-rich lateritic iron ores (bloom, slag) has surfaced in a second century BC settlement in north Greece. Experimental smelting of similar iron ores has shown that there are large variations in the nickel distribution in the bloom, but only those sections thereof with a low nickel content could be worked in a smithy. The heavy losses incurred may have been one reason why this type of ore was not used more extensively in antiquity.

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