Large Pictures

This map illustrates how iron technology has spread from somewhere in Anatolia to the rest of Europe.
It is based on some data - but just as much on believe.
Spreading of iron technology
Link to text Source: H. Föll; based on the map in Buchwald's book
  Some places and regions discussed in the text are included. If we assume a date of 1200 BC for
the start of iron technology in "Colchis" as shown in the map (or possibly Cyprus as stipulated by some),
we have iron in Greece around 1000 BC. In 700 BC it appears in Etruscan Italy and another 100 years
later in most of the rest of Europe.
This map is based on the book that went with the "Special Exhibition dedicated to the Celts of the
First Millennium BC", in Stuttgart, Germany, 2012 /13. If you think all of this is a bit imprecise, consider what it would
take to get a precise map with dates and so on. What appears to be of some significance is 800 BC,
an era appearing in almost all the dates given. That seems to be the time when some larger and longer-lasting
cultures came into being.
Spreading of iron technology
Here are some oboli or iron spits. Supposedly a kind of currency but one might have some doubts.
A bit unwieldy for paying up, and not ideally shaped for making normal iron objects, e.g. knife blades.
It is far easier to draw out a piece of iron by forging than to compact it again, as would be necessary here.
Maybe oboli were used for wire drawing? Or for making nails?
Source: Found in the Heraeum (temple or sanctuary dedicated to Hera) on Argos (city on the Peloponnese, Greece). Now in some museum.
The Noricum of old superimposed on a modern map. Some important places are outlined.
Note that the "Erzberg" on the map (indicated as Erzberg II) is a present-day town that should not be confused
with "Erzberg I", not a town but the name of a mountain near Hüttenberg, and the place where the Roman
activities were centered.
Source: H. Föll
  Plenty of places in modern Austria have an "Eisen" (=iron), "Erz" (=ore) or "Hütte" (=cottage or smelter) in their names.
Just look up a large scale map of Austria. Shown here is "Eisenstadt" (iron city) close to Vienna (=Wien).
This is an interesting picture. It shows how the late 19th century French viewed the Celts, which they liked to
believe were their predecessors. It has nothing to do with reality, though. It is rather mirroring the "Zeitgeist"
of that epoch.
Brennus contemplating the fun he will have with his loot
Link to text Source: Picture from Paul Joseph Jamin, 1893; entitled "Brennus and his part of the loot". All over the Net
This composite picture is taken from this paper. It shows the extreme heterogeneity of a Roman iron bar.
Note the "ghost structure" in the micrograph on the right indicating phosphorous.
Roman iron bars; results of detailed analysis
Link to text Source: composed from this paper.
Here are well preserved double pyramid iron bars as displayed in the Mainfränkisches Museum, Würzburg, Germany.
They belonged to a hoard of a well to do Celtic trader or smith of the "late Hallstatt culture", i.e. date to around 500 BC.
Double pyramid iron bars; celtic, Wuerzburg
Source: Photographed 2014 in the Mainfränkisches Museum, Würzburg, Germany
Here are some Celtic double pyramid iron bars as displayed in the National Museum, Budapest, Hungary.
They have a more elongated shape than the "normal" ones with flatted ends, resembling an elongated axe.
The museums calls then "iron ingots found in the Danube from Dunaújváros", whatever that signifies.
Double pyramid iron bars; celtic, Budapest
Source: Photographed 2015 in the National Museum, Budapest.
Below are some bi-pyramidal iron bars from the Khorsabad palace. (and one frome Nimrud, the palace before Khorsabad)-
Khorsabad bi-pyramidal iron
Bi-pyramidal iron bars Khorsabad
Upper picture:Thomas Stöllner: Montan Archaeology and Research on Old Mining: Just a Contribution to Economic History? in "Der Anschnitt", Beiheft 21, Bochum 2009, pp. 149 - 178. The original picture supposedly comes from the Louvre.
Lower picture: Oriental Institute, Chicago
Bi-pyramidal iron bars Khorsabad
Sources: John Curtis' book: "An Examination of Late Assyrian Metal Work with Special Reference to Nimrud" (Oxford press, 2013).
Assyrian iron swords
Sources: John Curtis' book: "An Examination of Late Assyrian Metal Work with Special Reference to Nimrud" (Oxford press, 2013).
    Link to text   

With frame With frame as PDF

go to Books and Other Major Sources

go to Discussion of the "Cut Sword" Findings

go to Critical Museum Guide: Landesmuseum Württemberg; Württemberg State Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

go to 10.3 Iron and Steel in Early Europe; 10.3.1 Technology Transfer and Trading

go to 10.3.2 The Iron Trade

go to 11.1.4 Swords of Major Near East Powers in the 1st Millennium BC

go to Iron in Africa

go to The Celts

go to Odds and Ends about Researching the History of Iron Technology

go to Ghost Structures in Phosphorous Steel

© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)