Iron smelting and smithing in major urban centers in Israel during the Iron Age

Adi Eliyahu-Behar, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Yuval Gadot, Israel Finkelstein

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39 Scopus citations


By-products of iron production, mainly slag and bloom fragments, unearthed at three Iron Age urban centres in Israel (Hazor, Tel Beer sheba and Rehov), were analysed in order to better understand the organization of iron production during the Iron Age. The production remains studied are all dated not earlier than the Iron Age IIA, and thus shed light on a period of transition from bronze to iron production. Chemical composition and microstructural analyses enable us to determine that both the smelting of iron ores and the refining of the bloom took place within the urban centres of Hazor and Beer-Sheba. We show that slag cakes are the products of smelting, possibly carried out in pit-furnaces. Hammerscales, products of primary and secondary smithing, were attached to slags. From these observations we infer that all stages of iron production were practiced in these urban centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4319-4330
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bloom fragments
  • Iron Age
  • Iron production
  • Israel
  • Slag cakes


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