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Materials Science Analysis Group

 Our research group investigates the question of “How ancient people established the iron smelting technology”, based on the mineralogical and chemical analyses of ancient iron smelting products. Note that iron smelting was started in Anatolia region (Republic of Tukey) during Late Bronze Age (from the 17th century B.C. to the 12th century B.C.). The excavation research in this site has discovered many ancient objects relating to iron melting, including egg-shaped iron-rich objects and slags formed during iron smelting. In addition to the iron smelting from the terrestrial ore, ancient people also manufactured iron products by processing iron meteorites. We study the mineralogical and chemical compositions of these iron objects, in order to understand the ancient method of iron smelting and processing.

Meteoritic iron dagger

 Chemical analyses of the ancient meteoritic iron products provide important clues for understanding the means of processing iron at that time. Our research group has conducted the non-contact and non-destructive chemical analyses for the ancient meteoritic iron dagger blade. To understand compositional changes during processing meteoritic iron, we also analyze the meteoritic iron dagger manufactured recently, and perform an experiment to manufacture an iron dagger blade from an iron meteorite.

Iron smelting products from Anatolia

 Many iron products and slags have been discovered from the archaeological sites in Anatolia. Excavated objects include ones that strongly reflects the signatures of the row materials used for iron smelting. Chemical analyses of these objects enable us to identify the mineral type of iron ore and its origin. Mineralogical signatures of slags record the thermal history during smelting. These analyses, therefore, provide valuable information on the ancient smelting technology. Moreover, we develop the dating method of the ancient objects, applying the carbon-14 dating to metallic iron. By combining chemical, mineralogical, and chronological analyses, we investigate the history of iron smelting technology in the ancient Anatolia.