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Department of Archaeology

Friday, 17 May, 2024 - 13:15
Event speaker: 
Elizabeth La Duc, University of Cambridge

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Title: Coal and Iron in Northern Roman Britain

Abstract: The occurrence of coal on Romano-British archaeological sites has been recognized for many years, but the evidence for how coal was actually employed was mostly circumstantial, based on the association of coal finds with artefacts.  Recent excavations of a second century blacksmithing workshop at Aldborough (Isurium Brigantum), Yorkshire, have provided some of the clearest evidence for the use of coal for metalworking.  Chemical and microstructural analysis has identified certain features in metal production debris particular to the use of coal as fuel, instead of wood-derived charcoal.  This presentation will demonstrate the use of this new methodology, which has been further applied to metalworking remains from other Roman sites in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Northumberland, including along Hadrian’s Wall.  This analysis has proven the extensive use of coal in northern Roman Britain.

Contact name: 
Rosie Crawford
Contact email: 
Event location: 
McDonald Seminar Room
Geographical areas: 
Archaeological Science
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Periods of interest: 
Classical - Roman
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