Vol. 67 No. 4 (2015)

The reduction of lead by iron?

Milan Holub
Malý Beranov 8, CZ-586 03

Published 01-12-2015


  • Silesia,
  • Middle Ages,
  • metallurgy,
  • lead,
  • iron

How to Cite

Holub, M. (2015). The reduction of lead by iron?. Archeologické Rozhledy, 67(4), 654–671. https://doi.org/10.35686/AR.2015.32


Dariusz Rozmus and his co-workers have come to the conclusion in recent years that metallurgists in Silesia between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries used an original and ‘later forgotten’ method to smelt lead ores in a process they describe as the ‘reduction of lead by iron’. When certain conditions are maintained, lead ore truly can be reduced by iron and/or iron oxide. The basic condition for using this method is the separation of the charge from the carbon-containing fuel (wood, charcoal) in the furnace – for example by placing the charge in crucibles. Carbon and carbon monoxide are stronger reductants than iron and its compounds. The division of the ore charge and the fuel were not proven in the studied features. Meriting attention from the research, however (something the authors neglected to study in great detail), is the demonstrable use of iron-making slag as part of the lining of the lead smelting furnace.


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