Vol. 70 No. 3 (2018): Special Issue - Iron in Archaeology: Bloomery Smelters and Blacksmiths in Europe and Beyond
Research Article

The early iron metallurgy in the Siberian Arctic

Evgeny Vodyasov
Tomsk State University, 36 Lenin Ave., 634050 Tomsk

Published 01-10-2018


  • Circumpolar Region,
  • Siberia,
  • iron smelting,
  • Early Iron Age

How to Cite

Vodyasov, E. (2018). The early iron metallurgy in the Siberian Arctic. Archeologické Rozhledy, 70(3), 335–347. https://doi.org/10.35686/AR.2018.16


Archaeological excavations conducted at the settlement-sanctuary of Ust-Polui, located just north of the Arctic Circle in Western Siberia yielded the oldest remains of early iron production in the Circumpolar region of Asia. Ust-Polui archaeological finds associated with metallurgy of iron are dated back to the 3rd century BC – 2nd century AD. Hence the finds date the origins of metallurgical technologies used in the north of Western Siberia virtually several centuries back in time and geographically extend the spread of iron metallurgy between the eras significantly. It seems that Ust-Polui is the most northern point on the Earth where iron metallurgy was developed by ancient people. The discovery of new iron production site poses an important question – what are the reasons and ways of appearance of the iron smelting technologies in the Polar North of Siberia? It is possible that all knowledge was obtained from outside via contacts with metal producing societies, who lived in the eastern regions of the Ural Mountains (to the southwest of Ust-Polui), and knew how to produce iron about two thousand years ago.


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