Medieval foundry discovered on shore of Lake Baikal
Archaeologists walking to a beauty spot on Lake Baikal chanced across the 'unique' ancient furnaces after noticing slag and clay coating on a rough road used by tourists to access the shoreline. Tests with geophysical equipment confirmed the presence of underground structures.
|Two furnaces made of stone were unearthed, believed to have been used to smelt iron ore for weapons such as knives, |
arrowheads and quiver hooks [Credit: Artur Kharinsky]
Professor Artur Kharinsky, of Irkutsk National Research Technical University, said: 'We are lucky to find this. Firstly, we managed to find and save these unusual remains of ancient metallurgy from destruction.
'Secondly, we found evidence of advanced metallurgical technology dating back to around 1000 AD. We will get a more precise age of the finds after radiocarbon analysis.'
|Professor Artur Kharinsky said: 'We are lucky to find this. Firstly, we managed to find and save these unusual|
remains of ancient metallurgy from destruction' [Credit: Artur Kharinsky]
The site is located on a hill several dozen metres from the lake. It seems to have been chosen for optimum wind need for the combustion process. Had the excavation not gone ahead, tourist traffic could have destroyed the site.
The furnaces are from the oldest in this part of Siberia, but they highlight a more sophisticated level of metallurgical development than previously known for this period.
|The furnaces are from the oldest in this part of Siberia, but they highlight a more sophisticated level of metallurgical |
development than previously known for this period [Credit: Artur Kharinsky]
'We found numerous underground forges, which looked like funnel-shaped pits. They were dug out in the loam. In particular, such finds were discovered near the villages of Kurma and Shara-Tagot.
'Judging by the amount of iron, which can be produced with such forges, the locals managed not only to meet the needs of their own territory, but also to export production to neighbouring areas.'
The latest find, at Shida Bay on Lake Baikal, in Irkutsk region, are 1,000 years younger 'and show more advanced technology. The location is about 260 kilometres northeast of Irkutsk.
'It is obvious that the people who lived here, despite all the migration processes, managed to keep, pass on, and improve the metallurgical technologies from generation to generation.'
Source: The Siberian Times [June 30, 2016]