Indonesian megalithic site

Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 05:19 am
Gunung Padang






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Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 05:41 am
Ive read about the site and the 2012 expedition and C14 dates . There is evidence of multicultural layers that go as deep(so far) as 9 meters. The surdiv=cial site is about 4500-to 6500 Carbon dates . The deeper levels beginning at about 8 meters are as old as 16000 bp.
The interesting thing Ive read is the evidence of some kinds of metallurgy. From my reading , the "Steel" was actually fayalite a product that was being produced via "iron bloomeries" and ancient blacksmithing. The iron produced from a bloomery was about 50/50 Fe/Si so it was brittle until successive folding and hammering would introduce more malleability and carbon would be removed and the result would have been an early Damascus.Chances are, from this area , they would have found some hard rock like diorite or basalt on which they could hammer the fayalite
Still , a possible 6500 Ybp is pretty good for a bloomery
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Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 06:42 am
That would be the seventh century BCE. This is from the Wikipedia article on ferrous metallurgy.

Ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on iron. It began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 5th millennium BC in Iran and 2nd millennium BC in China, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from South of the Saharan Africa to China. The use of wrought iron was known in the 1st millennium BC. During the medieval period, means were found in Europe of producing wrought iron from cast iron (in this context known as pig iron) using finery forges. For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel.

Would not a find which pushed back the history of iron-making by 2000 years have rocked the archaeological world? Would that not have been BIG NEWS?
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 08:45 am
bloomeries were the first reall attempts at production based iron smeting. The folks would use whatever they had as low grade ore (iron nickel meteorites being an exception because they could be heated and directly forged into a steel and those were few and far between).

Bloomeries alwayys produces an Iron Silica mix called Fayalite and every iron culture seemed to start with iron blooms because it was n easy discovery from a campfire where some lower content iron ore (bog ore, hematite, siderite, pyrite etc) could be converted into this mush
called iron bloom and continued heating and pounding would lead to a

more refined product that could be used for weapons .

ALSO FROM WIKIPEDIA (under Iron bloomeries)
of ferrous metallurgy

The onset of the Iron Age in most parts of the world coincides with the first widespread use of the bloomery. While earlier examples of iron are found, their high nickel content indicates that this is meteoric iron. Other early samples of iron may have been produced by accidental introduction of iron ore in bronze smelting operations. Iron appears to have been smelted in the West as early as 3000 BC, but bronze smiths, not being familiar with iron, did not put it to use until much later. In the West, iron began to be used around 1200 BC.[citation needed]

Fayalite and Forsterite are two minerals that form OLIVINE. They are separate forms of silicate (Mg and Fe). The increasing appearance of fayalite "Bloom" in the Neolithic may have been accidental introduction of olivine boulders into fire pits (or as some say, an accidental introduction into bronze making)
The temperature of "Smelting" is low enough to actually occur in big enough campfires and, after the fires had burnt out and cooled, digging into the ashes had revealed the iron (fayalite) bloom. Industrial use of an actual manufactured bloomer came shortly thereafter and iron , of varying purities was able to be made.
It didn't require any charcoal smelting for purification. The blooms were merely refined in the next fire until it was relatively silica and carbon free.

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Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 08:52 am
OK, the Wikipedia article cites this as their source for the dates of the first use of iron in metallurgy:

E. Photos, 'The Question of Meteoritic versus Smelted Nickel-Rich Iron: Archaeological Evidence and Experimental Results' World Archaeology Vol. 20, No. 3, Archaeometallurgy (February 1989), pp. 403-421.

So my question is, are you saying that the people on Java were engaged in iron metallurgy about 2000 years before the folks in Iran?
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 10:32 am
I cant say that anyones right or wrong. Its just that the given evidence says that there is an indication of an early use of iron and I have no way to affirm or deny.
Its just that iron bloomery is not rocket science and its a natural outgrowth of use of dedicated fire pits and uses of red ochre .Red ochre, or "Bog iron ores"(limonite or goethite) were routinely calcined in fires to make the brighter ochre powders. If even more heat were added, the ochre could oxidize and form a bloom which is like a spongy form or soft malleable iron (if a sandstone or shale were used for the fire pit blocks)
I can then see how the evidence shows how an , "accidentally discovered" early iron culture could develop. Iron blooms were discovered independently all over and were used well into the middle ages and even in colonial AMmerica before foundries were built around these huge bog ore deposits of the US coastal plain.
However,Im not certain theyre correct, but the evidence does show the presence of some kind of iron work and bloomery was one of the first industrial tricks out of the box.

Smelting of taenite and kamacite (from meteors) is even easier, it didn't take a huge industrial know-how, just a big hot fire and some kind of crucible. That's why I doubt that ascribing an industrial iron age to "first discoveries " of steel are even valid, because its harder to bloom iron than it is to smelt the two iron/nickel and nickel/iron minerals together to form a knife blade by hammer and quench methods.
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 06:10 pm
Often the basis for science involves loving the questions more than the answers. Evidence shows a bit of metallurgy involving iron. That leads us to several interesting paths of inquiry , the favorite of mine is often
1. Are these heretofore "established" dates of this or that process even correct? Our samples of many items in nature are often revisited and recalculated based on new data. Im willing to request that we take closer looks at the trail of evidence that any small anomaly presents.
2. How consistent and good is the present data herein and why should anyone even give it some time of consideration/

3LASTLY and most important (to me) whats the chain of evidentiary custody and Quality Assurance that was involved. If its done with the same sloppy science like the guys that were searching for
NOAH's ARK, Check please!
Reply Sat 1 Mar, 2014 06:16 pm
Well, i asked because that is what historiography is all about, getting to the most reliable evidence. I really don't have any stake in what "historical truth" is--if it were proven that iron were smelted first on Java rather than in Persia, i'm OK with that.
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