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Few people think about where iron comes from. Man learned to extract it from ore not so long ago, only 3-3.5 thousand years ago in the Old World. And only a few are wondering how this technology spread to Ukraine.
The opening of one of the earliest centers of iron metallurgy in the South-Western Crimea, on Uch-Bashi, was no less a surprise for us, archaeologists, than for historians of antiquity or researchers of the history of technology. However, this is true – Crimea then became the gateway to the mainland for the world’s latest technology – human development of iron. After all, the invention of the process of ore beneficiation and obtaining a cry from it at that time can be compared with the invention of the process of atomic fission in the modern world.
The scientific literature uses the phrase “Early Iron Age” as one of the basic time terms. This era began in Europe from the Trojan War (around 1200 BC), and ends just in our time. The very essence of the term “early iron” for us still remains exclusively “terminological”, and what is hidden behind this concept in the Northern Black Sea is completely unclear today. Mostly in archaeological research, the term “day” is understood as a chronological section, and the component of the selection of such a section is pushed to the background. Thus, each era received its absolute chronology, and the boundaries were determined by general historical processes and events. However, in the middle of the twentieth century. Gordon Child stated that the archaeological era is first of all a stage in the development of technology, and only then a chronological section.Therefore, the uneven development of societies in the Old World gave rise to differences in the change of some technologies to others and differences in the time of onset of each subsequent day in different areas.
Fig. 1. Map of settlements of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture with the remains of iron production and finds of iron things: 1 – Uch-Bash; 2 – Simferopol; 3 – Druzhne-1; 4 – Dogwood-Koba; 5 – Seferek-Koba.
The finale of the previous Bronze Age in the Northern Black Sea region dates back to the time of the Belozersky culture, spread throughout the Black Sea coast from the Danube to the Don. This culture was formed in conditions of shortage of raw materials for smelting bronze things, a phenomenon then characteristic of all of Central and Southern Europe. The depletion of old deposits and the growth of demand for bronze objects led to the monopolization of the extraction of raw materials and the manufacture of bronze objects, the concentration of control over the ways of moving bronze in individual tribes. In the twelfth century. B.C. Bronze metal from the Balkans and the Carpathians, the traditional direction of obtaining bronze objects, ceased to enter the Belozersky tribes at all. It is probable that the formation of a new community, known as the Gava culture, led to the cessation of metal imports to the northern Black Sea coast.Under such conditions, the tribes began to look for another way to obtain metal and eventually partially compensated for the insufficiency by obtaining raw materials of Central Caucasian origin. In addition, the metal substitute in the Black Sea region was flint, which was used to make inserts for sickles and saws, crystalline stones, which were used to make axes, hammers, pestles and other tools or weapons. Most likely, it was the supply of raw materials for the manufacture of bronze objects from the Caucasus that caused a very rapid spread from this region to the Crimea, and then to other regions of a completely new phenomenon in metallurgy – the production of iron from ore. In the matter of production of things from iron in the early stages of its development in the Northern Black Sea coast, one of the main problems is the lack of identified patterns in the emergence of centers,and in the correlation of deposits with production centers, and in the reconstruction of the manufacturing process. Excavations in 2006-2011 in the settlement of Uch-Bash revealed a metallurgical ironworks complex dating back to the end of the ninth – first half of the eighth century. B.C. Ironworks opened in the Crimea testify to the tradition of iron mining from the Caucasus in the ninth century. B.C.
So how did bronze metallurgy differ from iron metallurgy? The fact is that the smelting of copper or bronze does not require many components and basic conditions – copper ore of appropriate quality, capacity for its smelting or even just deepening in the ground, charcoal and artificial air supply to the open-hearth furnace. All these stages are generally a physical process, further manipulation of the obtained raw material may make it more suitable for casting complex things or for forging, but the raw material has already acquired its basic qualities. Iron ore has several properties that have long made it unsuitable for processing. When smelting iron ore from ore, raising the temperature above 1300 degrees leads to the combustion of iron and turns it into scale. And ore with a high content of phosphorus forms a screed, not suitable for forging – it is too brittle.Thus, the metallurgist-ironworker faced a very difficult task – not to overheat the furnace and to enrich the iron with carbon, releasing phosphorus from it. All this is already the next step in the technical progress of mankind – the beginning of the development of chemistry.
Fig. 2. Concretions of iron ore in limestone deposits.
Why did metallurgical production appear on Uch-Bashi? The fact is that the functioning of such a center requires a number of conditions. First, it must be close to the ore deposit of the required quality. Early iron production used ores, which in geology are called rich, ie where the iron content is more than 50%. These are hematites, goethites, magnetites, and other minerals, generally represented by weak surface deposits in limestone or sand. Now these ores are almost completely selected and are not of industrial interest, so geological exploration is not engaged in the study of these deposits. Apparently, therefore, the deposit near Uch-Bash in Inkerman is not described in the geological literature. This is a typical deposit of hematite nodules in limestone deposits, which rises to the surface on the slope of Sapun Mountain in Chortova Balka opposite Uch-Bash Mountain. Concretions that can now be extracted from sediments,quite large – the size of a fist, their iron content is very high: from 50 to 80% in the samples taken for analysis. This is actually a cry, which for further processing must be enriched and extracted from it non-metallic elements. Another important characteristic of Uch-Basha ore is the absence of phosphorus or its very small percentage, which is an extremely important factor for the early period of development of iron production.
The second important factor for the emergence of iron production is the presence of refractory clays in the vicinity of the deposit. In this regard, Uch-Bash represents the outputs of excellent bentonite clays, from which the kilns and kilns of the production center were built. Bentonite was also added to the charge to enrich the crushed ore.
The third factor in the emergence of such a center is the proximity of a source of fresh water. Despite the lack of a source in modern Uch-Bashi, its existence in antiquity is beyond doubt. After all, the metalworking production of bronze objects arose in the settlement immediately after its foundation. And the powerful cultural strata, which indicate a fairly close settlement of the settlement, do not doubt the existence of a large source. The current lack of water on Uch-Bashi is due to its anthropogenic transformations and influence, especially after the destruction of its northern part by an explosion during World War II.
Fig. 3. Mining 1 in the process of cleaning (1) and the upper part of the inner working surface of the furnace 1 (2)
Another prerequisite for the emergence of an iron workshop is the high skill of local residents in non-ferrous metalworking. The fact is that the technology of obtaining iron from ore in those days probably belonged to the knowledge and skills that were kept secret and inherited by the next generation of artisans. Therefore, the entry of such technology into a new place could not happen empirically, it happened together with the bearers of this tradition. Ironwork appeared in this settlement of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture after a small period, when local dishes got into the Montenegrin (Cimmerian) burials of the south of the northern Black Sea steppes, and at the next stage this trend did not stop. It is possible that horseback riding has become a major factor in the emergence of iron centers in the Black Sea region,and the bearers of the iron craft were primarily gunsmiths. That is why the spread of iron things is associated with the appearance in the steppes of the Black Sea coast of the first nomads – the Cimmerians. For the warrior-rider, the appearance of the iron sword and dagger was not just overcoming the shortage of bronze. After all, iron has the best combat characteristics for barbed-cutting weapons – it is lighter, so the iron sword can be longer, the blade of the iron blade is sharper, causes deep large wounds, sharpens faster and easier. All these characteristics probably became the main reasons for which gunsmiths as carriers of technology moved from the centers of origin of such productions to other regions.After all, iron has the best combat characteristics for barbed-cutting weapons – it is lighter, so the iron sword can be longer, the blade of the iron blade is sharper, causes deep large wounds, sharpens faster and easier. All these characteristics probably became the main reasons for which gunsmiths as carriers of technology moved from the centers of origin of such productions to other regions.After all, iron has the best combat characteristics for barbed-cutting weapons – it is lighter, therefore, the iron sword can be longer, the blade of the iron blade is sharper, causes deep large wounds, sharpens faster and easier. All these characteristics probably became the main reasons for which gunsmiths as carriers of technology moved from the centers of origin of such productions to other regions.
It is known that the secret of making iron things was owned by the Hittites – a people who lived in Asia Minor, but it is believed that after the destruction of their kingdom in the XV century. B.C. this secret has been lost. Whether there is a connection between Hittite iron metallurgy and the emergence of the Caucasian ironworks cannot be determined at this time. Even if this connection existed, Caucasian metallurgists have made significant progress in ore processing, as Hittite objects are generally made of meteorite native iron. Ancient texts tell of a tribe of Khalibs, blacksmiths, and metallurgists who lived in the Caucasus. – in the Crimea. It is possible that artisans in the new places needed assistants,which were known for forging metal things, so the centers of iron production occur in the already existing centers of non-ferrous metalworking.
Uch-Bash shows the existence of all three basic conditions for the existence of iron production. In addition, in the previous period in this settlement there was a handicraft workshop specializing in the manufacture of ceramics and non-ferrous metalworking. All products were of extremely high quality. The production complexes were so perfect that one can speak of the existence of a separate craft at that time in the tribe of the Inkerman Valley. Therefore, the emergence of a new sophisticated technology there was quite possible.
Uch-Baska workshop has two main periods of operation. The first is represented by several small furnaces and furnaces, in which it was prepared for smelting – enriched and heated, and then smelted iron ore. The first – sub-square shape, in the filling of which next to the crushed ore were fluxes and burnt bentonite clay. The second is a dome structure more than a meter high, with a furnace deepened by 0.10-0.12 m into the oval-shaped continent 0.6 m in the largest diameter.
Fig. 4. Remains of furnace 3 (1) and furnace pits 7, 8, 12 (2).
Below the roots of these furnaces was found a round spot, which was the remains of the hearth of the disassembled furnace. On the surface of the spot under the ramming were found several fragments of one vessel – korchaga, covered with brown-orange gloss with a sticky ornament in the form of an inverted lunnitsa, divided in half. The ornament is made of an adhesive subtriangled strip applied to the gloss – a typical ornamental technique of this Uch-Basha horizon. Such signs on ceramics are typical for synchronous Uch-Basha complexes (second half of the ninth – middle of the VIII century BC), and outside the Crimea it is most common on another monument of ancient metallurgists – in the material of the necropolis Serzhen-Yurt in Chechnya. .
The second period of operation of the workshop is the workplace of a blacksmith with a furnace and an anvil and several pairs of furnaces for making cries. The furnaces of the second period functioned, most likely, on two. They were built at a distance of about 2 m from each other, the diameter of the round furnace is about 1 m, fixed at a height of more than a meter. The blacksmith’s furnace had a complex structure and considerable size, like the anvil. They were located on both sides of the working pit, where the blacksmith stood, the mine – on the left hand, and the anvil – on the right. The anvil, or folded stone table, was an oval structure oriented meridionally, from the southeast paved with large flat marl slabs with a blockage of large flat hewn slabs and a pit-recess. The stones had a rectangular or subrectangular shape and almost the same thickness. In some of the largest slabs, the surviving angleswere trimmed under 90at. One of the largest slag slabs split into two parts had traces of heavy tools on the surface (cracks, chipped edges, polished surface) and high temperature. Removal of the debris blockage stones revealed one slab lying horizontally in situ 0.9 m below the flat stones. This plate measuring 0.8×0.6×0.5 m also had a beaten polished and burnt front surface. It lay on a mainland ledge, which descends a step to the central part of the pit by 0.85 m. Below this ledge by 0.3 m was another mainland ledge and 0.4 m – a small step in the central part of the pit of the pit. Apparently, on the ledges at first lay fallen stones in the recess, which are probably an anvil of fairly large size. Along the middle terrace from its exposed part to the pit there was a deepened passage,two steps for descent before deepening of an anvil are fixed.
In the north-western part of the complex below the floor level on the bentonite continent was found a whole skull and bones of the limbs of a ram. Since the find was made at the very edge of the pit and is in fact contextless, it is not correct to link it directly to the metallurgical complex. But the absence of any signs of other archaeological sites in this place suggests the importance of these bones as collateral, especially since the skull of the animal was not crushed.
Fig. 5. Shouts from the ironworks: 1 – from the filling of the blacksmith’s furnace; 2 – from the ancient day surface near the furnace 3; 3 – sawn core of the cry from the blacksmith’s furnace (a, c – edges, b – middle).
No heaps of industrial waste, one of the main components of the early ironworks, were found on the investigated area of the workshop. However, it should be borne in mind that the complex is partially preserved.
There are no finds of products in the workshop, as in other similar workshops, because iron things at that time were valued more than gold, and no one scattered them. However, there are findings of tools that can be associated with blacksmithing or iron production. These are blacksmith’s hammers, axes, grinders, pestles, nozzles and abrasives. Numerous finds of slagged stones, burnt fluxes, large and small fragments of charcoal, residues of enriched ore and slag. There are finds of bronze drops, which indicates the production of bimetallic things.
The elementary composition of production residues for filling the workshop facilities demonstrates the following patterns. The first group, which we conditionally take as a standard, are ores. It consists of samples of ore from ancient mines near the settlement and nodules from the layers of the metallurgical complex, the composition of which is identical to pure raw ore taken directly from the deposit. The second group presents the remains of production of its various stages. The closest to the ore percentages of metals and nonmetals have samples from the ancient day surface in the furnace 3 and from the remnants of the filling of the furnace 3.
Extremely interesting finding of a cry in filling of a blacksmith’s furnace. The artifact was an amorphous, shapeless clot of slag and oxides. When spraying, it was found that inside the clot is a core of flattened round shape, which during polishing gave a metallic luster. Analysis of this nucleus showed a high iron content and lack of calcium. The sprayed surface showed several thin horizontal streaks of slag, which after some time after being in the room, began to flake off. Probably, this sample can be the closest to the characteristics of the metal obtained in the ironworks.
A bronze drop from the air injection channel 1 (blacksmith’s) was also analyzed. The drop represents tin bronze with high (tenths of%) impurities of antimony, arsenic, nickel, zinc. Analysis of clay residues from rock crevices in the walls of the ancient mine under the furnace 1 showed that the crack was initially filled with high quality bentonite. Adjacent clays do not have such characteristics.
What was the production process in this workshop, at the present stage of development of the problem can only be assumed. As noted in the literature, the process was quite primitive and consisted of obtaining screams, depending on the qualities of the ore in the field. This method of production from ores with a high percentage of iron is known in the monuments of Eastern Georgia, Colchis, Kursk Poseym, Poland. Similar to the Caucasian metallurgical centers is the principle of organizing a working space or workshop, as well as the method of construction of furnaces.
In the absence of ready-made items, but in the presence of ores and production residues, we can assume that iron production in the Uchbas settlement took place like several other early ironworks known in the Caucasus. A typical for the North Caucasus Serzhenyurt necropolis image-ornament on front vessels in the form of an inverted lunnitsa with a shoot in the middle or a bird’s paw was found in the Uchbas settlement. A similar image is known on other monuments of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture of this period (Kyzyl-Koba, Druzhne), such a sticker is applied to the body of a biconical korchaga from the inventory half-folded on the side of burial 2, kurg. 1 in the village. Bulakhivka. Its early prototypes, in contrast to the Caucasian and Crimean, are not sticky, but fluted, known in the ceramics of Asia Minor. A similar sticker image is found in the layers of Troy.In the early pre-Taurian period, the tribes of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture had close ties with the population of the Koban culture in the Caucasus, which is confirmed in the material culture of the Crimean mountaineers, and the possibility of a metallurgical center in Crimea specializing in hematite. Caucasian ferrous metallurgy, thus receives several indirect confirmations. The tradition of processing iron from Volga-Kamya materials at about the same time, which was probably obtained from hematite ores, may continue to spread the horizon of the technology to the whole steppe part of Eastern Europe, but such technology could get into the local environment of different territories. in different ways.which is confirmed in the material culture of the Crimean mountaineers, and the possibility of the existence in the Crimea of a metallurgical center specializing in the processing of hematite, an iron-bearing rock typical of early Caucasian ferrous metallurgy, thus receives several indirect confirmations. The tradition of processing iron from Volga-Kamya materials at about the same time, which was probably obtained from hematite ores, may continue to spread the horizon of the technology to the whole steppe part of Eastern Europe, but such technology could get into the local environment of different territories. in different ways.which is confirmed in the material culture of the Crimean mountaineers, and the possibility of the existence in the Crimea of a metallurgical center specializing in the processing of hematite, an iron-bearing rock typical of early Caucasian ferrous metallurgy, thus receives several indirect confirmations. The tradition of processing iron from Volga-Kamya materials at about the same time, which was probably obtained from hematite ores, may continue to spread the horizon of the technology to the whole steppe part of Eastern Europe, but such technology could get into the local environment of different territories. in different ways.thus receives several indirect confirmations. The tradition of processing iron from Volga-Kamya materials at about the same time, which was probably also obtained from hematite ores, may continue to spread the horizon of the technology to the whole steppe part of Eastern Europe, but such technology could enter the local environment of different territories. in different ways.thus receives several indirect confirmations. The tradition of processing iron from Volga-Kamya materials at about the same time, which was probably obtained from hematite ores, may continue to spread the horizon of the technology to the whole steppe part of Eastern Europe, but such technology could get into the local environment of different territories. in different ways.
Absolute analogues of such a workshop in the cultures of early iron of the Northern Black Sea coast could not be found, but the early metallurgical complexes are known. Remains of a ground furnace with a foothill pit and a slag dump were found in the settlement of Lymanskoye Lake of the Bondarykhin culture (XIII-X centuries BC) near the village of Dronivka, Artemivs’kyi district, Donetsk region However, there is a significant difference: if hematite was used as a raw material in Uch-Bashi, then swamp ores were used for iron smelting on Lake Lyman. Slag kilns are known in the forest-steppe monuments of the Northern Black Sea coast a little later. Blast furnace slag furnaces became widespread after one and a half to two centuries in Scythian times; such constructions are open on Sharpivsky and Kamyansky settlements. They are most likelyinextricably linked with another type of ore and distributed through a different from the previous process of obtaining the ore. It was found using other ores, not as rich as hematite, magnetite and the like. Therefore, the question of dating the complex from Lake Lyman remains open. It is possible that this furnace did not have a slag ejection, its hole was taken to be a hole for creating natural draft or a device for artificial injection of air (bellows). It is possible that this hole is the result of removing the scream after the smelting process, but the published materials can not determine this.that this furnace did not have a slag emission, for its opening the opening for creation of natural draft or the device for artificial injection of air (bags) was accepted. It is possible that this hole is the result of removing the scream after the smelting process, but the published materials can not determine this.that this furnace did not have a slag emission, for its opening the opening for creation of natural draft or the device for artificial injection of air (bags) was accepted. It is possible that this hole is the result of removing the scream after the smelting process, but the published materials can not determine this.
According to Uch-Basha, there is reason to talk about the opening of one of the earliest centers of iron production in the Northern Black Sea coast against the background of the already known Caucasian and the supposed Carpathian-Danube. This interpretation of the complex discovered at Uch-Bashi does not contradict its interpretation – the end of the IX-VIII centuries. B.C. According to experts, it is at this time that the period of mastery of iron processing in Eastern Europe comes to an end. The synchronous process took place in the population of the Central Caucasus. In this context, the recent discovery of a metallurgical workshop with iron slag and forging waste in the Middle East in Palestine, dating from the end of the 9th to the end of the 8th century, is also interesting. BC, which is one of the earliest such industries in the region.
As a confirmation of the existence of the center, and not a separate episodic production is also the opening of iron production based on ore with high iron content and low or zero phosphorus in the east of the Crimean mountains at the spurs of Karabi-yayla in Seferek-Koba tract, Kobin culture of the VIII century. B.C.
The historical interpretation of this center of iron metallurgy brings us back to the somewhat forgotten concept of AI Terenozhkin about the direct connection of the spread of iron production with the Cimmerian tribes, with whom the researcher associated Montenegrin and Novocherkassk antiquities of the Northern Black Sea.
Finds of iron products, although not numerous in the Crimea, are known in a number of settlements that correspond in time with the workshops opened in Uch-Bashi and Seferek-Kobe. An iron awl was found on the eponymous monument Kyzyl-Koba, an iron knife and attachments come from the settlement of Druzhne-1. An iron ax was found in the economic pit of the Simferopol settlement. The Kyzyl-Kobyn settlement originates in the younger pre-Taurian period, ie at the time of the appearance of iron production on Uch-Bash, it contains a layer synchronous with the next horizon of Uch-Bash. Druzhne-1, judging by the publication of the material, also contains material from these Uch-Basha horizons. The Simferopol settlement is synchronized with the early horizons of the next Taurian period, the settlements and cemeteries of this period of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture already contain much more iron products,among which are weapons, horse equipment, jewelry, tools, etc.
It should also be noted that both ironworks and iron products come from settlements located on the northern spurs of the inner quest of the Crimean Mountains near the beams formed by generally latitudinal tectonic faults, where, in fact, surface ore deposits were found. Therefore, it is possible that Uch-Bash and Seferek-Koba are not the only settlements of the Kyzyl-Kobyn culture, the functioning of which is associated with metallurgy.
In the forest and forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe, iron production is also recorded on the monuments of the Bondarykhin culture, in the synchronous cultures of the Right-Bank Polissya. But the method of production there is significantly different from that opened in the Crimea. This is a primitive method of smelting in the pit furnace of limonite – bog ore. The metal obtained in this way was mostly not very high quality, but the subsequent transition in Scythian times to bog ores with the improvement of furnaces and kilns and the accumulation of knowledge and skills about the process of ore beneficiation and metal hardening, most likely contained the experience of northern metallurgists. ironworkers.