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Early humans smelting iron

Early humans smelting iron

V200/0231

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Early humans smelting and working iron, coloured artwork. The high temperatures required to obtain iron metal from its ore were not possible until the development of advanced smelting techniques. The furnace used here has a chimney to draw in air through the entrance, and steps either side. Charcoal (across bottom) is used to reduce the ore and obtain the molten iron. The iron is then beaten into shape using a hammer and anvil (centre left). The Iron Age, which began around 1200 BC, followed the Bronze Age. Original artwork published in Primitive Man (Louis Figuier, 1870).

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