Tales of the Iron Bloomery
Bernt Rundberget, NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
In Tales of the Iron Bloomery Bernt Rundberget examines the ironmaking in southern Hedmark in Norway in the period AD 700-1300. Excavations show that this method is distinctive and geographically limited; this is expressed by the technology, organization, development and large-scale production.
The ironmaking practice had its origins in increasing demands for iron, due to growth in urbanization, church power, kingship and mercantile networks. Rundberget’s main hypothesis is that iron became the economic basis for political developments, from chiefdom to kingdom. Iron extraction activity grew from the late Viking Age, throughout the early medieval period, before it came to a sudden collapse around AD 1300. This trend correlates with the rise and fall of the kingdom.