Thames Valley Archaeological Services Monograph: Volume 16
Iron Age Iron Production Sites in Berkshire:
Excavations 2003 - 2012
edited by Steve Preston
The archaeological record for the Iron Age has been surprisingly short on iron - use of objects made of iron is rather limited, and there are remarkably few known production sites. Recent excavations in Berkshire, backed by a programme of radiocarbon dating, have begun to change that. At Sindlesham, a buried dump of slag consisted of what seems to be the largest quantity of Iron Age iron slag so far recorded in the country, associated with a series of simple pit furnaces for smelting, charcoal clamps and ore roasting pits, and provided a series of radiocarbon dates spanning the early and middle Iron Age, with evidence of unexpected re-use of the site in the Saxon period. At Three Mile Cross, near Reading, iron production covering a similar date range was on a much smaller scale; coincidentally also with Saxon re-use. A third small site at Finchampstead also produced a single middle Iron Age furnace used for iron smelting.
Analysis of the slags reveals that the raw material source was probably bog ore, low grade ore but widely available, so that the locations of production sites seem to have been more dependent on a fuel source (wood for charcoal) than on the ores themselves.
This volume also presents the results of an excavation at an Iron Age, Roman and Saxon settlement site at Bisham, and analysis of a 'currency bar' from Reading.
A4 soft cover, 118pp, illustrated throughout including 27 colour plates.