image/svg+xml143XIII/2/2022INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euFirst Archaeometrical Approach of the Examinations of Iron Age Ferrous Fragments from Regöly and Bükkábrány (Hungary) – The Inception of Iron Working in the Carpathian Basin?Béla Török1*, Péter Barkóczy2, Géza Szabó31Institute of Metallurgy, University of Miskolc, 3515 Miskolc-Egyetemváros, Hungary2Institute of Physical Metallurgy, Metalforming and Nanotechnology, University of Miskolc, 3515 Miskolc-Egyetemváros, Hungary3Wosinsky Mór Museum, 7100 Szekszárd, Szent István tér 26, Hungary1. IntroductionIn carrying out archaeological research of iron cultures in the greater regions of Europe, one must consider that the required knowledge to process iron – as a raw material, its production from iron ores through deliberate reduction with diferent pyrometallurgical methods, and the manufacturing practices of iron objects generally – have appeared in distinct separate periods in diferent regions (Pleiner, 2000, pp.28–31). As such, this is equally true for the research into iron cultures of the Carpathian Basin.The peoples of Asia Minor acquired iron metallurgy technology around 2000 BC, during the Bronze Age, being closely connected with copper alloy metallurgy (Tylecote, 1992, p.47). Subsequently such technology spread through Europe between 1500 and 600 BC (Pleiner, 2000, p.268). In addition to the early European copper alloy metallurgical sites found in the Mediterranean (Tylecote, 1992, p.54), the beginning of the Iron Age in Central Europe can also be traced back to between 750 and 700 BC, one of the Volume XIII ● Issue 2/2022 ● Pages 143–154*Corresponding author. E-mail: bela.torok@uni-miskolc.huARTICLE INFOArticle history:Received: 3rdMarch 2022Accepted: 15thSeptember 2022DOI: words:iron, metallurgyCarpathian Basinoptical microscopySEM-EDSABSTRACTThe emergence, spread and development of iron working in the Carpathian Basin is an essential and interdisciplinary research feld, an important stage of which being the results of the archaeometallurgical-archaeomaterial examinations presented in this article. The excavation site of Regöly (Hungary) represents a special source from the earliest Iron culture of the Carpathian Basin, and using the results of metallographic analysis our aim is to place the examined objects in their proper context with regard to the process of iron working. One fragment found in the tumulus of Regöly during the excavation 2011–2012 has been presumed part of an iron bloom; this may be the earliest example of iron working in the Carpathian Basin (630–600 BC). From both an historical and technological point of view this raises several questions. One aim of our study is to characterise the fragments in order to fgure out what kind of processing has been applied and ultimately see how the ‘iron bloom’ fragment can be connected in any way to the other iron objects found at the site. Examinations were carried out by optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS) on both the iron objects and the bloom fragment. Metallographic analysis revealed a very specifc microstructure, indicating that the bloom fragment is not a direct product that came directly from the bloomery furnace; it could be a secondary or even tertiary product (prefabricated) instead. However, regarding the bloom fragment, there is evidence of a forging method. During the tests, slag inclusions were also examined. The results from Regöly were also compared with other fnds from a Celtic workshop-type site (Bükkábrány, 320–200 BC). Although a direct connection between the examined iron objects and the iron bloom fragment (as possible raw material) cannot be confrmed, the iron artefacts and fragments of Regöly might easily have been made from some basic material as represented by the fragment of an iron bloom or bar. Even though the fnd from Regöly does not defnitively provide the earliest evidence for iron smelting technology in the Carpathian Basin area, it does give evidence for some form of iron forging from a semi-fnished product.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2022 ● XIII/2 ● 143–154Béla Török, Péter Barkóczy, Géza Szabó: First Archaeometrical Approach of the Examinations of Iron Age Ferrous Fragments from Regöly and Bükkábrány (Hungary) – The Inception of Iron Working in the Carpathian Basin?144best examples being the Austrian Hallstatt-Culture sites (Habashi, 1994, p.62; Pleiner, 2000, p.269). The impact of the Iron Age can be clearly seen as it was introduced along the Danube River (Tylecote, 1992, p.54). Buchwald (2005, p.74) describes the spread of the handling of iron and its metallurgy in Europe as a process that spanned from 1200 to 300 BC, from the Anatolian “cradle of technology” through the Mediterranean and Caucasus to the North, and through to Egypt in the South. The formation of the Central European iron culture is connected to the Hallstatt cultures, the prime age being related to the Celtic tribes of the 5thcentury BC (Buchwald, 2005, Chapter 5).With regard to the Carpathian Basin, another signifcant infuence of note is that originating from Western Siberia, a continuation of the northbound spread of the iron metallurgy from Asia Minor. According to Gömöri (2000, p.219), the ancient technology was brought to the Carpathian Basin by the Scythians who moved westward from the Sarmatians. However, despite the intensive Celtic iron-working activity and Pannonian Roman forges in the surrounding area, the earliest traces of furnaces which were sufcient for the bloomery process had only been found on sites in Hungary that related to the Avar culture (7th–8thcentury AD) (Gömöri, 2000). The oldest iron slag found within the territory of modern Hungary belongs to the fndings of a pre-Scythian tomb (Patek, 1984).Iron blooms – the primary products of ancient iron metallurgy – are sporadically known from the Late Bronze Age. One of the oldest blooms found in the Carpathian Basin (Torna’la, South-Slovakia, Hallstatt B3) weighs 2.5 kilograms and is considered to be unique. From this raw material alone, it would be possible to make 3 longswords, 6–8 axe heads, or a hundred smaller knives (Furmánek, 1988). In addition, numerous blooms weighing 1–2 kg have been found in modern Slovakia that originated from the Hallstatt culture (particularly from the south-western foothills of the Carpathians), although a great portion of these belong to objects identifed as forges. These low-phosphorus-content blooms were heterogeneous in quality, with a composition ranging from pure ferrite to pearlite and a carbon content of between 0.02% and 0.7% (Pleiner, 2000, p.231).The artefacts excavated in 2011–2012 at the site of Regöly (located between Lake Balaton and the Danube in Hungary, see Figure 1) can play a key role in the research of the Early Iron Age in Europe. Almost seven thousand pieces of metal, ceramics, bones, and lithic fnds have been excavated from the central part of a mound (tumulus). Based on the structure of the mound and archaeological examination of the pottery sherds, the metal objects can be assumed to have connections both to the east (Scythian culture) and west (Hallstatt culture) (Fekete-Szabó, 2015 and 2017). According to our current knowledge, the fragment of a presumed iron bloom (Figure 4a) from the Regöly site may be the earliest example of iron working in the Carpathian Basin (630–600 BC) This then raises several questions from both historical and technological points of view.From 630 BC, in the southwest area of present-day Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia, and the area alongside the Danube to the Adriatic Sea, there were several archaeological groups that related to the material cultures of eastern Asia (Regöly, Kaptol and Martijanec).According to Herodotus, these can be identifed with various tribes of the Sigynnae (Szabó and Fekete, 2014; Szabó, 2020). As far as their origins are concerned, they were probably of the Medes,