New Worlds: Site reveals the Middle East's Iron Age secrets (Jerusalem Post via Archaeology Magazine News)
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
The Bible relates that the Philistines zealously guarded technologies for producing superior weapons so that the Israelites couldn't get their hands on them.
But it didn't last forever. A recent dig at tel Beit Shemesh has found a iron workshop dating back to the Ninth Century BCE- the earliest known in the eastern Mediterranean.
Iron was employed for many centuries in the ancient Levant, but as an exotic metal used to make small ornaments and ceremonial artifacts, according to experts involved in the dig, which was sponsored by Tel Aviv University. Most utilitarian artifacts during the 3rd to 2nd millennium BCE were made of cheaper and more malleable copper and bronze. More recent archeological research has shown that iron replaced bronze as the leading metal only around 1,000 BCE. This is due to the fact that ancient forges weren't able to reach the high melting temperature of iron (1,537 C).
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
A NINTH-CENTURY-B.C.E. IRON WORKSHOP AT BEIT SHEMESH: