The iron beads that had piqued Øien’s interest were only 1 to1.5 millimetres in diameter. But they were sufficient to make her realize they might be residue from a smithy. It turned out she was right, but the number of forges on the small field surprised everyone.
“We found three different types of forges”, Øien says. “Some were small and circular, some were indoors, and a third type was in the shape of a figure eight. Findings suggest the smiths used one half of the figure-eight shaped forges for the rough work before refining the iron in the other forges.”
The excavations uncovered more than 200 construction-related artefacts, including post holes, forges, fireplaces and wall ditches. “Even though we have only uncovered half of the area, we have already found seven forges”, says Preben Rønne, the museum’s project manager for the site. “This cluster suggest some kind of early industrial activity, in the sense that clearly they had large scale production.”