Historical Metallurgy: Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society. 2018, 52 (2), 96-109
The technology of bloomery iron production in Latvia is a little-studied topic. Only a few excavations have been undertaken, mostly during the 1950s and 60s in connection with hydropower development along the river Daugava. Sources from archives and collections have been reviewed, re-studied and re-interpreted in the light of current knowledge, as part of the TechTrans research project. Visual studies have also been performed to clarify whether the slag was tapped, as previously interpreted, or whether production could be related to the more common slag-pit technology. Archaeometallurgical samples from four of the excavated sites have been analysed to obtain information on the technology, development, processes and the quality of production. The results of this study are set in the context of the technical development of bloomery practice in neighbouring regions to identify influences that may have affected the development of bloomery iron production in Latvia during the Iron Age and medieval period.