Archaeologists Discover a ‘High-End’ Blacksmith’s Iron Age Workshop

Archaeologists Discover a ‘High-End’ Blacksmith’s Iron Age Workshop


A visual reconstruction of the workshop, which was active near the start of Britain’s Iron Age

Researchers have unearthed a “master blacksmith’s” Iron Age workshop—complete with forgery equipment and metal fragments—in the English countryside. Dating back some 2,700 years, the discovery sheds new light on the beginning of the region’s rich metalworking history.

The blacksmith’s workshop—or “smithy”—was found during a dig in Oxfordshire by the excavation company DigVentures. Radiocarbon dating suggests it was likely active between 770 and 515 B.C.E., near the beginning of Britain’s Iron Age. Researchers tell the Guardian’s Dalya Alberge they are “completely blown away” by the site’s age and contents.

“This is a rare glimpse of a master craftsperson at work from such a pivotal point in time—the arrival of ironworking in Britain,” says DigVentures archaeologist Maiya Pina-Dacier.

Beginning in about 800 B.C.E. with the arrival of ironworking methods from southern Europe, Britain’s Iron Age lasted until roughly 43 C.E. “Iron was stronger and more plentiful than bronze, and ironworking revolutionized several aspects of life, most importantly agriculture,” according to the University of Warwick.


The smithy was excavated near Oxfordshire’s Wittenham Clumps.


The dig site is located near Wittenham Clumps, a landmark in the region owned by the charity Earth Trust. BBC News’ Stephen Stafford reports that researchers excavated the smithy between 2018 and 2020.

“Evidence suggests that this wasn’t just your average village blacksmith,” writes DigVentures in a Facebook post. “It’s an early example of an extremely skilled ‘master blacksmith’ producing large or high-end items.”

In addition to the building’s remains, the team found evidence of forgery equipment, such as hearth lining and an iron bar, and tiny bits of metal that might have flown off as the blacksmith hammered the iron, according to a statement from Earth Trust. They also unearthed an intact tuyere, a tube used to blow air into the hearth.

Finding a complete tuyere from this era is “exceedingly rare, not only in Britain, but in Europe,” Pina-Dacier tells the Guardian. She says that the size of this particular tuyere—the researchers can be seen holding it with two hands—provides clues about the size of the hearth, which was likely larger than average.


A large tuyere was found at the dig site, suggesting the workshop produced large iron products.


“You’d need a big hearth if you’re producing something large or long, and those things in the Iron Age are swords and cart wheels,” she adds. “Those kinds of artifacts can only be produced by the crème de la crème of smithies. This workshop was a very serious blacksmithing operation.”

The smithy isn’t the first significant find unearthed at Wittenham Clumps. Other Iron Age buildings—a cluster of roundhouses and a pantry—have been found at the site, as well as a Roman villa containing the remains of a tiny pet dog.

Artifacts from the blacksmith’s workshop will go on display at Earth Trust’s visitor center in the nearby town of Abingdon during its Archaeology Festival of Discovery in February.

Excavation leader Nat Jackson, a site director at DigVentures, thinks the wide range of artifacts unearthed at the site is “remarkable.”

“We’ve got almost every component of the blacksmith’s workshop,” he says in Earth Trust’s statement. “The only thing we haven’t found is the tools. It’s an incredible thrill to uncover something like this. It basically allows us to peer back in time and see what can have been one of Britain’s earliest master blacksmiths at work.”

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.

Disasters Expo USA, is proud to be supported by Inergency for their next upcoming edition on March 6th & 7th 2024!

The leading event mitigating the world’s most costly disasters is returning to the Miami Beach

Convention Center and we want you to join us at the industry’s central platform for emergency management professionals.
Disasters Expo USA is proud to provide a central platform for the industry to connect and
engage with the industry’s leading professionals to better prepare, protect, prevent, respond
and recover from the disasters of today.
Hosting a dedicated platform for the convergence of disaster risk reduction, the keynote line up for Disasters Expo USA 2024 will provide an insight into successful case studies and
programs to accurately prepare for disasters. Featuring sessions from the likes of The Federal Emergency Management Agency,
NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, TSA and several more this event is certainly providing you with the knowledge
required to prepare, respond and recover to disasters.
With over 50 hours worth of unmissable content, exciting new features such as their Disaster
Resilience Roundtable, Emergency Response Live, an Immersive Hurricane Simulation and
much more over just two days, you are guaranteed to gain an all-encompassing insight into
the industry to tackle the challenges of disasters.
By uniting global disaster risk management experts, well experienced emergency
responders and the leading innovators from the world, the event is the hub of the solutions
that provide attendees with tools that they can use to protect the communities and mitigate
the damage from disasters.
Tickets for the event are $119, but we have been given the promo code: HUGI100 that will
enable you to attend the event for FREE!

So don’t miss out and register today:

And in case you missed it, here is our ultimate road trip playlist is the perfect mix of podcasts, and hidden gems that will keep you energized for the entire journey


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More