Ancient Iron Making in India

Prakash, B (1997) Ancient Iron Making in India. In: Iron and Steel Heritage of India, November, 1997, IIM & Tata Steel, Jamshedpur.



The discovery of Agni (i.e., fire) has been very closely related with the process of human civilization and it has been worshipped during the Vedic period or even earlier. The havankund has been described as the open air labo-ratory of the Vedic people and they had gained ample know-ledge about the physics and chemistry offire. The beg-inning of pyrotechnology could be traced to the Vedic period when man worshipped Agni for blessings of metals like gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and their alloys. The archaeological evidence has confirmed that iron technology began only during the late second mille-nnium BC and it has been proved to be of indigenous origin. The paper gives a brief review of the ancient Indian community associated with this craft, viz., Agarias and other tribes worshipping God `Asura'. They developed their own secret technology of iron smelting to produce iron and steel of excellent quality. Their practice of charcoal iron smelting was considered to have stopped at least for the past one century but recent surveys have traced it to continue to be practiced in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Eastern U. P. and Bihar. It has provided an opportunity to study this ancient craft, its thermo-chemistry and process control as well as the details of the furnace construction and its operation. The high level of skill in smelting sponge iron blooms and its refining to produce tonnes of iron is certified by the uniformity of composition of the corrosion resistant iron used in the manufacture of some of the heaviest ancient forgings existing in the country.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL/DOI:
Uncontrolled Keywords:gold; silver; copper; iron
Divisions:Metal Extraction and Forming
ID Code:5797
Deposited By:Sahu A K
Deposited On:13 Jul 2012 10:24
Last Modified:13 Jul 2012 10:24
Related URLs:

Repository Staff Only: item control page