Monday, May 26, 2008

Casting light on the so-called Dark Ages

We know so little, and if nothing else the web gives us a chance to learn about things.

From TMS:

The demise of the Roman Empire during the mid-fifth century A.D. resulted in the rise of one of Europe’s longest ruling families of the Middle Ages: the Merovingians. The Merovingian dynasty lasted from the mid-fifth to the mid-eighth centuries A.D. and at its height controlled states that stretched across France, Belgium, Germany west of the Rhineland, and most of Switzerland. Archaeometallurgists used to believe that the state of metalworking technology declined after the demise of the Roman Empire. To assess the level of sophistication of metalworking during this period, a set of 36 iron tools and weapons were metallurgically sampled and examined. For comparison, 11 Iron Age, three Roman, and four medieval iron artifacts from the same region were also sampled....

The Merovingian artifacts display a remarkable variation in hardness, metallurgical treatment, and, hence, resulting performance. In almost every class of tool and weapon, some of the artifacts showed the use of advanced heat treatments while others were left as pure ferrite. The knowledge of how to carburize and quench bloomery iron was thus clearly available but was by no means always—or even frequently—applied.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus