Moshyttan: Sweden’s oldest known blast furnace? : A multiproxy study based on geochemical and pollen analyses
Radiocarbon datings in a previous study suggested that Moshyttan in Nora bergslag is the oldest blast furnace in Sweden and Europe. The aim of this study was specifically to study the origin of the Moshyttan blast furnace to answer the question: when was the blast furnace at Moshyttan established? To this end, a 2.5 m sediment record was collected from Fickeln, a lake 600 m downstream of Moshyttan, in March 2012. The geochemical properties of the sediment record were analyzed for major and trace elements using XRF. The organic content was calculated from the ash residue following the mercury analyses as a proxy for organic matter. Pollen and charcoal were analyzed using a standardized method. A age- depth model was created based on four radiocarbon datings of the sediment profile. The pollen data suggest that early land use consisted of forest grazing from about AD 220, and agriculture from about AD 880. An increase in Pb and charcoal particles about AD 880 indicates early metallurgy in the area. The first significant evidence of the establishment of a blastfurnace was between AD 1020 and AD 1090 marked by a decrease in organic content combined with a strong increase of ore related metals such as Pb, Zn, Cu and a strong increase of charcoal particles. Within the uncertainty of the age-depth modeling, the results from this study offers support to Wetterholms radiocarbon datings, thus making Moshyttan the oldest known blast furnace in Sweden and Europe.
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