Ancient Celtic Clans

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5th Century CE Irish Forge

Date Started - 02/2003
Date Completed - 06/2003

Sources - "Early Irish Ironworking" by B.G. Scott; "Pagan Celtic Ireland" by Barry Raftery; "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner, Photo of reconstructed smithy at Aspan an der Zaya (as seen in "Atlas of the Celtic World" by John Haywood, Barry Cunliffe); Photo of reconstructed smithy and email correspondence with currators at Castell Henllys, Wales.

As with any project that portrays a functioning craft, it will never truely be completed. There will always be "one more" tool or feature that can be added to make the jobs easier. The largest hurdle in this project was the lack of archaeological evidence for key blacksmithing equipment; namely the anvil and bellows. Only 3 "anvils" have been unearthed from this time period in Ireland, and no bellows have been discovered. In both of these cases the tools were reconstructed using "best guesses" based on tools from adjoining locals and known equipment that predated and was in constant use throughout the "Celtic" world.

Notes - This page has been recreated with older digital photos that had to be modified to fit the newer page layout. Because of this, no large format links are available.

(Clockwise) Dale, Dan, Sarah and Richard sledge away on making a new hammer.

A set of single lung bellows provide air through a clay tuyere (not shown) for the 5th Century CE forge.

Completed cross pein hammer. Weight - approx 3.25#

Richard and Dale work on tapering an end of the turning bick

Partially completed turning bick. One end is a round taper for making curls and bends, the other end will be driven into a stump. Turning surface to be filed smooth

Little more than a block of iron this 5th Century CE anvil weighs approx 25#