Vinland 5 - August 21, 2010
A reconstruction of the original Vinland Smelt

Comparison of Debris Fields
Submitted 12/4/10 - report under preparation

This smelt was undertaken at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC, August 21, 2010. Primarily intended as a demonstration, it was undertaken using only Viking Age tools, and in Norse clothing. The construction of the smelter and the layout of the working space was the same as that indicated by the archaeology of L'Anse aux Meadows. The personnel were drawn from both the Dark Ages Re-creation Company and the Parks Canada interpretive staff.

The working team was :
Darrell Markewitz (DARC) - construction / smelt master
Mark Pilgrim (Parks) - lead hand
Ken Cook (DARC) - preparation, bellows
Jessica Butler (Parks) - ore & charcoal
Dave Cox & Richard Schwietzer (DARC), Jake Hill (Norstead) - bellows
Mehgan Arnott (Parks) - recorder

The experiment was conducted inside the replicated 'Furnace Hut' inside the Encampment area at LAM. The size of the smelter, its general construction, and the position of the major equipment was based on an analysis of the archaeological remains. Details of the logic behind this series are available as individual topic segments, or as presented in the 2010 paper 'Iron Smelting in Vinland - Conveting Archaeological Evidence to Practical Method' available as a PDF download.

LAM field drawning
Brigitta Wallace

Key features of the experiment:
Furnace Interior Diameter - 20 cm
Furnace Total Height - 64 cm
Furnace Wall Thickness - 9 to 7 cm
Furnace Material - mix of 50/50% clay and course sand
Tuyere Type - steel pipe
Tuyere Position - 18 cm above base, start 4.5 cm proud
Tuyere Angle - 19 degrees down
Air System - Norse style (double chamber) smelter bellows
Ore Type- 'Darc Dirt 2' bog ore analog
Ore Amount - 20 kg
Bloom Size - 2.8 kg
Yield - 14 %
Charcoal consumed - 35.5 kg
Duration - 6 hours total

Experimental Layout

Detailed Images of Debris Field
Photographs taken the day after the experiment, elevated position with fill flash used.
click on any image for larger view

Comparison of 'Mosaic' Images
The image above is modified from the overhead image taken during the original excavations at LAM - (credited 'Schonback'?) A mosaic image created from the segments seen in full colour and detail above. Very roughly the same scale (?) as the image to the left.

Text and photography © 2010, Darrell Markewitz
'LAM Field Drawing' by Birgitta Wallace used with permission