Tutorials for Making Archaeological Tools

Crafts are related and interdependent. Metal casting is dependent on knowledge of how to make ceramic material that will not only withstand high temperatures, but also endure rapid and extreme temperature changes. In addition air must be added in some way to raise the temperature of the charcoal fire. That means more craft knowledge for the design and manufacture of bellows and tuyeres. While crucibles and bellows might not have been made by metalsmiths, the smith would need enough knowledge of other crafts in order to explain what was needed. It’s not only ceramic and metal, other crafts such as woodworking, leather working, textiles, and more that all come into play in creating a finished object. Many of these crafts have tools unique to their practice, while many tools are shared from one craft to another.

The tutorials here aren’t necessarily experiments in themselves, but do provide instructions for tools that will enable experiments to be done. Neither are these meant to be the only way to do things, or even proof that these were in used in ancient contexts. There’s little of the materials in bellows that will last after being buried for centuries, so we have to do the best we can to design experiments that fit the criteria for answering archaeological questions. This is done to the best of our knowledge using historical texts and ethnographic information.

I occasionally add notes about health and safety precautions. There’s never a need to take risks in these experiments, or in making any of the things described in these tutorials. These tutorials are meant for both education and enjoyment.

Below are some quick links to the tutorials on the site.



Bag bellows

Pump bellows



Build a portable furnace

Small shaft furnace

Pit furnace Coming soon

Controlling airflow in your furnace with teapot stands Coming soon

Other Metalworking Needs

Making crucibles Coming soon

Mould making Coming soon

Lost wax casting Coming soon

Textiles and Clothing

Iron Age shoes