Iron working was a common element of everyday life in Iron Age Britain. By 500 BC iron had replaced bronze as the usual metal for making tools and weapons.
Blacksmiths produced iron using charcoal-fired shaft furnaces. Iron ore was smelted to produce a 'bloom' (see the picture) which is a spongy mixture of metal and impurities. The bloom had to be further refined by repeated heating and hammering.
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