Medieval copper mining and smelting in Central Norway
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In Norway, copper was used in alloys from the Bronze Age onwards, but domestic copper mining and smelting has not been recognized before the Late Middle Ages. A copper smelter found in Meråker Municipality in Central Norway has been dated to the 13th and 14th centuries and thus marks the first documented production of copper in Norway in the Middle Ages. The smelter is located on an island in the river Kopperå (‘copper river’), and it seems likely that water-powered bellows were used in the production. Wooden structures have been interpreted as elements in the transmission of power from an overshot waterwheel. The archbishop in Trondheim as well as Cistercian monks in an abbey close to the copper mines may have been actors in this activity. The sulphidic ore would have been extracted in a fourstep process, which preceded the later five-step process known from later production in Norway.