Gone to smelt iron in Courland: technology transfer in the development of an early modern industry
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPost-Medieval Archaeology. 2019, 53 (1), 102-124. 10.1080/00794236.2019.1601398
SUMMARY: In the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, corresponding to the southern and western parts of present-day Latvia, an iron industry based on blast-furnace technology, mainly using local bog iron ore, existed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Transfer of knowledge and skill through the recruitment of specialists from other countries of Europe was crucial to the development of this industry; technology was also re-exported to Russia and elsewhere. Recent archaeological and archaeometallurgical investigations supplement the written evidence, highlighting the specific local conditions that influenced the development of ferrous metalworking here in the early modern period.