Home About Browse Search

Förlorat järn

det medeltida jordbrukets behov och förbrukning av järn och stål

Karlsson, Catarina (2015). Förlorat järn. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2015:38
ISBN 978-91-576-8274-1
eISBN 978-91-576-8275-8
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF
[img] PDF (Compressed file)


Lost Iron – requirement and consumption of iron and steel in agriculture in medieval Sweden

This study aims at an estimation of the amount of iron required for agriculture
during the Middle Ages in Sweden. To calculate this we need to know which implements
were used, their weights and how they were subjected to wear. Research
on wear has been very scarce but it is of great importance to measure how
much iron that was needed to replace what was taken away by constant wear, i.e.
on shares for ploughs and ards. To achieve this a new method was devised. The
method is based on previous research by Grith Lerche, with additional analyses
and calculations. The method presented and used is called Wear Calculation
Method and consists of five steps.

Step 1: Study of medieval agricultural implements, their shape and weight.
Step 2: Metallurgical analysis of selected implements, to answer questions about
materials and how they were processed. Step 3: Experimental Archaeology: Manufacture
of replicas of the implements analyzed in step 2. Step 4: Experimental
Archaeology: ard ploughing and haymaking with replicas of ard shares and scythes
for the purpose of measuring wear. Step 5: Analysis of the wear experiment,
results and calculations of consumption of iron and steel in medieval agriculture.

The experimental part of the thesis focuses on ard shares and scythes, since
the ard and the scythe were the main implements for ploughing and haymaking
during the Middle Ages in Sweden. These experiments were carried out during
two seasons at Östra Järvafältet, north of Stockholm, Sweden.

I have measured wear on the ard shares in grams per kilometer. But more
and often more compatible with data from written sources is a measure
of how many grams that are worn off per hectare or any other given unit of land.
The wear is approximated at 100 grams of iron and steel per ploughed hectare
(10 000 m2), in conditions similar to the situation when the replicas were used.
I chose to do my analyses on two different spatial levels, the farm and the county.
The results prove that ard ploughing means much heavier wear on the implements
compared to haymaking. Generally you needed an annual addition of
slightly over 1 kg of iron to plough the fields of a normal-sized farm in Uppland.
Thus we may estimate the total amount of iron required in Uppland to replace
the wear caused by ploughing to 8,4 ton a year.

These results show that iron and steel production were of great importance
for the High Medieval economic expansion and modernization, where increased
iron production and consumption as well as simultaneous expansion of arable land were vital. Between the end of the first millennium and the mid-14th
century, the population of Sweden approximately doubled in size, much like the
rest of Europe. Iron was a most important third factor (in combination with an
increased population and the cultivation of new land) in this expanding age, ca
AD 1000–1300. Production and consumption of iron and steel increased sharply
during this period and it reached every person, farm, meadow and field in the
country. This is a sure sign of a very developed market and system for the distribution
of iron and steel.

Authors/Creators:Karlsson, Catarina
Title:Förlorat järn
Subtitle:det medeltida jordbrukets behov och förbrukning av järn och stål
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2015
Depositing date:15 April 2015
Number of Pages:348
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8274-1
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8275-8
Additional Information:Avhandlingen publiceras även i Jernkontorets bergshistoriska skriftserie No 49, ISBN 978-91-977783-8-1, ISSN 0347-4283
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:B Geography and history > B50 History
N Machinery and buildings > N20 Agricultural machinery and equipment
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 6 Humanities > 601 History and Archaeology > Archaeology
Agrovoc terms:iron, steel, wear, farm equipment, ploughs, hand tools, mining, archaeology, agricultural sector, history, sweden
Keywords:Ard, scythe, iron implements, medieval, experimental archaeology, wear, iron consumption, agrarian history, iron, steel
Permanent URL:
ID Code:11435
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: Informatör Anni Hoffrén
Deposited On:16 Apr 2015 08:16
Metadata Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 13:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics