Dates of non-meteoric iron in India

Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jun 21 15:01:30 UTC 2000

 Archaeologists from India have pushed smelted iron back in time;
 these early iron will make it that smelting was first invented
 in the Vindhyas, is it not? Have chemists and archaeologists
 from outside India verified these datings?

--- Steve Farmer <saf at SAFARMER.COM> wrote:
> I've often seen c. 1200 BCE reported as the putative date for the
> introduction of iron into India. How well grounded, in fact, is this
> date? What methods were used in arriving at it? Can someone point me
> to some recent detailed discussions? The little I know concerns the
> exploitation of ore deposits nearly a millennium later, in the Mauryan
> period.
> One reason I'm asking the question is because recent work by Don
> Wagner (for some bibliography, see
> redates the arrival of non-meteoric iron in China to a surprisingly
> late period -- c. 600 BCE. This makes me curious as to whether the
> traditional c. 1200 BCE date for India isn't way too early. I run into
> the same question when I think of the curious mix of bronze and iron
> culture still evident in the Homeric corpus, whose final redaction
> came in the second quarter of the first millennium BCE. (The exact
> dates are still disputed, but the tendency is to move them towards the
> middle of the millennium; even more radical moves forward in dating
> are taking place in China.) In Central Asia, the older literature puts
> the arrival of iron at c. 800 BCE, but I don't yet know what more
> recent scholarly trends are like there.
> In any event, the dates in India are obviously critical due to the
> part they continue to play in dating Vedic sources. I'd very much like
> to take a look at the evidence. Can someone point me to the most
> recent scholarly studies?
> Thanks in advance,
> Steve Farmer

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