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The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity: A Sourcebook on Ancient Pyrotechnology

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Overview

Because pyrotechnology was considered a demeaning craft, there is very little about its practice in ancient texts; our knowledge of early developments is based almost entirely on interpretation of artifacts recovered by archaeology during the past century and a half. Literature in archaeology and anthropology, however, tends to concentrate on the artifact found rather than on how it was produced - on the pot or spearhead rather than the kiln or furnace. There is thus surprisingly little information on the practice and importance of pyrotechnology. The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity, written by an engineer with fifty years of experience in industrial research and pyrotechnology, rectifies this lack. J.E. Rehder covers the kinds of furnaces, the nature of the fuel used, and the productions created - fired clay, lime from limestone, metals from the reduction of ores, and glass from sand. He also shows convincingly that previous arguments that early deforestation resulted from furnace use cannot be supported. The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity provides much-needed information for anyone interested in archaeology, anthropology, and pyrotechnology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773520677
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

J.E. Rehder has been a consultant of metallurgy in the United States and Canada. He has published widely on metallurgy and is a former senior research associate in the department of metallurgy and materials science at the University of Toronto.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword
Preface
Introduction 3
1 The Nature of Heat and the Management of Its Temperature 9
2 How Furnaces Work 13
3 The Properties and Combustion of Biomass 25
4 Furnace Configurations for Biomass Fuel 38
5 Products Made in Antiquity in Biomass Fuelled Furnaces 46
6 The Manufacture and Properties of Charcoal 55
7 Combustion in Beds of Lump Charcoal 63
8 Combustion Air Supply for Charcoal 74
9 Furnace Configurations for Charcoal Fuel 84
10 The Reduction of Metals and the Functions of Slags 101
11 The Smelting of Copper 113
12 The Smelting, Forging, and Properties of Iron 122
13 Fuel Consumption by Pyrotechnology in Antiquity 145
14 Fuel Supply and Deforestation 153
15 Artifacts from the Operation of Furnaces 160
App. 1 Combustion in Fuel Beds of Charcoal 167
App. 2 Pressure Drop in Tuyeres and Fuel Beds and Power Required 175
App. 3 Natural Draft in Fuel Beds 180
App. 4 A Furnace to Reliably Make a Bloom of Iron 189
Glossary 195
References 199
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