2014 | 62 | 147-164
Article title

Rozwój technologii wytwarzania noży w średniowiecznym Wrocławiu w świetle badań metaloznawczych

Title variants
The development of technology of knifes production in medieval Wrocław based on metallographic investigations
Languages of publication
The determining the level of past technologies forces contemporary archeology to focus not only on the provenance or the function of items, but also the technology of their production and the structure of the material. The artefacts’ properties can be defined basing on data on their chemical composition and microstructure. Therefore, in the archaeological study of medieval metal objects it’s important to understand the physicochemical properties of iron and steel as well as the general blacksmithing techniques, especially in view of the widespread use of these materials. Such knowledge is useful in understanding medieval Wroclaw society in two aspects: the development of the craftsmen skills and the economic level of the inhabitants. The tools that were used for the study are the optical microscopy and the hardness tests. Both of these techniques provide a number of complementary research data to distinguish the different technologies of knives production in medieval Wrocław. The results indicated that Wroclaw craftsmen produced knives of various raw materials (iron and steel) and using different blacksmith operations (carburizing, welding and hardening). They resulted in various properties of the knives (mostly various hardness of the cutting edges). It is worth noting that both the knives with hard or soft blades were produced during whole Middle Ages. The early medieval sites (the Cathedral Island and the Benedictine monastery at Ołbin) provided both soft-edged knives with a hardness of just over 100HV, but also knives with blades of hardness of about 500HV. The same hardness values in the blade region were measured for the later chronology artefacts. The difference between early and late medieval sites corresponds with the ratio of the hard and soft knives. For early medieval site, the number of harder knives is lower, while in late Middle Ages, knives are harder and more of them have steel blades.
Physical description
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