"The production of Roman rural ironworkers in the northeast of Hispania Tarraconensis."
Pérez Suñé J.M., Revilla Calvo V., Gómez Sánchez J., Pou i Vallès J., Simón Arias J.
The Importance of Ironmaking, Technical innovation and Social Change (Norberg, Suecia). Estocolmo; pp.107-114.
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One of the most populated and romanized zones of the ancient times was the northeast of the Iberian peninsula (Hispania Tarraconensis). In this area there was a proliferation of Roman rural developments (villae rusticae) devoted to the production and marketing of high-price agricultural products for which there was a great demand. In this context of autonomous rural units of production and consumption, the craft trades, and in particular metalworking, emerged and began an atypical exploitation and capitalization of the natural resources of rural property (fundus), either for their own consumption or to satisfy a local demand.
The analysis of micrographic structures of nails has allowed us to ascertain that the Roman rural ironworkers of the early roman empire (1st to 3rd centuries AD) knew and practiced most forging techiques. They used both heat treatment (carburation, quenching, etc.) and mechanical treatment (lamination by forging, bending, etc.), but the quality of the techical processes shows that, though specialized, the workers were not highly qualified. Furthermore, the standardization of the technical processes and the homogeneous nature of the final product suggest that the rural ironworker was more a workman applying acquired techniques and practices than a craftsman providing different solutions to specific problems.
The importance of the knowledge of iron equipment manufacture lies in the fact that the agricultural model of some economically active areas of the Roman empire required technological products and found it feasible to integrate their manufacture as a complementary activity on a farm.
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