PUBLISHED: 13:30, Wed, Sep 23, 2020 | UPDATED: 13:32, Wed, Sep 23, 2020
Chromium steel is now known to have been first manufactured in Persia. And most amazing of all, this material was made almost a thousand years earlier than first thought.
The landmark research was conducted by referring to medieval Persian manuscripts, leading archaeologists to a site in Chahak, modern-day Iran.
We believe this was a Persian phenomenon
Dr Rahil Alipour
The findings are believed to be incredibly important because archaeologiy experts used to think chromium steel was a 20th century invention.
Dr Rahil Alipour of University College London (UCL) and the study’s lead author, said in a statement: "Our research provides the first evidence of the deliberate addition of a chromium mineral within steel production.
“We believe this was a Persian phenomenon.
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Archaeology news: Experts have uncovered the origin of ancient chromium steel in major discovery (Image: UCL)
"This research not only delivers the earliest known evidence for the production of chromium steel dating back as early as the 11th century AD, but also provides a chemical tracer that could aid the identification of crucible steel artefacts in museums or archaeological collections back to their origin in Chahak, or the Chahak tradition."
Ancient documents dating from the 12th to 19th century reference Chahak as a formerly famous hub for making steel.
But although Chahak is widely known as an area of outstanding archaeological significance, the exact location of crucible steel production in Iran has until now remained a mystery.
This is mainly because of the many areas in Iran called Chahak.
rucible slag adhering to the interior of a crucible sherd (Image: UCL)
The manuscript al-Jamahir fi Marifah al-Jawahir by the legendary polymath Abu-Rayhan Biruni, was of particular importance to the researchers because it includes