Warta Geologi, Volume 46, No. 2, August 2020, pp 99-106





Description

The contribution of technical ceramic to iron smelting production at Sungai Batu, Bujang Valley, Kedah

Naizatul Akma Mohd Mokhtar*, Mokhtar Saidin

Centre of Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
* Corresponding author email address: naizatulm@gmail.com

Abstract: Iron smelting sites at Sungai Batu, Bujang Valley are dated from 788 - 537 BCE (Beta-516413) until 15th Century CE. The evidence of 17 sites found with the abundance of iron slags and other artefacts clearly show that a large scale of iron-smelting industry existed in Bujang Valley. The term ‘technical ceramics’ refers generally to any ceramics used in metallurgical or other high-temperature operations. The technical ceramic found in archaeological sites can be classified as furnace, tuyere and brick. They were made from clay and play different roles for iron smelting process. This article will discuss the significant of technical ceramic regarding the impact of iron production. The methods consist of collecting sample from archaeological site, augering sample and scientific analysis such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopes-energy dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) analysis. The following discussion will further explain the selection of material and particular shapes in enhancing the iron smelting process at Sungai Batu. The result demonstrate that the technical ceramics were made from the locally available with some sand as temper.

Abstrak: Tapak peleburan besi di Sungai Batu, Lembah Bujang berusia dari 535 Sebelum Masihi hingga kurun ke-15 Masihi. Bukti 17 tapak yang dijumpai dengan sisa besi dan artifak lain jelas menunjukkan bahawa industri besi berskala besar wujud di Lembah Bujang, Istilah ‘seramik teknikal’ secara umum merujuk kepada seramik yang digunakan dalam operasi mertalugi atau operasi lain yang menggunakan suhu tinggi. Seramik teknikal yang terdapat di tapak arkeologi dapat diklasifikasikan sebagai relau, tuyere dan bata. Artifak ini diperbuat daripada tanah liat dan mempunyai fungsi yang berbeza dalam proses peleburan besi. Artikel ini akan membincangkan kepentingan seramik teknikal terhadap penghasilan besi. Kaedah analisis melibatkan pengumpulan sampel dari lapangan, penggerudian cetek dan analisis saintifik secara pendarfluor sinar-X (XRF), pembelauan sinar-X (XRD) dan mikroskop electron-sinar X penyebaran tenaga (SEM-EDX). Perbincangan juga akan menjelaskan lebih lanjut pemilihan bahan dan bentuk tertentu dalam meningkatkan proses peleburan besi di Sungai Batu. Hasil kajian menunjukkan bahawa seramik teknikal diperbuat dari kawasan tempatan dengan sedikit pasir sebagai bajaan.

Keywords: Technical ceramics, iron smelting, Bujang Valley, tuyere, furnace

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7186/wg462202010