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A Blazing FurnaceHome / Church Life / Fellowship Events / A Blazing Furnace

It’s always thought-provoking when we are able to bring a bit of Biblical archaeology to life. Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath, but I wonder how many of us have pondered upon this verse in the New English Bible that describes Goliath’s armour?

1 Samuel 17, verse 6 – “On his legs were bronze greaves, and one of his weapons was a dagger of bronze.”

As long as 3000 years ago, the people of the Middle East had already developed sophisticated methods of smelting and refining metals.map showing the red sea

furnace from the time of king solomonFurnaces (see photo, left) from the time of King Solomon (c. 970 to 930 BC) were discovered in the Timna Valley area of Israel, north of Elath (modern name Eilat) on the Gulf of Aqabah at the northern tip of the Red Sea  (see map, right).

These furnaces were cleverly constructed so that the prevailing north wind would produce enough natural draught to create the high temperatures required for melting copper.

The mines were originally thought to have been built by the ancient Egyptians, but scientific investigation in 2013 dated them to the time of King Solomon.

Our meeting on 19th September proved that it is still possible to construct a furnace to smelt and cast metal in the old way (just).

ingots cast by paul & walterIn 2014 Walter Deacon (Master Smelter of Bottesford) and I successfully melted lead and pewter in a furnace on my vegetable patch at Stanton on the Wolds.

Using a set of nineteenth-century bellows, we cast ingots in the “frog” of a brick and, using clay moulds, made some rough-and-ready crosses (see photo, left).

Everyone who helped with the furnace had a free hobo lunch, then we had a gentle ramble and a quiz.

 

 

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