I was excited, but not surprised, to learn recently that India predates China by many years for their mastery of iron work. I had always thought that the Iron age had begun further east around 700 or 800 BC.
As it turns out large-scale iron artifacts have been found dating back to 1000 BC in central and southern India. This suggests that the smiths, in order to produce work of this magnitude, must have already been experimenting for some time previous to this date. It is even possible that they were working with advanced iron smelting techniques as early as the beginning of the thirteenth century BC.
After ten or so years of learning the physical techniques of blacksmithing, my interest in the history of iron working has really begun to grow.
I’ll be spending the next two months traveling in India to meet with and hopefully work with as many smiths as I can.
Check back to see posts as I travel from the East to the West Coast.