Archaeologists discovered ancient furnaces after noticing slag and coating on a rough road used by tourists to access the shoreline of Shida Bay at Lake Baikal in Siberia. After conducting prospection with geophysical equipment the presence of underground structures was confirmed. Excavations carried out by Artur Kharinsky of Irkutsk National Research Technical University revealed evidence for advanced metallurgical technology dated back to around 1000 AD. The site is located about 260 kilometres North-east of Irkutsk, Russia.
The discovered furnaces may have belonged to the Kurykan people, who are known as skilled blacksmiths. Apart from furnaces, slacks, pieces of ore and parts of a clay cover were found that prove the potential existence of a metallurgical workshop. The amount of iron that could be produced in such forges filled the needs of local communities and was also exported to neighbouring areas.
The furnaces are one of the oldest found in this part of Siberia. They are are 1,000 years younger and show more advanced technology than other known so far. Further radiocarbon dating should bring more details to the light.
(after The Siberian Times)