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Reconstructed Roman smithy

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Blacksmith shop in the recreated Roman villa at Augusta Raurica (Roman colony founded in 44 BC) in Augst, Switzerland, near Basel. 

6E21C20B-836A-44B9-80F6-594EE6FFA528.jpeg

(Photo: John Marshall, from an archaeology group I belong to)

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Assuming that the fire/forge is out of the picture in the foreground I think the anvil would have been closer to the heat source.  Also, are these re-enactors or good mannikins?  Even for a boy I think the bellows operator would be sitting cross legged or kneeling rather than just squatting flat footed.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Great picture. One would think the smith would be wearing some sort of apron though. The Roman's were very smart and it wouldn't take many hits by hot scale to have him invent the apron.:)

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Nope, that's the forge George, same basic design as any side blast like the JABOD. Truth is squatting is and has been a lot more common than sitting while working and cross legged is more of a meditation position. You want to be able to move FAST if a coal pops out of the fire at your lap.:o 

If you watch the videos of smiths in the 3rd. world the only time you see one sitting is when they're using their feet as a vise and that's not usually hammering. 

Isn't the smith wearing a wool robe, kilt, etc? From the angle it looks to extend past his knees and the shoulder wrap can be opened for  more coverage. It looks to me like he's reasonably well covered for the scale work.

Great picture John. Have more? :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Very cool. 

I think what George said is a commom problem with recreations.

I ran into that at Bents Fort in southern Colorado.

It had many functions, but in my opinion its main function was a "truck stop", and tire/wheel work must have been its primary need. Cliamate changed drastically from south west desert/ high plains  to the more moist Missouri ecosystems. Tires wore wood wither shrunk or expanded depending on climate and tires needed to be reset on wheels.

Being a blacksmith and have ironed a few wagon tires, I realized their forge was not suitable for efficiently forgwelding a tire in a reasonable amount of time. The forge was in fact designed after a pic of a forge in either Sante Fe or Taos. But definitely it was not setup for its primary use of resetting tires on a 30+ wagon train heading in either direction.

I pointed this out and got that proverbial vacant stare in return.

The time difference between 1847 and now is nothing compared to this Roman shop. It must be a magnitude of difference in trying to figure out just how it was setup. 

I wonder if there were any smiths involved in the restoration?

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Is there a reason the butcher and smith share shop space?

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The squatting is very comfortable once you get used to it.  I saw it in different places while stationed overseas, and people would work from that position for hours on end.  We had difficulty copying it at first, and tried to figure out why it was so common. 

We finally came to the somewhat scatalogical conclusion that it had much to do with the fact that you had to squat similarly on a daily basis over the slit toilets that were used in many places, so the requisite muscles and flexibility were already developed.  It's easy to develop with practice.

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On 9/2/2019 at 4:44 PM, Charles R. Stevens said:

That’s not the butcher shop, that’s what happens when you don’t pay your bill...

Accounts collectible and the complaints department.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have to agree with Nobody Special and Frosty here. I’ve worked with many Japanese and have seen them work for hours from the same position as the boy above. I’m blessed with flexibility and have been able to work with them in their style and the respect gained from them have always help me... it’s also help when it was in their home land using their facilities...

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On 9/2/2019 at 3:04 PM, Frosty said:

Nope, that's the forge George, same basic design as any side blast like the JABOD

The apprentice is working a bellows with his left hand. I can't make out exactly what the right is doing.

Pnut

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Horrors!,

They are not wearing eye protection.

Rash move, in that there was no workman's compensation in those days.

SLAG.

 

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unless im looking wrong, its a terrible setup. There is a anvil, a helper, and a box of stuff  between the smith and the forge!

No matter when, no working smith would have a setup like that. Not to mention a window throwing direct changing daylight on the forge.

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12 hours ago, pnut said:

The apprentice is working a bellows with his left hand. I can't make out exactly what the right is doing.

Pnut

The other bellows. He's pumping 2 basic bag forges, he opens the intake by spreading the two sticks in his hand while lifting the bag and filling it and closes them to blow. This allows for a continuous air blast like you'd get from a 2 chambered / stage forge. Right left right left and so on. You can do the same thing just using a bag, goat stomach or paper shopping bag. I've used a shopping bag and it works surprisingly well. The pic is of high tech bag bellows. Heck maybe the helper grilled meat for hungry shoppers too.

1 hour ago, anvil said:

unless im looking wrong, its a terrible setup. There is a anvil, a helper, and a box of stuff  between the smith and the forge!

This would probably have been a professional maybe commercial smithy. The boy's main job may have been to tend the fire and heat the irons. The small anvil close to him may have been for light work he was deemed competent to do, say straighten bent shovels or maybe forge spear socket preforms. All the anvils in view look darned easy to move, there are a couple stake anvils the other side of the oven. 

The window light is an issue for someone who isn't used to it on a daily basis and the smith would probably wait till evening to do heat sensitive work. Does this represent a period where steel was used or is it all wrought iron? Right now the light from the window on the helper looks good for taking pictures. 

I've only ever worked a living history smithy once and it was really well lit, the main doors were wide open and there were several largish ones open on the opposite wall. Unless we were welding we stood with the work to the open door so spectators could see what were doing.

I doubt the display is an accurate representation of either a smithy or butcher shop, there were probably budgetary reasons for not building separate displays. 

I agree with you, I wouldn't set a smithy up with this layout but I don't have a "HEY BOY!" to gofer and do fiddly bits. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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One important thing about twined single lung bellows is that the continuous blask keeps the bellows from inhaling small bit of burning charcoal from the fire---no check valve on them!

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4 hours ago, Frosty said:

The other bellows. He's pumping 2 basic bag forges,

Yep, I see the air supply going to the forge. I had to maximize it. I use a cheap phone. Looks like the same type of system I've seen in African forges. I've used a bag to fill an inflatable kayak. You're right they do work surprisingly well.

Pnut

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Ayup, another reason I have as much smart disabled on my phone as possible. Apple has been after me for a couple years about enabling, Apple pay and other imminently hackable personable information harvesting apps. Right now I can't make a call or set the alarm or timer for their notices. I can't say no either, they just keep intruding. 

I'm not griping about you pnut, it's the whole smart phone BS. I don't text nor respond to texts either. Have you seen the videos of people walking into fountains, street signs and being run down by traffic because they have their heads up their SMARTPHONE? 

I believe that's what I'm going to sub for the "fourth point of contact" from now on. 

Sorry, Apple evidently has decided they need to train me to make myself more vulnerable to their marketers by making their harvester bot apps non voluntary. I can't say no thanks nor turn the notices off. It's getting to be a serious burr under my saddle blanket.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Unfortunately this pocket spy is my only internet connection. I went without the internet for about five years until the beginning of 2018. Until then I didn't have internet or a cell phone. I think I had the last land line in the world.  Smart phones are definitely a source of stress.

Pnut

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Two millennia after the Romans, and we're still arguing about the latest tablet technology.

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A few of you out there (you know who you are) heard the term latest tablet technology and your first thought was about advances in cuneiform.

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It’s the hot tech news of the Sumer!

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Cuneiform is for the impressionable softy, the kind you need to poke with a sharp stick to get to say anything. UR . . .  is that someone else?

Ever play the "Royal Game of UR"? Earliest known board type game.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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My daughter just got a job at her college’s museum helping with their cuneiform tablet collection. 

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