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Well Known Damaskus Steel Was Made in Merv

British scientist thinks that in ancient times Damaskus steel was used for making the most frightening and strategic weapon - well known swords and sabers, which brought glory to the creators abroad. Blades of these swords could bend at 90 degree and take the previous shape without any structural deformation. Saber, made from Damaskus steel was so sharp that it could cut up a silk kerchief into two pieces. Well-known medieval historian al Biruni wrote that these swords were made in Khorasansk valley where, as it is known, Merv was located. Modern excavation of this ancient Turkmen city proved that al Biruni was right.

For many years scientists from worldwide wrongly believed that Damaskus steel originally was made in India. But present archeological excavations have proved, that this kind of steel was made in Merv at the end of IX - beginning of X centuries. Earliest of workshops known to a modern science for manufacture of Damaskus steel was found here. Laboratory examination has proved, that hi-tech process of re-circulation was used for producing of this kind of steel, and, probably, the hottest by a furnace for the moulding, having a place at that time.Workshop and subsidiary premise were found during the excavations. Archeologists have found out 4 furnaces and the hole filled with broken parts of forms for moulding.

Steel in ancient Merv was made by a method of moulding, forms for which were made from special the clay, capable to maintain very high temperatures. That steel was made as follows: iron (not containing carbon) mixed up with parts of wood (consisting basically from carbon), and all this was stacked in forms for moulding which were located in a steelmaking furnace. The steel received by such method comprised approximately 1% of carbon at almost full absence of slags. Thus the Damaskus steel was the best for that period of time.

The furnaces which have been found out during the excavation at ancient Merv, were very well developed, that allowed them to reach very high temperature necessary for the appropriate work, namely - 1400 degrees on Cesium. Yet not so long time scientists assumed, that the most high-temperature furnaces of that time were in China, but furnaces from Merv were better. Furnaces in Merv were made of clay bricks. Approximately 20 centimeters lower than a level of the furnace which have been found out in Merv, there was a L-shaped pipe. Probably, this central entrance air aperture should play an important role for the top floors of the furnace. In this case the heated air which was passing through a pipe, was capable to raise the temperature of the furnace as well. Therefore, it is quite logical to assume, that these passes carried out a role of vent pipes for a conclusion of the gases heated during combustion and additional heating of the furnace.

Examination of the appropriate swords and the sabres which have been found out in Iran and on Northern Caucasus, confirmed, that they were made of the Damaskus steel made, most likely, in Merv. Thus present and forthcoming archeological excavations of this ancient city, most likely, will copy a history of manufacture of Damaskus steel.

By Ann Feyerbakh
Neutral Turkmenistan Daily
(Initial translation was made from English into Russian. Translation from Russian into English was made by Internet newspaper Turkmenistan.Ru)