First evidence of crucible steel production in Medieval Anatolia, Kubadabad: A trace for possible technology exchange between Anatolia and Southern Asia

Gueder U., ÇEKEN M., YAVAŞ A., Yalcin U., Raabe D.

JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE, vol.137, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 137
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jas.2021.105529
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, FRANCIS, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, L'Année philologique, Anthropological Literature, Art Abstracts, Art Index, Art Source, Artic & Antarctic Regions, Geobase, Index Islamicus
  • Keywords: Crucible steel, Anatolia, Archaeometallurgy, Anatolian Seljuks, Ilkhanate, Manganese, MULLITE, OPTIMIZATION
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


In this article, we present the first archaeological evidence for crucible steel production in Anatolia uncovered in recent excavations at Kubadabad, which was built as a palace by the Anatolian Seljuks in the early 13th century AD. Along with plenty of crucible sherds recovered at the site, blades made of crucible steel, production waste iron chunks and manganese oxide pellets also revealed remarkable information about the process of production. Based on the results of the archaeometry analysis of crucibles of a unique shape with a pointed base, it was discovered that the fabric of the crucible was tempered with finely crushed charcoal, straw and quartz-containing sand. In addition, metallography and SEM analysis conducted on the metal finds demonstrated that high-quality tools were produced from manganese alloy crucible steel ingots at the site. This study evaluates most of the finds found at Kubadabad from the end of the 13th century AD, when some of the buildings were converted into workshops for decorated ceramic tiles and metal production under Ilkhanid patronage or Turkish beyliks. Using analytical results and archaeological findings, we discuss the historical connections of crucible steel production in Kubadabad, which differs from the Central Asian and Persian traditions, but shares similarities with the Southern Asian tradition.