Scotland's Earliest Bloomery Furnace?

Tarras Farm, Forres

The metallurgical characterisation of the Tarras Farm, by Forres, bloomery iron, furnace and industrial waste.


The aim of this report is to establish a better understanding of the nature, method of production and function of the ?earliest known, in Scotland, bloomery iron furnace and associated industrial waste, excavated at Tarras Farm, by Forres.



The C-14 dating of the furnace to the 1st century BC makes the Tarras farm furnace the earliest known bloomery furnace in Scotland. In terms of design it classifies as a hearth similar to the Catalan type in contrast to the low shaft medieval bloomeries seen in the Cowal Peninsula, Argyllshire. However, the Tarras farm furnace may be considered a precursor of similar bloomery hearth furnaces seen in Allt na Caerdaich, also in Argyllshire. 

Plan of main excavation (Will 1988), with key of industrial waste distribution.
Detail of furnace and sections of furnace and pit [049] (Will 1988).


Scottish bloomery furnace plans and sections.

Photographs of Forres bloomery furnace at various stages of excavation (Will 1988).