The Red Earth. The oldest evidence of iron production in Bergslagen and Sweden, more than 2 000 years old.
Self-guided tour. Well signposted.
The ”Red Earth Day” iron making day
First Sun in Aug at 9am-2pm. For details and information please call the tourist office
+46 (0)450 45.
Information: Skinnskatteberg tourism.
The oldest signs of ironworks in the Bergslagen region are at the place called Röda Jorden. Carbon dating (C14) has revealed that iron-making was carried out here from 400 BC up to the time of the birth of Christ. The site is in a beautiful area of forest land, with a meandering stream, with mossy banks on either side, running through it.
Röda Jorden acquired its name from the exposed iron oxide (ochre) in the area, which gives the soil its rusty-red colour. Six iron-making sites have been identified here. The furnaces have been built of upright slabs of rock that have been lowered into pits in the ground, forming a rectangular framework. Clay has then been used on the inside to seal the gaps between the rocks, and bellows blew air into the furnace. Archeological digs have also found a pit, 10-cm deep, that had been sealed with clay. This is probably a smelting pit and bellows were no doubt used to get the furnace hot enough. The smelting pit was used to separate the iron from the ore. The discovery of an old axe also suggests that iron was refined here to make iron tools etc.
Five of the prehistoric ironworks sites are also associated with a 2-km path, which leads to the place where, today, using a reconstructed furnace, it is possible to demonstrate experimentally the process of making iron from red earth. Every summer, iron-making, using these ancient methods, is done by people dressed in period clothing… a journey back in time.