The two pit furnaces at Dunshammar, two kilometres south of Ängelsberg, constitute the oldest link in the 1,500 years during which iron has been produced in the region. The furnaces have been well preserved and the site is one of only a few where Iron-Age pit furnaces can be seen in their natural setting. Several other pit furnaces existed in the bays on the eastern shore of lake Åmänningen during the Iron Age. The people lived just back from the shore, and Iron-Age graves have been discovered near Västervåla church and at Virsbo, 8 km to the south.
The furnaces, made of stone and sealed with clay, were created in pits, and bellows were used to blow air into the furnace. The ore was brought up from the bottom of the lake using boats or rafts in the summer, and through holes made in the ice in winter. The ore from the bed of the lake was rich in iron, having a concentration of some 60%. However, it also contained phosphorus, which makes the iron hard and brittle. Once the iron had been brought up from the lake bed, it was roasted to remove the moisture and any organic material. When the bellows were operating, the temperature in the furnace reached about 1100°C. The slag ran down and settled out on the bottom of the furnace, while the iron solidified into a lump on top of the slag. Because of the relatively low temperature, the iron had a low carbon content and could be forged straight from the furnace. Most of the phosphorus was carried away in the slag.
Two archeological digs have taken place on the site, one in 1969–70, and the other in 1985. The age of the furnaces, determined by radiocarbon dating (C14), was found to be AD 300-800. An estimate was also made of the amount of iron produced over the centuries, and this turned out to be six or seven tonnes.
As well as the two well-preserved pit furnaces, there are also a charcoal-burning stack and three large slag heaps on the site. Around the furnaces are hollows that were created when clay was dug out for sealing the furnaces. The local heritage association at Västervåla has established a small museum in which the ancient process of producing iron is depicted in words and pictures.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.