Archaeometallurgical analysis of archaeological and historic iron alloys leads to
the identification of six distinct alloys.
Pure iron , all other elements < 0.2%
Iron containing between c 0.2 to 1.0% P
Low carbon Steel
Iron containing up to c. 0.3% C.
Medium carbon Steel
Iron containing between c. 0.3% and 0.8% C.
High Carbon Steel
Iron containing more than 0.8%C, possibly as high as 2%C.
Piled or Banded Iron
A section of iron displaying bands of two or more of the other alloys. This alloy
can be ‘natural’ i.e. a result of e.g. the smelting process or deliberate when
the alloys are selected and welded together.