Preliminary investigation of the water wheels of the 'Fatih Foundry'
at Demirköy, Kırklareli
H. H. Günhan Danışman
In 1991, the Directorate of Kırklareli Museum in Turkish Thrace identified and registered as an "archaeological conservation area" the remains of an Ottoman iron foundry measuring around 10,000 sqm and situated approximately 4 kilometers east of the town of Demirköy in the middle of a heavily forested region of the Istranca massifs. Referred as Samakocuk in the Ottoman archival documents, the town lies about 25 km east of the Turkish - Bulgarian border and about 20 km south of the Black Sea shore. In May 2002, a project has been initiated to conduct research on the iron mining and iron works in the area. Starting from summer 2003, surface surveys, excavations and archival investigations have been carried out. During the summer season of 2005, in addition to the continuing the excavation at the upper terrace of the Ottoman foundry which is believed to go back to the time of Sultan Mehmed II, the Conquerer (Fatih, r.1451-81), the industrial archaeology team and the geodesic survey team carried out a sounding excavation at the location of two furnaces, the chimney mouths of which were located during the surface surveys of 2003. These furnaces were located about 250 meters west of the original foundry site known as Kabakçı's field, and the purpose of the expedition was to investigate the type of furnace technology prior to start working on the lower terrace of the Ottoman Foundry. The three weeks of excavation revealed a second smaller foundry site. As the work progressed, a rectangular workshop measuring 20 meters by 50 meters and divided into two sections with a central entrance hall was unearthed. It also became clear that the same system of dikes and water canals serviced both foundries for the operation of the water wheels supplying energy for the bellows and the trip hammers for wrought iron production. One of the furnaces excavated within the eastern workshop of this new foundry turned out to be a shaft (or bloom) furnace for iron production illustrating an advanced 17th century technology. In the middle of the west wing of this new foundry was identified a copper smelting furnace. Archival documents related to the Ottoman financial records dated to the 19th century indicate that copper was the second major metal produced at Demirköy-Samakocuk foundries besides iron, and that the raw copper was used for making copper alloy molds for casting cannon balls for the Ottoman artillery forces.
Key words: Iron foundry, furnace technology, water wheels, copper smelting, artillery, Turkey; Anahtar kelimeler: Demir dökümhanesi, fırın teknolojisi, su dolapları, bakır ergitme, topçuluk, Türkiye.