• Category Reference
  • Format Hardcover
  • Imprint Rupa
  • Price 595
  1. ISBN: 9.79E+12
  2. Pages: 272 pages
  3. Date: 2008


This book presents a comprehensive history of Iron Technology in India. It covers the long span of Indian history stretching over roughly three and a half millennia from the first half of the second millennium BCE to pre-modern times. One can trace the development of iron technology from the humble beginnings in a chalcolithic milieu followed by the technological evolution reaching the peaks of iron technology of the colossal structures of the Delhi Iron Pillar weighing several tons by early centuries of the Christian Era. The metallurgical expertise and the ingenuity of artisans find expression in the production of wootz steel swords with their intriguing rippling patterns. These swords and daggers were highly prized in the ancient world. They were marketed by the enterprising sailors of the Middle East at lucrative profits. The sword of Tipu Sultan is indeed a legend. The iron and steel industry in India was flourishing till the eighteenth-nineteenth century CE. The quality of the product was superior enough to be prized by the European world, viz. by the Dutch, the Spanish and the British up to pre-modern times. Iron produced at Tendukhera was imported by Britain to be used in bridges across Menai Strait and also in the London Bridge. However; one perceives a decline in traditional iron industry during the British period. Iron working could manage to survive till a few decades back among the ethnic societies who had been engaged in it for generations. The book incorporates results of a first-hand study of these traditional iron-workers, who may be termed as bearers of the legacy which had a glorious past but a very uncertain future


Prof. Vibha Tripathi is the head of the Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology at Banaras Hindu University. During the last two decades she has specialized in the Iron Age, covering both its archaeology and technology. Though she is not a professional metallurgist, she has specialized in the metallurgy of iron to understand its evolution. Besides the Iron Age technology, she has contributed to the fields of geo-morphology, palaeo-environment, settlement systems, and even to the study of the terracotta art of the Indus Civilization

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