Ancient Steelmakers

on January 1, 1979

Originally published in Creation 2(1):8, January 1979

An item of possible minor interest appeared in Time magazine, Sept 25th, 1978 p.72. It reports the findings of anthropologist Peter Schmidt who studied the Haya people of Tanzania.

These tribesmen told him that up to about 50 years ago, the Hayas had been making medium-carbon steel in preheated, forced-draft furnaces. This is generally believed not to have happened until about 100 years ago, and then in Europe. Schmidt found older furnaces which dated (bearing in mind the limitations of radiocarbon dating) at about 2,000 years old. Two years ago, they reconstructed one from memory. Using a furnace of slag and mud and eight bellows-operated blowpipes, they were able to produce temperatures of 1800º Centigrade! Charred reeds provided the carbon for the steel.

Such a discovery forces a drastic revision of the usual ideas of cultural/technological evolution, while not coming as any particular surprise to the consistent creationist. Of course, it can be fitted into revised evolutionary scheme after some modifications; even von Daniken could use it (and probably will) to support his ludicrous notions. Those few evolutionists who still persist in the belief that Africans are semi-evolved humans, rather than the culturally “devolved” descendants of the shipbuilder Noah will have to do some hard rethinking.

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