It looks like we are going to have wonderful symposium. We have been offered additional help by the people in charge of the museum, so things are turning out very nicely. We are really looking forward to having a fruitful symposium, where everyone will learn a lot, and have lots of fun.
The Open Air Museum of Villeneuve D’Ascq is a place where old flammish houses have been relocated. Some houses are used by craftsmen, among which there are blacksmiths. The site is managed by Espace Naturel Lille MГ©tropole.
We have set up here a group of people interested in iron making. Some are former metallurgists, some are archeologists, some are bloomery smelters. We are all trying to write up the history of iron making and trading in the area by crossing the results of our experiments and studies. Some will be present at the symposium.
As we have written before, we want to focus this edition on refining blooms to produce forgeable iron and steel. It is a great opportunity for sharing and experimenting.
We have secured financing for all raw materials necessary to the symposium. All teams will have at their disposal bricks, clay, wood, charcoal and iron ore. We must now ask each team about their needs in that respect. Please fill out the attached form so that we can order as soon as possible. The ore that was given to us is already roasted, so you wonвЂ™t need wood for that.
There will be several options for lodging. We will provide about 20 camping beds in a big barn on site (but do bring a sleeping bag) You can also bring along whatever mattress you want to sleep on and put it in the barn. Those coming with a trailer or a camper will be able to park it in the car park or in an adjacent meadow. But there probably wonвЂ™t be any electical power available there. For those requiring a hotel or bed and breakfast, you will find attached to this email a list of addresses and phone numbers. ItвЂ™s up to you to book in advance if you want to secure a room or two. Finally you can also put up a tent on a lush grass on site.
Let us know in the information form how you plan to sleep so we can organize the space.
There will be one shower so weвЂ™ll have to space out the showers a little bit.
There is a restaurant in the museum with which we are going to work up a deal, so we will all eat there. The deal is still a work in progress so a last minute change is still possible. But in any case, you will be fed for lunch and dinner. It will be free or very cheap. Please let us know if you have special dietary needs. You will have to take care of breakfast yourself. We can go shopping each morning for fresh bread if you let us know the day before.
There will also be lots of good and free beer for all participants, the area around Lille being more of a beer drinking country.
There will be a couple refining forges set up for demonstration and practice. But you will hopefully build your own. It is important for us now to have an idea on which teams have experience in refining blooms. Please try to give us rough schematics and process details of the refining forge you want to build if you can. In case you need special tools or materials for that, we can try to find them.
We will provide 3 anvils (maybe more, but this isnвЂ™t certain yet).
There will also be protecting tents of some sort, but if you have your own, please bring it along, as we have to buy them.
We will try to record a bounty of data on smelting furnaces and refining forges so that we can make progress as a group. But it is hard for find measurement tools, such as pyrometers, thermocouples, manometers and the like. If you have some, they could really help us.
We will not provide blooms, so make sure you bring whatever you already have. The iron ore we have been given is rich and already roasted. (The analysis is attached to this email) So you should be able to make a bloom in case you donвЂ™t have one already.
There will be a presentation time each day before dinner with video projector and screen. Those wanting to share with us an experiment, a study, or whatever is related to iron, let us know the contents and estimated time, so we can schedule the evenings.
The symposium will last from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th. You can of course arrive on Tuesday. It seems important to us to have a go at all operations each day. So we will build a bloomery and a refining forge a little ahead of time, so that demos can start on Wednesday. If you want to have an early start at refining a bloom that you have made in a previous smelting, youвЂ™re more than welcome, as this would give a better idea to teams without experience in refining.
Lunch will be between noon and 1:30 pm and dinner probably around 6 pm. We will try to provide visitors of the museum with a rough idea of when the different operations should be displayed.
If you want to discover the area, we will provide you with good ideas and addresses. You can already find information in English following the couple links below.
Now the most important part. Fill out the attached form so we can organize it all.
Should you have any questions, ask them anytime you want, we will try to answer them as soon as possible.