Artwork by artists Lorraine Whelan & James Hayes
The Bronze Age 4,000 Years On
The Celtic & Prehistoric Museum, Co. Kerry, September 2001

The happy 2001 group, during one of the rare sunny moments. I'm the nerd in the white t-shirt, centre. From left to right, back then front are: Padraig, Niall, Anders, James, Holger, Fiona & Dave. Anni, Lorraine, Tara & Dympna,
Construction phase of a pit furnace, this one using 2 bellows. There is a clay bottom, and stones forming the walls & top. Clay discs and pipes will attach to the bellows. This is one of several designs experimented with on this project. A used crucible stands to the right (about 10 cm high)
The 2 bellows hooked up. Mine is left, Holger's right. He has a copper pipe hooked up to his, which we had to keep cool with water once the fire started. The pit in the foreground is for preheating and pouring the moulds.
Work and work! Finding a comfortable sitting position can be a challenge.
A view from above, showing the molten bronze in the crucible. For greatest efficiency the furnace is designed not much larger than the crucible on all sides, but with enough room to feed in fuel and allow air movement. A small clay mould is preheating on the edge of the furnace upper left. Clay tube leading to bellows is at bottom centre.
Pour that bronze! The red gloved hand gives an idea of scale.
Pouring off excess bronze as ingots for later use.
Mould from photos above cracked open. I had just enough bronze in the crucible to form the shape. You can just make out the diamond pattern around its edge. This was meant to be a "die" for stamping patterns or coins, it has circular patterns on its face, also just barely visible in this shot.
Artwork by artists Lorraine Whelan & James Hayes