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In November and December 1991, the Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archaeology undertook a limited testing program in the casting shed area of the antebellum blast furnace site, Bluff Furnace (40HA221). The objectives of the testing were to obtain information concerning the southern limits of the casting shed and to explore additional areas of the casting shed floor. Limestone piers exposed along the south wall line of the casting shed indicate that this wall line was not parallel to the north wall of the shed, and that a doorway or similar opening was present south and west of the furnace base. Partially reduced iron in a pit feature near the wall piers may be interpreted as a run-off area during the blast failure of November 1860. A test pit in the west central area of the casting shed further exposed a brick footing partially uncovered during excavations in the shed in 1983. Structural similarities with a brick footing exposed in 1981 suggest the brick features were elements of a brick partition wall associated with a room in the northwest corner of the casting shed. This room was probably inexistence during the charcoal-fired furnace operations prior to 1859, but had been abandoned when the coke-fired furnace operations began in 1860. A casting gate present in the casting sand level, found with a concentration of splash iron, indicated some direct iron casting in boxed molds or casting flasks was taking place in the final period of the furnace.


Dept. of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)




Bluff Furnace (Chattnooga, Tenn.) -- History; Bluff furnaces -- Tennessee -- Chattanooga History -- 19th century; Industrial archaeology -- Tennessee -- Chattanooga; Blast furnaces; Industrial archaelogy; Tennessee -- Chattanooga


Chattanooga (Tenn.); Bluff Furnace (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

Document Type



iv, 45 leaves



Call Number



Excavations in the Bluff Furnace casting shed: the 1991 testing program