Looking through the iron artefacts it was clear that there was a range of iron tools, along with coffin fittings and the occasional decorative iron object. The assemblage also included some lumps of iron, which when examined closely were identified as iron blooms which are created during the smelting process. In addition to these there were some bars and rods, these were the stock iron created by refining these blooms and would have been easily traded.
Analysis was carried out on iron bars and knives from Sedgeford. To carry out this analysis small samples were removed from the knives and bars of interest. These samples were set in resin, polished and examined under a powerful microscope. Prior to analysis, all the knives were photographed and x-rayed.
The analysis of the iron bars provides detailed information about the types of iron available to the local smith. The analysis of the iron bars revealed a high proportion of phosphoric iron present, this type of iron would most likely result from the smelting of high phosphorus bog ores. These ores can be found across the UK, including nearby Sedgeford, therefore it is likely that most of the bars were the result of smelting in the settlement.
The ion knives on the other hand can provide information about the skill of the blacksmith, including the use of different iron alloys and their properties, heat-treatments (i.e. whether the blade is quenched in water) but also welding techniques. Ancient blacksmiths, much like modern ones utilised the different iron alloys to get the best out of their properties. The analysis of the iron knives from Sedgeford revealed that many of the knives were constructed using different types of iron and steel. Steel which was scarce in the Saxon period was used economically and therefore only used in small amounts to form the cutting edge. The two main methods to attach the steel would either be to weld it on to a plain iron or phosphoric iron back or to sandwich it between two pieces of iron. In the middle Saxon period it seems that the preferred method is to weld the steel to the back but in the late Saxon period this starts to change with more sandwich welds. This pattern has also been noted in knives from other sites across England. In the urban settlements the specialised nature of the blacksmith meant that they would often quench, in a liquid the objects they were working on which would create a very hard and sharp edge. This technique is also seen in some of knives from Sedgeford although not all knives were treated.