An Iron Age punch dating to the 4th century C.E. may be the oldest European
example of alloy steel yet discovered.
The tiny (6 cm) iron punch unearthed recently in Heeten, Netherlands, has a 2%
carbon content, which tells scientists that the object was probably made using
furnace smelting. If this is the case, the punch will be the oldest alloy steel
object found in Europe.
"We think it is the earliest ultra-high carbon steel from Europe," Godfrey, of
the University of Bradford, UK, told BBC News Online. "The punch was broken in
use and then it was lost. But it was a finished, functional tool. It was no
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