The technology of smelting has remained a mystery for a very long time. Ancient humans got acquainted with iron rather early, but they developed techniques of mining and smelting only in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. A renowned archaeologist Gordon Child remarks in particular that an effective method of smelting was discovered by an Armenian highland tribe that would keep their technique in secret for quite some time.
Armenia was considered the homeland of iron by Homer and Aeschylus. Other Ancient Greek chroniclers such as Euripides and Xenophon mentioned the highest quality of Armenian iron. Aristotle also remarked that it virtually didn’t rust.
The secret of the production of such metals has been unfortunately lost in the distant past. A German specialist Karl Bachs argues that the acquaintance of other peoples with iron should be viewed in the context of the migration of Armenian tribes, “the greatest hill people of the history called “dwarves” by the Europeans because of their shortness.” Bachs thinks that this fact was reflected in European myths about miner dwarves.
Examples of ancient iron tools have been found in many areas of Armenia, including the ancient settlement of Lchashen on the shore of Lake Sevan. Lchashen is remarkable for its huge masonry. It has existed since the 3rd millennium BC and reached its peak in the Iron Age.