In the mountains of Turkmenistan, in different years, geologists have discovered oxidized iron ore, which, as it turned out, even in ancient times served as an object of mining for artisanal metallurgists. There is a lot of evidence that our ancestors were engaged in early metallurgy and metalworking in the Central Kopetdag, in particular, in the area of Mount Dushak.
More recently, on the slopes of Erik-dag, lumps of metal ore were discovered, resembling fragments of a meteorite. To clarify this issue, field studies were carried out on sections of the mountain where an unknown metal was found. It was not difficult to establish the true origin of the samples. It was a real earthly iron ore. Moreover, next to the finds, it was possible to examine three previously unknown occurrences of iron ore. Interestingly, in the vicinity of the ore body, places of ancient iron smelting were discovered: numerous pieces of smelted ore, slag and accumulations of pottery fragments.
The ancient miners of Dushak cut mines up to several tens of meters deep in the ore. These places are currently in the relief of rounded depressions (more than a hole), barely visible grooves with remnants of clay one-sided casting molds, along which, with a slight slope, the melt entered certain casting molds. The furnaces themselves and, possibly, the clay crucibles remained at a depth under a layer of sod and newest sediments. But the fact that iron was smelted here is indisputable. Perhaps several centuries ago (in the XII-XIII centuries) there was an ancient settlement of miners and blacksmiths who made tools for hunting and other purposes.
For kindling the stoves, wood was used. Burned, obviously, juniper. This is evidenced by the traces of its felling. Tourists, employees of the former observatory and the radio station more than once found spearheads, arrows, spears, various household tools made of wrought iron on the slopes of Dushak Mountain. In all likelihood, they were made by local blacksmiths from the metal smelted here. Some finds of iron items are still kept in the private collections of antiquity lovers.
Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper