A programme of slag analysis is in progress and results are beginning to appear. They do add detail to the information obtained on site and from the physical inspection of slag. The work has been carried out in two phases, the first being the bulk analysis by X-ray diffraction of samples of slag from sites in Dacre and elsewhere together samples of ores and shale while the second phase (which is still in progress) is a more selective and detailed inspection and characterisation of twenty slag samples.
Phase One has been carried out by Intertek ASG at their Manchester Laboratory, the results providing a good deal of interesting detail and confirming the increasing efficiency of the smelting process over the centuries. A table of results is shown below.
Phase Two is currently in progress at Liverpool University under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Ponting and with the use of their scanning electron microscope. The work is expected to be completed by July 2012 but results are already beginning to confirm the impression gained from fieldwork that the Dacre area contains the remains of iron smelting from a wide range of historical periods.