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7 The earliest cast iron in China dates to the 8 th century BC and pre-dates the earliest European 8 evidence by about two millennia. The invention of cast iron smelting is closely related to the 9 pre-existing and contemporary technologies of casting bronze and firing ceramics as well as 10 the social and political context of early 1 st millennium BC China. A series of early iron 11 smelting furnaces were surveyed, excavated, and scientifically analysed. However, in order to 12 understand howdoi:10.1016/j.aia.2021.04.001 fatcat:ij27tbpa4jf7lodwukwxlbwxdy