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Robert Hartwell's research in the early 1960's into the iron industry of Song China (960-1279) showed, using a variety of evidence, that the applications of iron expanded greatly in the early Song. He then calculated from tax data the annual iron production of China in the 11th century. This article argues that, while Hartwell's qualitative conclusions hold, his specific calculation of annual production is flawed: no reliable calculation is possible based on presently available sources.

Les recherches de Robert Hartwell au début des années 1960 sur l'industrie du fer en Chine à l'époque Song (960-1279) ont montré, en exploitant un large éventail de faits évidents, que les demandes en fer ont fort augmenté dans la première période de l'époque Song. Il avait alors calculé, d'après les données tirées des registres d'imposition, la production annuelle de ce minerai en Chine au XIème siècle. Cet article relève que, si les conclusions qualitatives de Hartwell paraissent correctes, son évaluation de la production annuelle s'avère infondée: aucun calcul fiable ne peut être effectué en exploitant les données actuellement disponibles.


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