Identifying old iron

Hi all:
Modern steels and irons are made to close tolerances for impurities, etc. If an object that had rusted is found in a trench can it be dated to an era on
the basis of crystalography or trace elements? An object found near Paris could be 18th century, medieval, Viking, Roman, or earlier. What trace metals and in what quantity would a person look for? What grain type or sizes? Can anyone suggest a good reference on this subject?
Thanks
KC
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Search google for archaeometallurgy. There is a archaeometallurgy laboratory at Lehigh university, http://www.lehigh.edu/~inarcmet / Download the paper by Alan W. Pense, "Iron through the ages"
Also try: http://bubl.ac.uk/link/a/archaeometallurgy.htm
Pittsburgh Pete
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