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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Early Metal Working in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Recent Research
Authors:Miller, Duncan E.
Van Der Merwe, Nikolaas J.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
metalworking industry
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
Abstract:This paper is a review of the course of research during the past decade into the history of indigenous metalworking in sub-Saharan Africa. A major development during this decade has been the establishment of the discipline of comparative archaeometallurgy, an integration of social anthropology and metallurgical science. This approach has led to the recognition that African metalworking is much more complex and diverse than previously recognized and necessitates a revision of some of the earlier claims for African uniqueness. The paper comprises three sections: a summary of the chronology of early metallurgy in Africa and the spread of metalworking; a description of African metalworking in terms of mining, smelting, forging and smithing, with particular emphasis on recent interpretations of the iron-smelting technology; and a conclusion summarizing the main developments and some lines of future inquiry. App. (technical glossary), notes, ref.