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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:An Exploratory Study of Copper and Iron Production at Marothodi, and Early 19th Century Tswana Town, Rustenburg, South Africa
Authors:Hall, Simon
Miller, D.
Anderson, M.
Boeyens, J.
Periodical:Journal of African Archaeology
Geographic term:South Africa
metalworking industry
Anthropology and Archaeology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Development and Technology
Abstract:The archaeological evidence for iron and especially copper production at Marothodi, a Tswana town in Rustenburg District, South Africa, indicates that output far exceeded local requirements. Preliminary analyses of slag and metal provide insight into the technical processes of this production, while well-resolved spatial data comment upon the social and cultural organization of production. This paper attempts to integrate both technical and social aspects of production into the regional historic context with a view to developing ideas about the contextual specificity of surplus metal production from Marothodi early in the 19th century. Generally, Marothodi was occupied in a period of increasingly competitive economic and political relationships between lineages. The evidence from Marothodi indicates that although copper ore quality was poor, and had been largely mined out by previous producers, it was clearly worthwhile to produce a surplus because of regional demands. Importantly, the Tlokwa elites at Marothodi had the regional power to do so. Furthermore, although the location of Marothodi was a compromise between several factors, the paper suggests that proximity to the copper ore sources was important. Spatial data suggest that political authority did not physically centralize copper production, and that most homesteads were independent producers. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]