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EARLY PRIMARY GLASS PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA

EARLY PRIMARY GLASS PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA Fragmentary glass-working crucibles, drawn glass beads and ritual glass objects (aje ileke) from Ile-Ife, southwestern Nigeria, were analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The very unusual high-lime, high-alumina glass lining the crucibles matched the composition of the dark blue drawn beads and some of the blue and green glass fragments in the aje ileke. Similar crucible fragments, glass cullet and drawn glass beads were recovered during Frank Willett's excavations (1956-63) of two sites in Ile-Ife, and Claire Davison's unpublished chemical analyses from 1972 show the same high-lime, highalumina glass from Ita Yemoo, with radiocarbon dates from the eleventh to thirteenth century CE, and Orun Oba Ado, with radiocarbon dates from the eighth to twelfth century. Such high-lime, high-alumina glass has been found only in West Africa, including Igbo-Ukwu in southern Nigeria, and is not known from Europe, the Middle East or Asia, ruling out the possibility that the glass was imported. We interpret these findings to propose the primary manufacture of high-lime, high-alumina glass in sub-Saharan Africa in the early second millennium CE, with production centred in southern Nigeria, and quite possibly in or near Ile-Ife. The results of our study, combined with those of Davison, provide the first strong evidence for early primary glass production in sub-Saharan Africa. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

EARLY PRIMARY GLASS PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN NIGERIA

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/1612-1651-10065
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Fragmentary glass-working crucibles, drawn glass beads and ritual glass objects (aje ileke) from Ile-Ife, southwestern Nigeria, were analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The very unusual high-lime, high-alumina glass lining the crucibles matched the composition of the dark blue drawn beads and some of the blue and green glass fragments in the aje ileke. Similar crucible fragments, glass cullet and drawn glass beads were recovered during Frank Willett's excavations (1956-63) of two sites in Ile-Ife, and Claire Davison's unpublished chemical analyses from 1972 show the same high-lime, highalumina glass from Ita Yemoo, with radiocarbon dates from the eleventh to thirteenth century CE, and Orun Oba Ado, with radiocarbon dates from the eighth to twelfth century. Such high-lime, high-alumina glass has been found only in West Africa, including Igbo-Ukwu in southern Nigeria, and is not known from Europe, the Middle East or Asia, ruling out the possibility that the glass was imported. We interpret these findings to propose the primary manufacture of high-lime, high-alumina glass in sub-Saharan Africa in the early second millennium CE, with production centred in southern Nigeria, and quite possibly in or near Ile-Ife. The results of our study, combined with those of Davison, provide the first strong evidence for early primary glass production in sub-Saharan Africa.

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2006

Keywords: West Africa; Nigeria; Yoruba; Ile-Ife; glass; primary glass production; chemical analysis

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