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IRON SMELTING IN PRE-COLONIAL ZIMBABWE: EVIDENCE FOR DIACHRONIC CHANGE FROM SWART VILLAGE AND BARANDA, NORTHERN ZIMBABWE

IRON SMELTING IN PRE-COLONIAL ZIMBABWE: EVIDENCE FOR DIACHRONIC CHANGE FROM SWART VILLAGE AND... In conventional reconstructions of southern African archaeology, the production of iron has been seen as unchanging for the last 2000 years. Significantly, this contrasts with the changes that have been noted in broader society and other classes of material culture of the same period. Despite iron being used as a chronostratigraphic indicator, virtually nothing is known on the patterns of iron production within the Iron Age and whether change in technology and the socio-cultural context of production took place. From a combined archaeological and metallurgical perspective, the historical development of iron working has never been explored. For example, it is not known whether similar types of furnaces were constantly operated throughout the last two millennia. Excavations at two sites in northern Zimbabwe, one Gokomere-Ziwa (800 - 1200 cal AD) and one Zimbabwe tradition (1500 - 1700 cal AD), have shown differences in iron pyrometallurgical debris, tentatively suggesting that they represent separate metal working practices. By comparing the archaeological and metallurgical evidence from the two sites, this paper represents an initial step in delineating patterns of indigenous iron production in one region of Zimbabwe. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

IRON SMELTING IN PRE-COLONIAL ZIMBABWE: EVIDENCE FOR DIACHRONIC CHANGE FROM SWART VILLAGE AND BARANDA, NORTHERN ZIMBABWE

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.1163/10.3213/1612-1651-10062
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In conventional reconstructions of southern African archaeology, the production of iron has been seen as unchanging for the last 2000 years. Significantly, this contrasts with the changes that have been noted in broader society and other classes of material culture of the same period. Despite iron being used as a chronostratigraphic indicator, virtually nothing is known on the patterns of iron production within the Iron Age and whether change in technology and the socio-cultural context of production took place. From a combined archaeological and metallurgical perspective, the historical development of iron working has never been explored. For example, it is not known whether similar types of furnaces were constantly operated throughout the last two millennia. Excavations at two sites in northern Zimbabwe, one Gokomere-Ziwa (800 - 1200 cal AD) and one Zimbabwe tradition (1500 - 1700 cal AD), have shown differences in iron pyrometallurgical debris, tentatively suggesting that they represent separate metal working practices. By comparing the archaeological and metallurgical evidence from the two sites, this paper represents an initial step in delineating patterns of indigenous iron production in one region of Zimbabwe.

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2006

Keywords: Gokomere-Ziwa; Zimbabwe tradition; iron working remains; slag tapping; tuyeres; natural draft

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