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Iron smelting in pre-colonial Zimbabwe: Evidence for diachronic change from Swart village and Baranda, northern Zimbabwe

Chirikure, S; Rehren, T; (2006) Iron smelting in pre-colonial Zimbabwe: Evidence for diachronic change from Swart village and Baranda, northern Zimbabwe. Journal of African Archaeology , 4 (1) pp. 37-54. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Iron smelting in pre-colonial Zimbabwe: Evidence for diachronic change from Swart village and Baranda, northern Zimbabwe
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.african-archaeology.de/index.php?page_i...
Language: English
Keywords: Gokomere-Ziwa, iron working remains, natural draft, slag tapping, tuyeres, Zimbabwe tradition
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/93623
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