New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy

 

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dc.contributor.author Chirikure, Shadreck
dc.date.accessioned 2016-03-24T10:21:53Z
dc.date.available 2016-03-24T10:21:53Z
dc.date.issued 2006
dc.identifier http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/20474922
dc.identifier.citation Chirikure, S. (2006). New light on Njanja iron working: towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy. The South African Archaeological Bulletin, 142-151. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0038-1969 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/18208
dc.description.abstract Victorian ideas on evolution had strong adherents amongst the European men and women who colonized Africa. Such individuals perceived themselves as superior and viewed African societies and cultures as primitive. Yet, some missionaries who encountered Njanja iron-workers in what is now Zimbabwe were astonished by the sophistication of their industry and even labelled it 'the Wolverhamptonof Mashonaland'. This is unexpected given the stereotypical and derogatory perception of African cultures and technologies that was deeply entrenched at the time. Throughout the 20th century, historical and archaeological research revealed that Njanja iron production was specialized and that it conferred economic power on master smelters, hence promoting their political fortunes. Despite this consistent story of successful economic specialization, the technical parameters, such as the conditions of operation in the furnaces, the quality of the ores and the skills of the smiths in manipulating furnace conditions, remain largely unknown. The results of preliminary metallurgical analyses are presented in this paper. Comparisons with the physico-chemical characteristics of slag from historical sites revealed that even though Njanja smelting was constrained by the underlying principles of the bloomery process, there were some subtle links between specialized production, efficiency in reduction and product quality. en_ZA
dc.language eng en_ZA
dc.publisher South African Archaeological Society en_ZA
dc.source South African Archaeological Bulletin en_ZA
dc.source.uri http://www.archaeologysa.co.za/saab
dc.title New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy en_ZA
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA
dc.date.updated 2015-12-17T12:27:31Z
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Archaeology en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Chirikure, S. (2006). New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy. <i>South African Archaeological Bulletin</i>, http://hdl.handle.net/11427/18208 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Chirikure, Shadreck "New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy." <i>South African Archaeological Bulletin</i> (2006) http://hdl.handle.net/11427/18208 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Chirikure S. New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy. South African Archaeological Bulletin. 2006; http://hdl.handle.net/11427/18208. en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Journal Article AU - Chirikure, Shadreck AB - Victorian ideas on evolution had strong adherents amongst the European men and women who colonized Africa. Such individuals perceived themselves as superior and viewed African societies and cultures as primitive. Yet, some missionaries who encountered Njanja iron-workers in what is now Zimbabwe were astonished by the sophistication of their industry and even labelled it 'the Wolverhamptonof Mashonaland'. This is unexpected given the stereotypical and derogatory perception of African cultures and technologies that was deeply entrenched at the time. Throughout the 20th century, historical and archaeological research revealed that Njanja iron production was specialized and that it conferred economic power on master smelters, hence promoting their political fortunes. Despite this consistent story of successful economic specialization, the technical parameters, such as the conditions of operation in the furnaces, the quality of the ores and the skills of the smiths in manipulating furnace conditions, remain largely unknown. The results of preliminary metallurgical analyses are presented in this paper. Comparisons with the physico-chemical characteristics of slag from historical sites revealed that even though Njanja smelting was constrained by the underlying principles of the bloomery process, there were some subtle links between specialized production, efficiency in reduction and product quality. DA - 2006 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town J1 - South African Archaeological Bulletin LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2006 SM - 0038-1969 T1 - New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy TI - New light on Njanja iron working: Towards a systematic encounter between ethnohistory and archaeometallurgy UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/18208 ER - en_ZA


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