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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond furnaces and slags: a review study of bellows and their role in indigenous African metallurgical processes
Authors:Chirikure, Shadreck
Burrett, RobISNI
Heimann, Robert B.ISNI
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:indigenous technology
iron forging
metalworking industry
precolonial period
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00671990903047108
Abstract:Combustion was pivotal in the heat-mediated process of indigenous metalworking in precolonial Africa. For such combustion to be initiated, a consistent supply of air was essential and because bellows generated the air that precipitated the chemical reactions integral to smelting and forging, they were thus critical apparatus in these pursuits. Surprisingly, bellows have failed to attract much academic research when compared to other components of indigenous metalworking such as furnaces, slags and tuyères. Perhaps the excellent preservation of remnants of furnaces and slags, and the contrasting perishable nature of bellows, is largely responsible for this lack of interest. This paper deals with a 'forgotten' but essential aspect of indigenous metalworking in sub-Saharan Africa - the bellows. It discusses their chronology, distribution, technical parameters and socio-cultural dimensions. It achieves this by melding multiple strands of evidence from archaeology and its cognate disciplines. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]