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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 11 (1) 2013

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S. MacEachern, D.A. Scott, M. O'Guinness Carlson & J.-M. Datouang Djoussou

Iron Artefacts from the DGB-1 Site, Northern Cameroon: Conservation, Metallurgical Analysis and Ethnoarchaeological Analogies

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 11 (1), 2013, pages 39-54, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10230

Abstract
In 2008, a number of iron artefacts were recovered from an interior courtyard on the DGB-1 site during fieldwork in 2008. DGB-1 is a large multi-function site located in the northeastern Mandara Mountains of Cameroon, and dating to the mid-second millennium AD. The iron artefacts recovered included a cache of spear/arrow points found buried under a living floor, as well as a local hoe and a chain and a 'barrette' probably not of local provenance. This discovery has a number of points of interest: (1) ethnoarchaeological reenactments of iron smelts in the 1980s in the same region provide a rare opportunity for comparison of iron-working techniques over about five centuries in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) the variability in different forms of iron (including eutectoid steel) used in these artefacts; and (3) the welding of different forms of iron to produce composite artefacts.

Résumé
En 2008, des objets en fer ont été mis au jour dans une cour intérieure de DGB-1, un très grand site multifonctionnel se trouvant dans le nord des monts Mandara camerounais et datant du milieu du deuxième millénaire après J-C. Ces objets comprenaient un ensemble de pointes de lance/flèche constituant un dépôt enterré sous un niveau d'occupation, ainsi qu'une chaîne à maillons et une barrette, probablement allochtone ainsi qu'une houe de provenance locale. Cette découverte présente plusieurs intérêts : (1) l'occasion rare de comparer, sur cinq siècles environ, des techniques sidérurgiques en Afrique sub-saharienne grâce aux réactivations de la réduction de fer réalisées en contexte ethnoarchéologique dans les années 1980 dans la même région, (2) la variabilité des différentes qualités de fer (y compris l'acier eutectoïde) utilisées dans ces objets, et (3) l'utilisation de la soudure de ces fers de différentes qualités pour produire des objets composites.


Keywords: blacksmithing, DGB sites, ethnoarchaeology, iron technology, Mandara Mountains


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