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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. 13 (1) 2015

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C. Robion-Brunner, A. Haour, M.-P. Coustures, L. Champion & D. Béziat

Iron Production in Northern Benin: Excavations at Kompa Moussékoubou

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 13 (1), 2015, pages 39-57, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10263

Abstract


In the context of the "Crossroads of Empires" project led by Anne Haour, one strand of enquiry aims to understand the history of blacksmith groups and the development of iron production in Dendi country, in the northern Republic of Benin. Numerous remains of iron production have been discovered, showing a great variability in furnace design and waste assemblages. At least three smelting traditions can be distinguished. In this paper, we present the smelting site of Kompa Moussékoubou (10th/11th c. AD) which has been investigated by archaeological and archaeometric methods. Beyond the archaeometallurgical results, the excavation of a 1 x 2 m trench on a settlement mound nearby and survey work, which place the site within its wider context, are also discussed. In particular, we offer a detailed analysis of the ceramics recovered during test pitting and within one of the furnaces itself. This paper thus offers a rare opportunity to combine archaeometallurgical and ceramics data.


Résumé

Dans le cadre du projet « Crossroads of Empires » dirigé par Anne Haour, un volet de paléométallurgie s'est donné pour but de comprendre l'histoire des forgerons et l'évolution de la sidérurgie dans le Dendi, au nord-Bénin. Un grand nombre de vestiges sidérurgiques a été découvert, montrant une grande variabilité dans la morphologie des fourneaux et des déchets. Au moins trois traditions sidérurgiques ont été distinguées. Dans cet article, nous présentons le site de réduction Kompa Moussékoubou (10ème/11ème siècle ap. notre ère) qui a fait l'objet d'opérations archéologiques et d'analyses archéométriques. De plus, la fouille d'un sondage de 1 x 2 m sur une butte d'habitat proche et le travail de prospection, qui permettent de placer le site dans un contexte plus large, sont également discutés. Cet article offre ainsi une occasion rare de combiner les données d'archéométallurgie avec l'analyse de la céramique.


Keywords: archaeometallurgy, ceramics, Dendi country, iron production, North Benin


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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
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David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
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