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Iron smelting technology in the Abuja Area in the nineteenth century: an ethno–archaeological perspective

Abiye E. Ichaba


The traditional iron smelting technology in the Abuja area of central Nigeria was a technology that was archaeologically dated to about 500 B.C. Considering the importance of this technology especially as it affected agriculture, warefare, trade and state formation, there is the need to examine the nature and state of this industry especially in the nineteenth century, a period when more ethno- archaeological data were available compared to the earlier periods. There exists a lacuna in the state of this industry between the 500 BC and the nineteenth century. This paper, based mainly on and ethno-archaeological research, examines the iron smelting technology in the area by the nineteenth century. It posits that the technology was complex and technical thereby making the industry to be run on a guild system. Also, the smelters were mainly concerned with the production of the blooms while other groups were involved in the blacksmithing activities.

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