Essay on Iron Smelting And Forging Technologies

1009 Words Mar 2nd, 2016 null Page
Iron smelting and forging technologies have existed in African societies between about 1000 and 500 B.C.E. The Iron Age is an important period in Africa that is often met with diffusion theories, on whether or not iron began there. Iron smelting, and other smelting is still used today in certain parts of Africa. Hitherto stone had been the strongest material around for making tools and weapons. Metal was a far more high quality raw material, compared to others, as it could be made into an infinitely wide range of shapes and sizes, for decoration and for trading, not just tools and weapons. Gold was the most valuable, especially for decorative items in Egypt.
The earliest metals to be worked were copper, tin (their alloy bronze), and gold. They were all willingly smelted, but not widely available. Copper mining and smelting developed in the Saharan regions. Iron, on the other hand was a much harder material, better for tools and weapons, and iron ore was widely available in the majority of Africa. Iron, was much harder to smelt from the rock, which was why iron working skills were developed later than those of the other metals. Iron required large quantities of charcoal and special furnaces. Main archaeological evidence to prove this is slag from smelting furnaces. Once developed, it had an important impact upon farming communities, enabling the more efficient clearing of land for agriculture, and the development of more urbanized settlements.
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