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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Metalworking encompasses both the reductive smelting of ores to produce metal and its refining and forging to create usable objects. The advent of this process is one of the most significant technological progressions in human history. The origin of metallurgy debate still rages without any solution or middle ground in sight. More importantly, numerous insightful studies have focused on the sociological and physico-chemical aspects of past metalworking activities, with modern research tending increasingly to consider these together while integrating fieldwork-based studies and laboratory investigations within the same continuum of research. Ethnographies still have an important role in interpretation, alongside the techniques of the physical sciences and their ability to provide information on what was happening inside furnaces and forges. With more data, researchers will be better placed to resolve highly contentious issues surrounding the origins and innovations in the African metallurgical record.

Keywords: African metallurgical record, metallurgical activities, ethnography, furnaces

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