New York City: St. Martin’s. Part of Issue 12, published in April 2015. Africa, Iron and Empire The Nubians to 500 BCE. One of them is the nkisi (pl. tion of important iron working sites, and for study of. True to its name, the Iron Age's main characteristic involved iron. They made bellows, the air pumps used to heat the furnace’s fire, in the shape of male genitals while the furnaces themselves were intentionally constructed to resemble the body a woman (Shillington, 2012, pp. 3rd ed. Iron ore is the key component in steel, the most widely used of all metals. gold, most South African operations are at the least competitive end of the global cost curve. The earliest securely dated iron-smelting furnaces in sub-Saharan Africa (ca. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice). In the 13th and 14th centuries CE, when it was the principal city of a major state, its population exceeded 10,000 inhabitants. The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology has several artifacts made of iron that were used in religious ceremonies across Africa. For PGMs, gold, iron ore and export coal, we find that 47 percent of South Africa’s mining jobs, along with 42 percent of revenues, are in This resulted in fairly harmonious co-existence as no tribe needed to be or was sufficiently more powerful to conquer another. Not all minkisi were associated with iron. These two commodities are responsible for around two fifths of the country’s mining revenues and jobs. Salt from the Sahara desert was one of the major trade goods of ancient West Africa where very little naturally occurring deposits of the mineral could be found. North Africa and the Nile Valley imported its iron technology from the Near East and followed the Near Eastern pattern of development from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, Department of Archaeology, The University of Sheffield, Early States and State Formation in Africa, Historical Preservation and Cultural Heritage, A Brief Introduction to the Role of Iron in Africa, Experimental Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology, Understanding African Iron Technologies: Final Thoughts, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.212. The history of South Africa is significant because, it shows a story in history that has been told many times, the story of a need for change, a revolution. The first farmers mined the iron ore and figured out how to turn the … The ore is distributed with 20.4 percent in Northern Africa, 40% in Western Africa, 24.5% in Central Africa and 15.1% in Eastern and Southern Africa. They were directly ancestral to the Bantu-speaking peoples who form the majority of South Africa’s population today. Believed to be about 600 B.C. Thus the miracle of creating iron out of dirt was comparable to the miracle of procreation. The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity.It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic).The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World. Explain impact of iron technology on the people of Africa i) The discovery of iron technology led to the manufacture of better and efficient tools for farming.For example, iron hoes and panga ii) The use of iron tools enabled people to clear natural vegetation and bring more land under cultivation hence more food The introduction of iron working was said to be an important turning point in Old World history, and this applies specifically in sub-Saharan Africa (Barros 2000, 147). Most details preserved are on the head, with a realistic portrayal of a human face and neck. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In order to construct a nkisi, a society had to support artisans who carved the figure, spiritual leaders who made these objects sacred, and smiths who smelt and forged the tools and nails used in the ceremonies. Iron-bearing ores are much more abundant in the earth’s crust than those of copper, and in Africa, iron was recovered from these ores using the bloomery process, until the importation of European iron in the later second millennium eventually undermined local production. Today, Great Zimbabwe is the site of the most extensive ruins in Africa south of the Sahara. Iron made life a lot easier in those days, when just living to the age of 45 was a feat. Evidence of iron-working dates to the sixth century B.C. ­Humans have come up with countless uses for iron, from carpentry tools and culinary equipment to complicated machinery and instruments of torture. Iron nuts and bolts Globally, purchases of imported iron ore totaled US144.5 billion in 2019. Hematite accounts for approximately 95% of South Africa’s iron ore production. View Iron Age Technology and Agriculture Development in African Societies Research Papers on Academia.edu for free. Iron-rich rocks are found all over the world but the rocks are only ore-grade and suited for commercial production in … Power Figure/Nail Fetish (Nkisi). Africa is big and what I mentioned above only covers a tiny bit of that continent. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/iron/hd_iron.htm (October 2002). From the cars we drive and the bridges we drive on, to the skyscrapers that line our country’s skylines to the wind turbines generating power throughout the nation, iron mining has built America. African leaders are embracing AfCFTA. Iron played a central role in many societies of early Africa. Africa the birth place of Iron • Africa was one of the first places on earth where iron and the use of iron was first discovered. • 500 B.C. Great Zimbabwe, extensive stone ruins of an African Iron Age city. 18. Who are these invaders and what composes their incredible weapons? In areas where people had lived in settled, urban communities for hundreds of years, like Northern Africa, these changes were less pronounced. Iron smelting and forging technologies may have existed in West Africa among the Nok culture of Nigeria as early as the sixth century B.C. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The decreasing importance of gold mining in South Africa. Kumba Iron Ore produces high quality lump (64.0% Fe) and high grade sinter fines (63.5% Fe). In the period from 1400 to 1600, iron technology appears to have been one of a series of fundamental social assets that facilitated the growth of significant centralized kingdoms in the western Sudan and along the Guinea coast of West Africa. Mostly, agricultural and military practices were improved. Iron tools enhanced weaponry, allowed groups to clear and manage dense forests, plow fields for farming, and basically better everyday lives. Iron is not made in the body and must be absorbed from what you eat. You do not currently have access to this article, Access to the full content requires a subscription. Africa (excluding South Africa) has iron ore reserve estimated at over 34 billion tons (or some 15 percent of the world’s total), with 11 countries having reserve greater than one billion tons. The rise of iron tools signaled some major changes in societies across Africa. The Importance of Iron in Aquaponics | Service Providers to the Aquaculture Industry throughout Africa Fish Farming and Aquaculture Products +27 46 622 3690 info@aquaafrica.co.za This report focuses on the South African iron ore mining sector which produced 78 million tonnes (Mt) of iron ore during 2014. Then, with each use of the figure, a nail or other piece of metal was embedded into it, adding to its power. Of this total, 67.2Mt worth US$6.7bn was exported. The fabrication of iron tools and weapons allowed for the kind of extensive systematized agriculture, efficient hunting, and successful warfare necessary to sustain … ... part of sub-Saharan Africa has iron working in the first. In the period from 1400 to 1600, iron technology appears to have been one of a series of fundamental social assets that facilitated the growth of significant centralized kingdoms in the western Sudan and along the Guinea coast of West Africa. The Iron Age was a period in human history that started between 1200 B.C. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Why not abandon it and send the manpower to the fight in Europe? Year over year, the value of iron ore imports accelerated by 23.6% from 2018 to 2019. 1825 has been called the start of the new Iron Age, as the iron industry experienced a massive stimulation from the heavy demand for railways, which needed iron rails, iron in the stock, bridges, tunnels and more. There are many examples of minkisi that do not use metal at all (Power). minkisi), a statue that the Kikongo speaking people of Central Africa used to determine the source of chronic problems or find evildoers (Power Figure/Nail Fetish, n.d.). Spiritually, Africans considered iron potent. The iron produced was mostly used for everyday items, farming implements, ritual … Only one nail is imbedded above the neck and none are below the groin. These … Ultimately, iron tools allowed Africans to flourish in every environment, The Mining of Iron Ore in South Africa. In conclusion, during the Iron Age, twins played an important, spiritual role among several societies of West Africa. • Iron Age: was the time in history when humans discovered iron and learned how to make and use iron tools. Coal in South Africa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Kumba Iron Ore is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and operates three mines: Sishen and Kolomela mines situated in the Northern Cape and Thabazimbi mine in the Limpopo province. A variety of analytical approaches are commonly used by archaeometallurgists to learn more about past iron technologies, particularly those methods that explore the chemistry and mineralogy of archaeological samples. The process to create iron was also labor intensive, requiring the construction of bellows and forges, the gathering of ore, and the cutting and burning of wood for charcoal. The arrival of iron smelting technology in sub-Saharan Africa played a significant role in shaping the historical record of the area by bringing profound changes to the lives and societies of its inhabitants (Haaland Shinnie 7). Mining Iron Ore in Africa Because iron ore is the key ingredient of steel, and nearly 95% of the metal used every year around the world is steel – iron is the most frequently used metal in the world. For more information, visit MU’s Nondiscrimination Policy or the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX. It thus covers a very long period of time and is used to describe a great variety of different societies, from simple village-based farmers and nomadic pastoralists to … Imagine you live in the ancient Mediterranean or the Middle East, and plow your fields with strong bronze tools. University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology African Exibit, Columbia Missouri. Africa’s most significant iron reserves are to be found in western and Southern Africa. They also made ornaments and jewelry from iron and copper. MU is an equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex in our education programs or activities, pursuant to Title IX and 34 CFR Part 106. 400–200 BCE) were shaft furnaces with multiple bellows and internal diameters between 31-47 inches. Physically, Africans used iron to create tools for agriculture, utensils for everyday life, and weapons for protection and conquest (Shillington, 2012, p. 45). With iron-deficiency erythropoiesis (also known as marginal iron deficiency), iron stores are depleted and transferrin saturation declines, but hemoglobin levels are usually within the normal range. Iron production was a particularly important precolonial African technology, with iron becoming a central component of socioeconomic life in many societies across the continent. Perhaps, the use of iron nails in minkinsi offers just another example of the larger question of whether technological advancements lead to social change or do the social environments lead to technological advancement. Iron is important in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. The artist who made the museum’s nkisi left the figure’s belly hollow, so that it could be filled with objects of power. Mining Iron Ore in Africa. Readers of Coetzee’s Age of Iron were able to experience this first hand, and through lecture were able to gain an understanding of South Africa’s history. Because iron ore is the key ingredient of steel, and nearly 95% of the metal used every year around the world is steel – iron is the most frequently used metal in the world. The use of coal in South Africa dates back to the iron age (300-1880 AD), when charcoal was used to melt iron and copper, but large-scale exploitationOpen-pit mining account for roughly half of South African coal mining operations, the other half being sub-surface.Environmental impact. If this nail nkisi were to be used as a case study to find an answer to this question, it would probably have to be the former explanation. If you are interested in working for Iron Wealth, please email careers@ironwealth.africa with a CV and Cover Letter detailing your … Iron ore prices do not materially influence steel prices in South Africa as steel is priced on the basis of international prices. Indigenous metallurgy with respect to iron and steel in East Africa.. 17. Characteristics & Importance. You watch your powerful armies get defeated quickly; their swords shattering against the strangers' weapons. Good sources of iron include: liver (but avoid this during pregnancy) red meat; beans, such as red kidney beans, edamame beans and chickpeas; Meanwhile, civilian use increased, as everything which could be made of iron began to be in demand, even window frames. In South Africa our iron ore operations are made up of a 69.7% shareholding in Kumba Iron Ore Limited (Kumba), a leading supplier of seaborne iron ore. Kumba is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and operates three mines. Because the first farmers had knowledge of ironworking, their archaeological sites are characterized as Iron Age ( c. 200 ce ). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. South of the Sahara Desert, however, settled civilizations and iron tools often went hand-in-hand. Privacy policy, equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer. Therefore, minkinsi production required specialized workers indicating that societies that used such artifacts were prosperous enough to support a social hierarchy containing members who did not actively participate in food production. These Late Iron Age farmers left huge numbers of stonewalled settlements throughout South Africa. Artisans carved the basic figure of minkisi while ritual specialists infused spiritual power to the statue. Apparently, in this case, culture may have adapted to technological advancement. Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, African History. The Yoruba loved twins and worshipped them as Gods, knowing that if they did not, the consequences would be dire. In Nubia, an Egyptianization of culture began, including the use of Egyptian writing – more of the world's cultural diffusions. At Iron Wealth we believe in the importance of having a team passionate about what they do and committed to service excellence. This essay will argue for the independent discovery of iron smelting technology in sub-Saharan Africa based on discoveries made in Western Africa. Iron deficiency impairs the cognitive development of children from infancy through to adolescence. Overall, the value of iron ore imports for all importing countries increased by an average 58.1% since 2015 when iron ore purchases were valued at $91.4 billion. Iron technology first appears in the African continent in the 1st millennium BCE, and the term Iron Age is generally used, certainly south of the Sahara, to describe iron-using communities in Africa until the modern historical era. There isn't a huge pool of resources, the infrastructure is low and my troops suffer attrition from the desert climate. The ore would be placed in the belly of the female structure, a word that also translates to life or soul in several African languages (Power Figure/Nail Fetish, n.d.). History of Africa. Aksum (also spelled Axum or Aksoum) is the name of a powerful urban Iron Age Kingdom in Ethiopia that flourished between the first century BC and the 7th/8th centuries AD. By interpreting the results of these analyses in conjunction with ethnographic, historical, and experimental data, it is possible to reconstruct the techniques and ingredients that past smelters and smiths employed in their crafts, and address important questions concerning the organization of production, the acquisition of raw materials, innovations and changes in technological approach, and the environmental and social changes that accompanied these technologies. In most regions, the primary metal for making tools was bronze, an alloy composed of copper and tin. The history of food production in Africa lags somewhat behind the research done in the Near East and Europe, but genomic work on modern Africans has started in parallel with advanced linguistic work. Artifacts is sponsored by The Campus Writing Program. If your iron is low, eating a diet that is high in iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, red meat, dried fruit, and beans may not be enough to give you what you need. Contemporary iron age furnaces in Europe ( La Tène ) were different: the furnaces had a single set of bellows and had internal diameters between 14–26 inches. To make a long story short I just raise a few major points: Smelting happened all over the place in many cultures. in Nigeria. The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity.It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic).The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World. Just a question for some of the WW2 historians. At this time also the Bantu people had completed their migration from west to southern Africa. This places African languages at the centre of discussion where education is concerned. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1979.206.127 (October 2006), Ross, E. G. (2000).The age of iron in West Africa. Many Africanists accept an independent development of the use of iron in Sub-Saharan Africa. Minkisi provide us with a unique opportunity to understand the cultural power of iron in early African societies. The body is proportional except for the feet, which seem to be larger to serve as a base to balance on. Unearthed on northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range in 1884, iron mining has long-played, and continues to play, a vital role in every individual’s life. It is the sedimentary Precambrian rocks, particularly in western Africa, that have proved the basis of Africa’s role as a major world producer of iron ore. Though people have lived in Africa quite some time, the use of iron tools marks the significant moment of African civilization. The South African Iron Ore Cluster Page 4 3.0 THE SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMY TODAY South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. The early African farmers used iron to make spear tips, hammers, hoes and axes. Although smelting was most intensively focused in regions where all the necessary components of a smelt were plentiful—iron ore, ceramic, fuel, and water—frequent occurrences of small-scale, local iron production mean that iron slag and associated remains are common finds on archaeological sites across Africa. Iron deficiency, and specifically iron deficiency anaemia, remains one of the most severe and important nutritional deficiencies in the world today. In South Africa our iron ore operations are made up of a 69.7% shareholding in Kumba Iron Ore Limited (Kumba), a leading supplier of seaborne iron ore. Kumba is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and operates three mines. Now iron tools had begun to replace flint tools. This advance enabled more land to be cleared for agricultural purposes and for hunting skills to be improved and to become far more effective. The Aksum kingdom is sometimes known as the Axumite civilization. The Iron Age in Egypt began in the period called the Early Iron Age between 1200 and 1000 BC, characterized by the use of irons like sienna iron to create jewelry. Importantly, from a cost perspective iron ore currently only accounts for between 11–13% of ArcelorMittal’s (AMSA) total steel production costs at interim prices. The cultural use of minkisi was not dependent on iron nails or pieces of metal. For many decades Africa has been the only place in the world where most children are taught in the language that is not their own. The Iron Age. Moreover, in places where iron ore was scarce, traders had to import iron from other regions, suggesting that the production of minkisi was tied to long distance trade. The museum’s nkisi is a wooden male figure approximately two to three feet tall. Southern Nguni built the first stonewalling in about AD 1300 in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. The Earth's crust is 5 percent iron, and in some areas, the element concentrates in ores that contain as much as 70 percent iron. Iron ore is the key component in steel, the most widely used of all metals. The topic of early iron-metallurgy in sub-Saharan Africa encompasses both studies of the technology and archaeology of indigenous iron-production, and also an understanding of the role that iron production played in African societies before European colonization. Before iron can be put to any of these uses, however, it has to be mined from the ground. In addition, they could capture strong animals like the elephants, which they used during wars (“Early Iron Age in Sub Saharan Africa,” n.d.). Ornaments and jewelry from iron and steel with something like aluminum, you can see why it was so historically!, E. G. ( 2000 ).The Age of 45 was a period in human history that between! Co-Existence as no tribe needed to be found in rocks in many societies of early.! For around two fifths of the Sahara privacy Policy, equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer specifically iron deficiency the... Technology and agriculture development in African societies Research Papers on Academia.edu for free its forms by inviting student to! This advance enabled more land to be larger to serve as a base balance... Small village life, toiling the soil with bronze and stone tools learned how turn... In Nubia, an Egyptianization of culture began, including the use of minkisi while specialists! Infrastructure is low and my troops suffer attrition from the Desert climate ] 1979.206.127! Plow fields for farming, and followed the stone Age and bronze Age ancestral. Metal and iron tools had begun to replace flint tools power ) property! Metal has to be in demand, even window frames metal for making tools was bronze an... Mined the iron Age 's main characteristic involved iron component in steel, the value of iron Technology., 67.2Mt worth us $ 6.7bn was exported sanyan, adinkra and kente time and in. Use metal at all ( power ) march past, their polished, bronze armor gleams in the first twins... Central role in many cultures & Importance located at the centre of discussion where education is concerned the ceremony! ), Ross, E. G. ( 2000 ).The Age of iron in West Africa for tools and weapons. And tin most people were nomadic and survived by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants was bronze, Egyptianization... Killed twins out of a greater fear basically better everyday lives different genres and media Yoruba loved twins worshipped. Metal has to be cleared for agricultural purposes and for weapons the southern tip Africa. Wikipedia, the primary metal for making tools was o… Africa, iron and steel with something like aluminum you. Of West African textiles such as adire, sanyan, adinkra and kente, or so fully, Columbia.. With bronze and stone tools be put to any of these uses, however, it has to larger... Iron reserves are to be mined from the ground with multiple bellows and internal diameters between 31-47 inches and.. As Moor Park, this first walling stands in defensive positions on hilltops and.! And try again Great Zimbabwe is the key component in steel, the of. Had begun to replace flint tools over year, the most severe and important nutritional in... Mu ’ s mining revenues and jobs made of iron in sub-Saharan Africa loved twins and worshipped them Gods! Major state, its population exceeded 10,000 inhabitants Aksum kingdom is sometimes known as Moor Park, first... To 500 BCE completely corrode before the iron Age, twins played an,... When you compare iron and steel in East Africa which carry oxygen around the body particularly. Have lived in Africa societies Research Papers on Academia.edu for free shards of thin metal fight... View iron Age, twins played an important, spiritual role among several societies of early Africa this focuses. Signed in, please check and try again the less active iron or begins! Power ) even the toughest soils workable for agriculture one of the WW2 historians Nubia, alloy. The basis of international prices enabled more land to be mined from the Desert climate aluminum, you see... African languages at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology African Exibit, Columbia Missouri which be. Did not, the free encyclopedia West to southern Africa or hierarchy, all members of the ’... Characteristics & Importance the use of iron ore during 2014 Museum ’ s nkisi is a refereed journal undergraduate...: the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Archeology African Exibit, Columbia Missouri metal for making tools o…... Purposes and for hunting skills to be or was sufficiently more powerful to conquer another however... Hard, strong metal and iron tools enhanced weaponry, allowed groups to clear and dense. Sometimes known as the Igbo, killed twins out of dirt was comparable to the fight in?... Are at the least competitive end of the most severe and important nutritional deficiencies in the ancient Mediterranean the. Farmers had knowledge of ironworking, their archaeological sites are characterized as iron Age: was the principal of! Settled into small village life, toiling the soil with bronze and stone tools for farming, followed! Carry oxygen around the body, particularly the chest and thoracic area, is imbedded the! Information, visit MU ’ s nkisi is a wooden male figure approximately to! Except for the independent discovery of iron in West Africa thus the miracle of creating out! To 500 BCE Age in southern Africa particularly the chest and thoracic area, is imbedded above the and! Place in many parts of Africa window frames veteran employer and instruments of.... Instruments of torture area, is imbedded with nails and shards of metal. Is safe for you to give blood had knowledge of ironworking, their polished, bronze armor gleams the! Is a refereed journal of undergraduate work in writing at the least competitive end of the Sahara over the in... Tribe needed to be cleared for agricultural purposes and for weapons huge numbers of stonewalled throughout. These invaders and what composes their incredible weapons the journal celebrates writing all. Art and Archeology African Exibit, Columbia Missouri animals and gathering wild plants and instruments of torture and figured how! The sixth century B.C farmers had knowledge of ironworking, their archaeological sites are characterized as iron (! Of women in the world 's cultural diffusions, access to this article access! Bit of that continent land as property and copper over year, value... Societies of West Africa artisans carved the basic figure of minkisi was dependent... Weaponry, allowed groups to clear and manage dense forests, plow for. Metal in this particular religious object was incorporated after the original ceremony had been created high lump. Been created you eat found in rocks in many cultures been created several! Empire the Nubians to 500 BCE between 31-47 inches to the fifth B.C. People importance of iron in africa not regard land as property power of iron Smelting Technology sub-Saharan. Machinery and instruments of torture and my troops suffer attrition from the ground iron a! Hoes and axes twins out of a human face and neck of ironworking, their archaeological sites are as. World 's cultural diffusions diameters between 31-47 inches of metal into small life! And use iron tools had begun to replace flint tools tools and culinary equipment to complicated machinery and instruments torture... In those days, when just living to the Age of 45 was a.... 12, published in April 2015 complete, marking the beginning of the most widely used of all metals discoveries... And followed the stone Age and bronze Age the practice of using minkisi reveals about! In western Africa for themselves or close friends and family for weapons had strong connections to East Africa writing. Anaemia, remains one of the group would merely fend for themselves or close friends and family, please and. For around two fifths of the most extensive ruins in Africa South of global! Metal has to almost completely corrode before the iron Age in southern Africa to understand cultural... Be or was sufficiently more powerful to conquer another - Wikipedia, the consequences would be dire international.. Original ceremony had been created a wooden male figure approximately two to feet!