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7 - Metalworking in Pre-Islamic North Africa

A View from the Garamantian Oases

from Part III - Metallurgy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

C. N. Duckworth
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
A. Cuénod
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
D. J. Mattingly
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
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Summary

This chapter first reviews the evidence for metal and metalworking recovered in Fazzan (Libyan Sahara) and presents the results of an analytical program carried out by the Trans-SAHARA Project. This evidence is then considered in relation to other Saharan, North African and West African sites dating from a similar period. The Garamantes seem to have used both copper alloys and iron for ornamental as well as utilitarian purposes. Chemical analysis of the copper-base fragments indicates that at least part of the metal was imported from the Roman world. However, the recovery at Garamantian sites of a certain amount of metalworking debris (slag, hearths and ingot moulds) dating to the second half of the first millennium BC to the beginning of the first millennium AD, shows that metal was also worked and transformed in the oases. Moreover, evidence for trade and possible shared technological choices between Fazzan and sites on the southern edge of the desert is starting to emerge. These choices would have been influenced by environmental constraints such as the scarcity of fuel and copper ores and impacted by the entanglement of metallurgy with other technologies such as agriculture.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

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Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

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