Between bloomery and blast furnace: Mafa iron-smelting technology in North Cameroon

Nicholas David, Robert Heimann, David J Killick, Michael Wayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The re-enactment of a smelt in a Mafa down-draft furnace produced cast iron in addition to steel and low-carbon iron. Further processing of these products in a forge to decarburize the high-carbon materials resulted in forgeable, weldable steel quite suitable for the manufacture of traditional implements. This is the first documented case of an indirect iron smelting process from Africa. The ethnographic account is accompanied by a description of the technical aspects of the transformation of ore into steel, based upon chemical and microscopic analyses of the ore and of the metallic, slag and ceramic products and byproducts. Estimates of iron production and charcoal consumption under traditional conditions are offered, and the continuous Mafa process is contrasted with the batch process reported for the Sukur and Marghi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-208
Number of pages26
JournalThe African Archaeological Review
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cameroon
Bloomery
Furnace
Steel
Iron Smelting
Carbon
Ore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

Cite this

Between bloomery and blast furnace : Mafa iron-smelting technology in North Cameroon. / David, Nicholas; Heimann, Robert; Killick, David J; Wayman, Michael.

In: The African Archaeological Review, Vol. 7, No. 1, 12.1989, p. 183-208.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

David, Nicholas ; Heimann, Robert ; Killick, David J ; Wayman, Michael. / Between bloomery and blast furnace : Mafa iron-smelting technology in North Cameroon. In: The African Archaeological Review. 1989 ; Vol. 7, No. 1. pp. 183-208.
@article{8f2ba587de144928a102895a76beaf6e,
title = "Between bloomery and blast furnace: Mafa iron-smelting technology in North Cameroon",
abstract = "The re-enactment of a smelt in a Mafa down-draft furnace produced cast iron in addition to steel and low-carbon iron. Further processing of these products in a forge to decarburize the high-carbon materials resulted in forgeable, weldable steel quite suitable for the manufacture of traditional implements. This is the first documented case of an indirect iron smelting process from Africa. The ethnographic account is accompanied by a description of the technical aspects of the transformation of ore into steel, based upon chemical and microscopic analyses of the ore and of the metallic, slag and ceramic products and byproducts. Estimates of iron production and charcoal consumption under traditional conditions are offered, and the continuous Mafa process is contrasted with the batch process reported for the Sukur and Marghi.",
author = "Nicholas David and Robert Heimann and Killick, {David J} and Michael Wayman",
year = "1989",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1007/BF01116843",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
pages = "183--208",
journal = "African Archaeological Review",
issn = "0263-0338",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Between bloomery and blast furnace

T2 - Mafa iron-smelting technology in North Cameroon

AU - David, Nicholas

AU - Heimann, Robert

AU - Killick, David J

AU - Wayman, Michael

PY - 1989/12

Y1 - 1989/12

N2 - The re-enactment of a smelt in a Mafa down-draft furnace produced cast iron in addition to steel and low-carbon iron. Further processing of these products in a forge to decarburize the high-carbon materials resulted in forgeable, weldable steel quite suitable for the manufacture of traditional implements. This is the first documented case of an indirect iron smelting process from Africa. The ethnographic account is accompanied by a description of the technical aspects of the transformation of ore into steel, based upon chemical and microscopic analyses of the ore and of the metallic, slag and ceramic products and byproducts. Estimates of iron production and charcoal consumption under traditional conditions are offered, and the continuous Mafa process is contrasted with the batch process reported for the Sukur and Marghi.

AB - The re-enactment of a smelt in a Mafa down-draft furnace produced cast iron in addition to steel and low-carbon iron. Further processing of these products in a forge to decarburize the high-carbon materials resulted in forgeable, weldable steel quite suitable for the manufacture of traditional implements. This is the first documented case of an indirect iron smelting process from Africa. The ethnographic account is accompanied by a description of the technical aspects of the transformation of ore into steel, based upon chemical and microscopic analyses of the ore and of the metallic, slag and ceramic products and byproducts. Estimates of iron production and charcoal consumption under traditional conditions are offered, and the continuous Mafa process is contrasted with the batch process reported for the Sukur and Marghi.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0001355940&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0001355940&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/BF01116843

DO - 10.1007/BF01116843

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0001355940

VL - 7

SP - 183

EP - 208

JO - African Archaeological Review

JF - African Archaeological Review

SN - 0263-0338

IS - 1

ER -