Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya

Chapurukha M. Kusimba, David J Killick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Few archaeologists have considered the possibility that control of local craft production and distribution may have been important in the development of sociopolitical complexity on the Iron Age Swahili Coast. Metallographic analysis of iron artifacts from Swahili sites reveals important information regarding the variety of ironworking techniques practiced. Swahili ironworkers were capable of producing high-carbon steel and even cast iron in their bloomeries. Artifacts of crucible steel from Galu, an iron forging site on the Kenya coast, are the first crucible steel samples known from sub-Saharan Africa and may have been locally produced. If iron formed a major commodity of Indian Ocean trade it may have crossed the ocean in many directions at different manufacturing stages-as bloom or finished artifacts. Coastal iron technology and its trade may have played a key role in Indian Ocean trade and social complexity among the Swahili.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEast African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Pages99-115
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)1931707618, 9781931707619
StatePublished - 2003

Fingerprint

Kenya
artifact
Indian Ocean
commodity
manufacturing
Ironworking
Iron
Coast
Artifact
Steel
Crucible
Indian Ocean Trade
Iron Technology
Craft Production
Sociopolitical Complexity
Cast Iron
Manufacturing
Social Complexity
Archaeologists
Ocean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Kusimba, C. M., & Killick, D. J. (2003). Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya. In East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders (pp. 99-115). University of Pennsylvania Press.

Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya. / Kusimba, Chapurukha M.; Killick, David J.

East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. p. 99-115.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Kusimba, CM & Killick, DJ 2003, Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya. in East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders. University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 99-115.
Kusimba CM, Killick DJ. Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya. In East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2003. p. 99-115
Kusimba, Chapurukha M. ; Killick, David J. / Ironworking on the Swahili Coast of Kenya. East African Archaeology: Foragers, Potters, Smiths, and Traders. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. pp. 99-115
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