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Ref ID: 22405
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Canavas, Constantin
Title: Early use of iron in Aksum - trade and technology transfer across the Ethiopian highland
Date: 2015
Source: Metals and civilizations
Place of Publication: Bangalore, India
Publisher: National Institute of Advanced Studies
Notes: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on the Beginnings of the Use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA VII)
Abstract: The beginning of the use of metals in sub-Saharan Africa has been a controversial topic for several decades. The study of the use of iron is central to the issue, because iron is considered as the earliest fashioned metal in that region. Some argue that the introduction of iron into sub-Saharan Africa was a result of the Greco-Roman influence penetrating from the Mediterranean coast through the Nile valley, while others suggest that it came in with waves of trade and migration from the southern Arabian Peninsula. The areas that might be candidates for the earliest use (and perhaps also production) of iron are the Sudan and the Ethiopian highland in north-eastern Africa. The present study focuses on the latter region that, for some centuries, was the dominion of the Aksumite kingdom, a mighty political formation in Late Antiquity. The goal of the present study is to evaluate questions concerning the introduction of the use of iron and its production in Aksum by revisiting the historical and epigraphic sources in light of recently published archaeological evidence. The present study focuses on plausible interpretative models for the provenance and use of iron in the Axumite territory. It reconsiders previous claims and controversies, including the theory regarding the introduction of iron to Aksum through trade and migration from the southern Arabian Peninsula during the 1st millennium BCE, and an alternative hypothesis which associates Aksumite iron with Nubian (Meroitic) influence in a later period. The goal of the study is to check the consistency of the argumentation supporting the two hypotheses, and to assess the significance of the existing evidence for the various interpretative models in order to assess the veracity of each argument.
Date Created: 4/11/2016
Editors: Srinivasam, Sharada
Ranganathan, Srinivasa
Giumlia-Mair, Alessandra
Page Start: 47