Lecture historique, économique et spatiale de la production sidérurgique : les sites de réduction du village de Wol (pays dogon, Mali)

Abstract : Since 2002, within the framework of the international and interdisciplinary research project “Human Demographic and Paleoclimatic Changes in West Africa,” directed by Eric Huysecom, a paleometallurgical element was added whose objective was to study the rise of iron production in Dogon Country, from its origins to the present. As of 2010, about one hundred iron smelting sites have been located, mapped, and studied for the first time. Flourishing between the 11th and 19th centuries, traditional iron production was gradually replaced by European imports from 1900 onwards. At least seven different technological traditions have been characterized in different geographic areas. Based on the levels of metallurgical waste and site spatial organization, iron smelting was apparently geared toward markets of different scales. Small production sites or workshops were for local, probably village consumption. Others were oriented toward regional production within Dogon Country. For these smelting villages, ironworking was a major economic activity. Finally, in certain areas, intensive, large-scale production was oriented toward the sale of iron in foreign or external markets. The rise of regional and large-scale iron production had profound effects on the landscape due to the exploitation of natural resources (ore, charcoal, clay, etc.) and the development of ironworking sectors (mining, smelting, smithing). The study of the material remains of these activities (mine shafts, furnaces, blacksmith forges) and their effects on the terrain has permitted the reconstruction of iron production histories. In this paper, we are going to integrate the archaeogeographical data with that from ethnohistory. This will bring the region into focus using a combination of spatial, symbolic, and temporal reference points. And, this territorial or regional focus will also express the history of a people and their society and the reflect the dynamic and permanent creation and development of its cultural roots. We will base our presentation on the analysis of the spatial and temporal dimensions of iron production at the Dogon metallurgical site of Wol in the Seno Plain.
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Caroline Robion-Brunner. Lecture historique, économique et spatiale de la production sidérurgique : les sites de réduction du village de Wol (pays dogon, Mali). Caroline Robion-Brunner; Bruno Martinelli. Métallurgie du fer et Société africaines, BAR International Series (2395), Archaeopress, pp.125-140, 2012. ⟨hal-02010546⟩

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