Early iron production in Sudan

Author(s): Jane Humphris; Michael Charlton

Year: 2017


Since 2012 archaeometallurgical investigations have been undertaken at the Royal City of Meroe, a capital of the Kingdom of Kush situated c. 250 km north of modern day Khartoum, Sudan. During the research, a chronological history of iron production at this site has been generated that spans at least one thousand years. Insights into various stages of the chaîne opératoire of iron production have also been revealed, including the location and techniques of iron ore extraction, the procurement of charcoal, the production of technical ceramics, and insights into the smelting parameters such as furnace design. This paper presents new data concerning the earliest remains of iron production found so far at the site. The material has recently been excavated towards the lowest levels of the largest slag mound at Meroe, and includes iron slag, charcoal and tuyere fragments. This material may date back to the Napatan period or earlier; new radiocarbon dates will also be presented. The results of laboratory analysis of the excavated material are contextualized within the framework of Kushite history as well as African ferrous metallurgy.

Cite this Record

Early iron production in Sudan. Jane Humphris, Michael Charlton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430708)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16837