Discuss the distribution of copper working or bronze/brass casting over
The discovery of the use of metals by man has far reaching effects on his culture which is a product of his interaction with the environment.
Some of the metals the metals that man explored at different stages of his development were used in the manufacture of tools, ornaments, sculptures, etc. Different types of metal were found and explored in ancient
Unlike other parts of the of the world where evidence for the knowledge of working of other softer metals such as copper, brass and bronze predates that of other metallic materials, in West Africa evidence for the knowledge of iron working predates that of copper, brass and bronze working. From the Nok culture site of Taruga, the date for iron working stands at about the fifth to sixth centuries B.C. and to the fourth century B.C. at Tse Dura rock shelter. At the Baha mound, a date of second century B.C. was arrived at through the C14 dating technique. From
It is however more convenient to talk about of metal age in
In this write up, the distribution of copper or bronze/brass working in
From archaeological investigation in West Africa, it has been revealed that copper working or bronze/brass casting now and in the ancient past is distributed over a wide area, mostly along the northern part of the rain forest belt of
Copper is a relatively soft metal in its pure state, and it forms a relatively weak cutting tool, but it becomes stronger when alloyed with other metals.
Bronze is an alloy formed when copper and tin is mixed, with tin forming more than 2℅ of the raw material.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Zinc forms about 10℅ to 30℅ of the alloyed materials. This could be up to one to two percent of the materials of tin and zinc respectively. Lead may also be added to bronze or brass in varying quantities, and in this case the alloyed material is referred to as leaded bronze or brass.
The distribution of copper or bronze/brass in
From Dawu in southern
From Igbo Ukwu in Nigeria a large collection of bronze objects were recovered, they consist of objects from shrines such as; well decorated pots and bowls, depiction of animals in a way approaching life size, and regalia of an important personality. These objects were manufactured following two basic methods, the smiting and chasing method and the Cire Perdue or lost wax method.
Most of the bronze objects from Igbo Ukwu were made through the cire perdue method, while the copper objects were made through the smiting and chasing method. Spectrographic analysis carried out on the objects show that the cast objects were made from leaded bronze with varying amount of tin. The objects seemed to have been used mainly for ritual and religious purpose and no attempt was made to make any human sculpture.
In the south western part of
From the middle Jebba
Copper objects have been found and recovered from El Oualediji in
The Sao sites in
From the Agadez region in Niger republic, evidence of native copper exploitation goes back to the second millennium B.C. and that of smelting to the early mid first millennium B.C. from the various sites so far, there is evidence that copper or bronze and brass have been used to fashion luxury items, which served as mainly ritual and artistic functions.
The societies using this objects (copper, brass, bronze, iron) seemed to have had a great percent of wealth, high political and social stratification and also the possibility of trans-border trade.
For example the exactions at New Buipe show that some of the cupreous ornaments from this site may have been imported from the Gonga region probably as a result of trade. The bronze objects from Igbo Ukwu also has religious significance, as objects depicting the python, were made from bronze and also that of a leopard skull, this two animals depicted have great religious significance in the areas where they were found (eastern Nigeria).
The areas of Agadez- Taruga –Jenne Jeno seems to have the earlier dates for iron production, while the earlier dates for copper working seemed to have appeared in the Agadez region and Igbo Ukwu respectively.
Metal using brought about new trend in architectural techniques, and examples of such are the presence of potsherds pavements from Diama and
Andah B.W. (1993): Identifying Early Farming Traditions of
Aremu D.A. (2010): ARC 422 Class note
Muhammed I.M.(1993): Iron Technology in the Middle Sahel/Savanna with Emphasis on
Okafor E.E. (1993): New Evidence on Early Iron Smelting from South