African Archaeological Review

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 197–215 | Cite as

African metallurgy in the Atlantic world

  • Candice L. Goucher


This paper examines the history of African metallurgy in the era of Atlantic trade. It reports on excavations at the John Reeder foundry site in St Thomas, Jamaica. The transfer of African technologies to the Caribbean reveals the plantation economy's dependence on African technical expertise, not merely slave labour. The comprehensive focus on the Atlantic world also informs archaeological investigations of African-European interaction in West Central Africa. The complexity of Atlantic technological history is characterized by a diverse range of dynamic interactions, rather than the inevitable decline of Africanderived systems. Only by identifying processes as well as products of African technological interaction will it be possible fully to reconstruct the forging of the African past.


Cultural Study Diverse Range Dynamic Interaction Technical Expertise Plantation Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Cet article examine l'histoire de la métallurgie africaine à l'ère du commerce atlantique. Il rend compte des excavations au site de la fonderie John Reeder, à St Thomas, en Jamaïque. Le transfert des technologies africaines aux Antilles révèle à quel point l'économie de plantation dépendait de l'expertise technique africaine, et pas seulement de l'esclavage. L'accent placé sur le monde atlantique inspire aussi les recherches archéologiques sur l'interaction afro-européenne à l'ouest de l'Afrique centrale. La complexité de l'histoire technologique atlantique est caractérisée par une gamme diverse d'interactions dynamiques, plutôt que par l'inévitable déclin des systèmes africains dérivés. Ce n'est qu'en identifiant les processus aussi bien que les produits de l'interaction technologique africaine qu'il sera possible de reconstruire complètement l'élaboration du passé africain.


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Copyright information

© Cambridge University Press 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candice L. Goucher

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