Advertisement

African Archaeological Review

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 155–184 | Cite as

Animal Remains from Industrial Iron Age Communities in Phalaborwa, South Africa

  • Ina Plug
  • J. C. C. Pistorius
Article

Abstract

The Phalaborwa region in the Northern Province of South Africa has one of the richest copper- and iron-bearing deposits in southern Africa. These deposits have been worked for 1200 years and are still being worked. The abundance of ore reduction and metal production sites, dating mostly to the Late Iron Age, testifies to the importance of these deposits. Those sites that were excavated provide valuable insight into the industrial processes, economy, rituals, and use of animals by these specialized communities. The faunal remains reflect different lifestyles, but also indicate that animal husbandry was not of primary importance. The communities were focused predominantly on metal production. The soils and climate of the region are not very suitable for herding and agriculture. Subsequently products of the metal working activities such as hoes were used as replacement for cattle in bride wealth.

La région Phalaborwa dans la province Nord d'Afrique de Sud constitue l'un des dépôts les plus riches de cuivre et de fer du sud d'Afrique. Ces dépôts ont été exploités pendant 1200 années et le sont toujours. L'importance de la réduction du minerais et de la production de métal de ces sites, datés pour la plupart sur la fin del'Age de Fer, témoignent de la richesse de ces dépôts. Deux sites qui furent fouillés, donnent des renseignements valables à propos des processus industriels, de l'économie, desrites et de l'utilisation des animaux par ces communautes spécialisées. Les ossements de la faune reflètent différents modes de view, mais indiquent également que l'économie animalière n'était pas de la première importance. Les sols et le climat de la région ne sont propices, ni à l'agriculture. D'autres produits issus du travail du fer, comme des houes, ont été utilisées en remplacement de l'élevage.

South Africa Iron Age metal working animal use domestic animals substitution ritual 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES CITED

  1. Acocks, J. P. H. (1975). Veld Types of South Africa, Botanical Survey Memoir 40, Department of Agriculture, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  2. Barnard, C. (1975). Die Transvaalse laeveld. Kamee van 'n kontrei, Tafelberg, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  3. Childs, T. S., and Killick, D. (1993). Indigenous African metallurgy: Nature and culture. Annual Review of Anthropology 22: 317–337.Google Scholar
  4. Collett, D. P. (1979). The Archaeology of the Stone Walled Settlements in the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa, M.Sc. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  5. Collett, D. P. (1993). Metaphors and representations associated with precolonial iron-smelting in eastern and southern Africa. In Shaw, T., et al. (eds.), The Archaeology of Africa. Food, Metals and Towns, Routledge, London, pp. 499–511.Google Scholar
  6. Dorward, D. C., and Payne, A. I. (1975). Deforestation, the decline of the horse, and the spread of the tsetse fly and Trypansomiasis (Nagaha) in nineteenth century Sierra Leone. Journal of African History 16: 239–256.Google Scholar
  7. Du Toit, A. P. (1967). Historiese oorsig van die Phalaborwa van die Laeveld, Publications of the University College of the North, Series A, No. 7, Pietersburg.Google Scholar
  8. Du Toit, A. P. (1968). Die plek van die materiële skeppinge van die baPhalaborwa in hul kultuur, D.Phil. thesis, University of South Africa, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  9. Eloff, J. F. (1976). Samevattende verslag oor argeologiese navorsing in die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin vanaf Julie 1974–Julie 1976, unpublished report, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  10. Eloff, J. F. (1977). Samevattende verslag oor argeologiese navorsing in die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin gedurende Junie en Julie 1977, unpublished report, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  11. Evers, T. M. (1973a). Iron Age research in the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa 1971. Current Anthropology 14: 487–488.Google Scholar
  12. Evers, T. M. (1973b). Three Early Iron Age sites in the North Eastern Transvaal Lowveld. South African Journal of Science 69: 325.Google Scholar
  13. Evers, T. M. (1974). Three Iron Age Industrial Sites in the North Eastern Transvaal Lowveld, Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  14. Evers, T. M. (1975). Recent Iron Age research in the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 30(19): 71–83.Google Scholar
  15. Evers, T. M. (1977a). Recent progress in studies of the Early Iron Age in the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 73(3): 78–81.Google Scholar
  16. Evers, T. M. (1977b). Plaston Early Iron Age site, White River District, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 32: 170–178.Google Scholar
  17. Evers, T. M. (1980). Klingbeil Early Iron Age sites, Lydenburg, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 35: 46–57.Google Scholar
  18. Evers, T. M. (1981). The Iron Age in the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. In Voigt, E. A. (ed.), Guide to Archaeological Sites in the Northern and Eastern Transvaal, Transvaal Museum, Pretoria, pp. 64–109.Google Scholar
  19. Evers, T. M., and Van den Berg, R. P. (1974). Ancient mining in Southern Africa with reference to a copper mine in the Harmony Block, North Eastern Transvaal. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 74: 217–226.Google Scholar
  20. Evers, T. M., and Van der Merwe, N. J. (1987). Iron Age ceramics from Phalaborwa, North Eastern Transvaal Lowveld, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 42(146): 87–106.Google Scholar
  21. Fuller, C. (1923). Tsetse in the Transvaal and Surrounding Territories, Union of South Africa, Department of Agriculture, Entomology Memoir No. 1, Government Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  22. Gertenbach, W. P. D. (1983). Landscapes of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe 26: 9–121.Google Scholar
  23. Grivetti, L. E. (1976). Dietary Resources and Social Aspects of Food Use in a Tswana Tribe, University of California, Davis.Google Scholar
  24. Haaland, R. (1985). Iron production, its socio-cultural context and ecological implications. In Haaland, R., and Shinnie, P. (eds.), African Iron Working. Ancient and Traditional, Norwegian University Press, Oslo, pp. 50–72.Google Scholar
  25. Hall, A. L. (1912). The Geology of the Murchison Range and District, Geological Survey Memoir 6, Government Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  26. Hammond-Tooke, W. D. (1981). Boundaries and Belief. The Structure of a Sotho Worldview, Human Sciences Research Council Publication Series, No. 74, Wits University Press, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  27. Herbert, E. W. (1984). Red Gold of Africa, Wisconsin Press, London.Google Scholar
  28. Herbert, E. W. (1993). Iron, Gender and Power. Rituals of Transformation in African Societies, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.Google Scholar
  29. Krige, E. J. (1937). Notes on the Phalaborwa and their Morula complex. Bantu Studies 11: 357–366.Google Scholar
  30. Krige, J. D. (1937). Traditional origins and tribal relationships of the Sotho of the Northern Transvaal. Bantu Studies 1: 321–356.Google Scholar
  31. Krige, J. D., and Krige, E. J. (1954). The Lovedu of the Transvaal. In Ford, D. C. (ed.), Cosmological Ideas and Social Values of African Peoples, published for the International African Institute, Oxford University Press, London, pp. 55–82.Google Scholar
  32. Kuper, A. (1980). Symbolic dimensions of the Southern Bantu homestead. Africa 50: 8–23.Google Scholar
  33. Kuper, A. (1982). Wives for Cattle. Bridewealth and Marriage in Southern Africa, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  34. Küsel, U. S. (1974). Extractive metallurgy in Iron Age South Africa. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 74: 246–249.Google Scholar
  35. Küsel, U. S. (1978). 'n Argeologiese studie van vroeë Ystersmelting in Transvaal, M.A. thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  36. Lambrecht, F. L. (1964). Aspects of evolution and ecology of tsetse flies and Trypanosomiasis in prehistoric Africa. Journal of African History 5: 1–24.Google Scholar
  37. Le Roux, T. H. (1964). Die dagboek van Louis Trigardt, Van Schaik, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  38. Mason, R. J. (1962). Prehistory of the Transvaal, Wits University Press, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  39. Mason, R. J. (1965). The origin of South African society. South African Journal of Science 16(7): 255–267.Google Scholar
  40. Mason, R. J. (1986). Origins of Black People of Johannesburg and the Southern Western Central Transvaal AD 350-188, Wits University Press, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  41. Mason, R. J., Brown, A. J. V., Fatti, L. P., and Beardall, G. (1983). Cluster and correspondence analysis of Iron Age faunal assemblages, circa AD 350-510 and AD 1550-1850 from Souther, Western and Eastern Transvaal. South African Journal of Science 79: 182–203.Google Scholar
  42. Mönnig, H. O. (1967). The Pedi, Van Schaik, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  43. Moore, C. (1966). Phalaborwa: Enkele voorlopige aantekening in verband met die etnologie en die argeologie. Manuscript filed at Foskor, Copyright Department of Anthropology, University of Potchefstroom, Potchefstroom.Google Scholar
  44. Moore, C. (1974). Some observations on “ancient” mining at Phalaborwa. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 74(6): 227–232.Google Scholar
  45. Nash, T. A. M. (1969). Africa's Bane, Collins, London.Google Scholar
  46. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1989). Die Metaalbewerkers van Phalaborwa, D.Phil. thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  47. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1992). Molokwane: An Iron Age Bakwena Village. Early Tswana Settlement in the Western Transvaal, Perskor, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  48. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1995a). Rathateng and Mabyanamatshwaana: Cradles of the Kwena and Kgatla. South African Journal of Ethnology 18(2): 49–64.Google Scholar
  49. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1995b). Radio-carbon dates from the Mabyanamatshwaana complex. South African Journal of Ethnology 18(3): 123–127.Google Scholar
  50. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1996). Spatial expressions in the kgosing of Molokwane. South African Journal of Ethnology 19(4): 143–164.Google Scholar
  51. Pistorius, J. C. C. (1997). The metal workers of Phalaborwa. The rise and decline of the Bamalatji metal working chiefdom. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  52. Pistorius, J. C. C. and Steyn, M. (1995). Iron working and burial practices amongst the Kgatla-Kwena of the Mabyanamatshwaana Complex. Southern African Field Archaeology 4: 68–77.Google Scholar
  53. Plug, I. (1988). Hunters and Herders: An Archaeo-zoological Study of Some Prehistoric Communities in the Kruger National Park, Ph.D. thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  54. Plug, I. (1994). Randjies: The faunal remains from a Late Iron Age site, northwestern Transvaal. Research by the National Cultural History Museum 3: 119–129.Google Scholar
  55. Punt, W. H. J. (1975). The First Europeans in the Kruger National Park, Simon van der Stel Foundation, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  56. Quin, P. J. (1959). Foods and Feeding Habits of the Pedi, Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  57. Rightmire, E. P., and Van der Merwe, N. J. (1976). Two burials from Phalaborwa and the association of race and culture in the Iron Age of southern Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 31: 143–152.Google Scholar
  58. Schwellnus, C. M. (1937). Short notes on the Palabora smelting ovens. South African Journal of Science 33: 904–912.Google Scholar
  59. Scully, R. T. K. (1978). Phalaborwa Oral Traditions, Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York, Albany.Google Scholar
  60. Smith, A. (1971). The Struggle for Control of Southern Mozambique, 1720–1835, Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  61. Smith, A. (1983). The Indian Ocean Zone. In Birmingham, D., and Martin, P. M. (eds.), History of Central Africa. Vol. 1, Longman, London, pp. 205–244.Google Scholar
  62. Stevenson-Hamilton, J. (1934). The Lowveld: Its Wild Life and Its People, Cassel and Co., London.Google Scholar
  63. Stuiver, M., and Van der Merwe, N. J. (1968). Radio carbon chronology of the Iron Age in Sub-Saharan Africa. Current Anthropology 9(1): 54–58.Google Scholar
  64. Thorne, R. M. (1974). Archaeological Survey in South Africa: Conceptual, Methodological, and Practical Problems–The Phalaborwa Complex, A Case Study, Ph.D. thesis, University of Missouri, Columbia.Google Scholar
  65. Trevor, T. G. (1912). Some observations on ancient mine workings in the Transvaal. Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa 12: 267–275.Google Scholar
  66. Van der Merwe, N. J. (1969). The Carbon-14 Dating of Iron, Chicago University Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  67. Van der Merwe, N. J. (1971). An Interim Report to the National Monuments Council of South Africa on Archaeological Investigations at Phalaborwa, National Monuments Council, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  68. Van der Merwe, N. J. (1980). The advent of Iron in Africa. In Wertime, T. A., and Muhly, J. D. (eds.), The Coming of the Age of Iron, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, and London, pp. 463–506.Google Scholar
  69. Van der Merwe, N. J., and Gordon, R. (1984). A metallographic study of iron artefacts from the Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. Archaeometry 26: 108–130.Google Scholar
  70. Van der Merwe, N. J., and Killick, D. J. (1979). Square: An iron smelting site near Phalaborwa. South African Archaeological Society. Goodwin Series 3: 86–93.Google Scholar
  71. Van der Merwe, N. J., and Scully, R. T. K. (1971). The Phalaborwa story: Archaeological and ethnographic investigations of a South African Iron Age group. World Archaeology 3(2): 178–196.Google Scholar
  72. Van Vuuren, C. J. (1976). Verslag oor etnologiese navorsing in die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin gedurende Julie 1976. Unpublished report, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  73. Van Warmelo, N. J. (1944). Ethnological Publications Nos. 10–16, Government Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  74. Verhoef, J. (1982). Die oprigting en ingebruikneming van die Masorini-terreinmuseum in die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin, Scription, Postgraduate Diploma in Museology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  75. Verwoerd, W. J. (1956). Sekere produkte van primitiewe koper-yster-en bronssmelterye in Oos-Transvaal met besondere verwysing na Phalaborwa, Technikon, Pretoria.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ina Plug
    • 1
  • J. C. C. Pistorius
    • 2
  1. 1.Transvaal MuseumPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Anthropology and ArchaeologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations