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Sébastien Perret 1 Caroline Robion-Brunner 2 Vincent Serneels 1 1) Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland 2) Department of Anthropology,

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Presentation on theme: "Sébastien Perret 1 Caroline Robion-Brunner 2 Vincent Serneels 1 1) Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland 2) Department of Anthropology,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sébastien Perret 1 Caroline Robion-Brunner 2 Vincent Serneels 1 1) Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland 2) Department of Anthropology, University of Geneva, Switzerland International research program Palaeoenvironment and Human Population in West Africa, University of Geneva The socio-economic organisation of the iron production: Examples from the Dogon area (Mali)

2 Main issues Social status of the ironworkers Organization of the production (workforce management, control over means of production and products) Diffusion / consumption of iron (tools, semi-finished goods) Introduction

3 Technological traditions on the Dogon plateau Large scale, Fiko tradition Medium scale, Ouin tradition Medium scale, Aridinyi tradition FIKO ARIDINYI OUIN

4 Smelting technology Bloomery iron smelting Low temperature process Natural draft pit furnaces Chaîne opératoire Ore extraction and charcoal production Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing The chaîne opératoire Ore extractionSmeltingSmithing Huysecom 1996

5 Social categories involved Dogon farmers Blacksmiths Status Workforce Holders of rights on: –land –raw materials –means of production –products Holders of knowledge –magical –technical The actors of the iron metallurgy The Dogon farmers The blacksmiths

6 FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge FarmersSmithsExternal Bloom Half-product FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods Workforce Control of the means of production Control of the products Fiko Ouin Aridinyi NIGER / BANI YAMÉ

7 FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge FarmersSmithsExternal Bloom Half-product FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge Workforce Control of the means of production Control of the products Ouin Aridinyi Fiko Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods NIGER / BANI YAMÉ

8 FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge FarmersSmithsExternal Bloom Half-product FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Mining Charcoal Smelting Bloomsmithing Smithing FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge FarmersSmithsExternal Bloom Half-product FarmersSmithsExternal Furnace Forge Workforce Control of the means of production Control of the products Ouin Aridinyi Fiko Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods NIGER / BANI YAMÉ

9 Fiko tradition smelting: farmers smithing: blacksmiths Dualist system Ouin tradition Smelting / smithing: blacksmiths Unitarian system Aridinyi tradition smelting: blacksmiths / farmers smithing: blacksmiths Mixed system Social organisation of the production Bruno Martinelli (1992, 1993, 2000, 2002) Olivier Langlois ( )

10 Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods Ouin Aridinyi Fiko NIGER / BANI YAMÉ

11 Ouin Aridinyi Fiko Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods NIGER / BANI YAMÉ

12 Aridinyi Ouin Fiko NIGER / BANI YAMÉ Villages and territories Smelting activities Workforce displacements (Semi-) finished goods

13 Bloomsmithing generally seems to take place at the smelting sites The iron circulates in form of bars or preforms All villages have blacksmiths that produce finished objects for local consumption In most cases, the iron enters the exchange network as bars or preforms, but neither as blooms nor finished objects Diffusion of raw iron

14 Fiko tradition > 900 years t of slag = 300 t/a Annual output: t/a 10s of tons Evaluation of the iron production Ouin tradition 500 years 2500 t of slag = 5 t/a Annual output: kg/a 100s of kg Aridinyi tradition 400 years t of slag = 25 t/a Annual output: t/a some tons Ratio of slag to iron (finished objects): from 10:1 to 5:1

15 Demography of the Dogon plateau in 1900 AD Population: individuals Mean village population: ca 500 About 150 villages Iron consumption (annual renewal of iron stock) Few iron in circulation (mostly hoes, weapons, knives…) Stock per adult men probably <2 kg, renewal max. 1 kg/a ca 100 adult men per village ca 100 kg per village Consumption

16 Ouin Aridinyi Fiko Excess production Underproduction Self-sufficiency Import NIGER / BANI 10s of tons 100s of kg Some tons

17 Different modes of socio-economic organisation coexist in small area Production of the small to medium-sized production sites is sufficient to supply the whole Dogon plateau Large scale iron production of the Fiko tradition are not or marginally involved in trading networks on the plateau Smelting activities on large smelting sites are controlled by farmers Conclusions

18 Thank you Acknowledgements Eric Huysecom, Palaeoenvironment and Human Population in West Africa, U. of Geneva Barbara Eichhorn, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt (anthracology) Anne Mayor, U. of Geneva (ceramic typology) Adama Dembele, Mission Culturelle de Bandiagara, Mali


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