par Nikis, Nicolas ;Rademakers, Frederik W.;De Putter, Thierry
Référence HMS Research in Progress Meeting (15-11-2019: University of Cambridge)
Publication Non publié, 2019-11-15
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : Copper has played a fundamental role in the socio-political and economic history of Central Africa during the 2nd millennium AD but its production and trade have for long not received much attention in archaeological research. In the past few years, new research has however deepened the topic in the two main producing areas, the Niari Basin (South Rep. of Congo), and the Copperbelt (South-East DRC). The investigation of copper production sites in the Niari Basin allowed to outline the diversity of manufacturing process in the area between the 9th and 19th century and their link with the wider socio-political context. In the meantime, reappraisal of evidence related to copper ingots produced in the Copperbelt has shown a complex set of interaction between this region and the areas south of the Zambezi and the role of polities in the exchanges. Those studies have further set the basis for a first geochemical characterisation of both deposits and their production with the aim of illuminating their provenance and production technology. Benefiting from these new developments, a new project aims to investigate the history of regional long-distance copper exchange networks, studying both their physical patterns and how they worked. An interdisciplinary approach – including archaeology, materials science, historical geography and history – will be used for unravelling the course of the trade routes and their regional interconnectivity. The late 19th century networks are historically well documented and will serve as a starting point for tracing their earlier configurations, origins and precursors, using material culture as the main source of evidence.