Pre-Colonial Mining In Southern Africa

Hammel, A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
This paper summarizes indigenous mining methods used to collectmetal ores in pre-colonial southern Africa, south of 15°S. These methods, for the purposes of discussion, are divided into sections inorder of increasing organizational complexity, from scavenging,which only required basic equipment and a relatively minimal division of labour, to underground mines, which necessitated complex planning to overcome obstacles such as the need for illumination and ventilation. Examples concerning the pre-colonial exploitation of iron, copper, tin, and gold have been taken from the archaeological literature. This review paper provides an introduction to the technology that was available to and used by miners in the past, illuminates some of the factors limiting their operations, and supports the claim to the indigenous nature of this activity
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