Duncan Miller Maanda Mulaudzi David Killick


In 1930 Mrs E D Giesekke, the wife of a missionary, published an account of indigenous charcoal manufacture, iron mining, smelting and smithing in the Lowveld region of northern South Africa. Despite earlier mention of iron and copper working in the area around Phalaborwa by European travellers and explorers, Mrs Giesekke’s account is the only known detailed description of the smelting process and rituals associated with it. This paper is an annotated translation of Mrs Giesekke’s account from the original German, including a translation of one of the smelters’ songs recorded by her. This complements recently completed archaeometallurgical analyses of smelting debris from the Phalaborwa area.


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How to Cite
An historical account of iron smelting in the Lowveld, South Africa. (2022). Historical Metallurgy, 36(2), 112-121. https://hmsjournal.org/index.php/home/article/view/267