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Ethno-Archaeology in Jenné, Mali

Craft and status among smiths, potters and masons

Adria LaViolette
Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology


This is an ethnoarcaheological study exploring social and economic lives of specialized producers: blacksmiths, potters and masons, working in the Middle Niger area. The area was chosen because archaeological finds evidence some two thousand years of pottery making andiron smelting and forging. The three groups studied showed striking differences between them. The study included interest in persons and systems which resulted in considerations of specialization, and dedicated lineage production in the past, and the possible roles these may have played in Iron Age urbanism.