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Classification et chronologie de bas fourneaux de réduction du fer à usage unique au sud-ouest du Niger
Journal of African Archaeology  (IF),  Pub Date : 2016-11-01, DOI: 10.3213/2191-5784-10283
Rodrigue Guillon, Christophe Petit, Jean Louis Rajot, Amadou Abdourhamane Touré, Oumarou A. Idé, Zibo Garba

In southwestern Niger, near Niamey, several thousand singleuse bloomery furnaces have been mapped and identified. The archaeological study of approximately 30 furnaces and their slag reveals the existence of four methods for iron smelting: three types of pit furnace and one slag-tapping type. The slag pit furnaces are clearly differentiated by the form and volume of their pits. All slag-tapping furnaces drain off slag through small openings. The slag is tapped either vertically or laterally. According to radiocarbon dates, the smelting activity developed in the 2nd century AD and intensified through to the 14th century. It continued to evolve until the middle of the 20th century. The low intensity of iron production for these furnaces indicates the products were intended mainly for the local market.