As part of the Distinguished Virtual Seminar Series in Archaeological Science, the Cranfield Forensic Institute and Grenville Turner Studios will be hosting Professor David Killick and Jay Stephens (University of Arizona) for a talk about the archaeology of copper metallurgy in sub-Saharan Africa: Reconstructing the Production and Exchange of Copper in Central and Southern Africa over the Past 1500 Years


Copper mining and metallurgical technologies were brought to central and southern Africa, along with agriculture and iron metallurgy, by speakers of Bantu languages between 200 and 400 AD. It was initially used solely for jewellery but, after about 1000 AD, ingots of standard shapes and sizes were widely exchanged, and (in southern Congo only) a graded series of copper ingots became the basis of a monetary system. Copper is a relatively scarce element, so people in many parts of southern Africa had to obtain it by long-distance trade. With support from the US National Science Foundation, we are using lead isotopic ratios and trace element concentrations in copper from many archaeological sites (including Great Zimbabwe, Khami and Ingombe Ilede) to link artefacts to their parent ore bodies, and thus to reconstruct patterns of past exchange.  

Who should attend

All are welcome.


Free to attend.

How to register

Please complete the online application form