Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Iron and Textiles: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
Khonsura A. Wilson
Iron and textiles are vital materials used in African craftworks. In the ancient Nile Valley, the people of Meroë of the ancient Nubian kingdom were the first to spin and weave cotton. Textile weaving probably appeared in west Africa during the Iron Age in the Nok culture or northern Nigeria shortly before the common era, perhaps as a result of Nubian influence. There is historical and religious lore surrounding the technology and crafting of ironworks and textiles. For instance, Africans credit the craft of weaving to Ananse, the spider from whom they copied, and the craft of ironworking to Ogun. The transition to and first use of iron represents a new technological development in Africa. Iron was found in the grassland countries south of the Sahara where iron ore was plentiful and ways of smelting the ore to obtain the iron from it were developed; new inventions or skills were ...