Iron and its influence on the prehistoric site of Lejja
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Iron and its influence on the prehistoric siteof Lejja
ABSTRACT: Archaeological investigations at the prehistoric iron smelting site of Lejja, Nigeria, made possible the studyof some large scale iron smelting debris – evidence of a once thriving iron smelting community. The main village squarein Lejja, contains over 800 slag blocks weighing between 34 and 57 kg. Furnaces, tuyères and slag are visible on the surfacein many places. The site has been radiocarbon dated to approximately 2000 BC. Iron smelting is currently extinct in Lejja,and there are no active iron smiths in the entire community.For a community to experience such a profuse production of iron, the people must have interacted with situations andcircumstances which impacted their life and modified their social existence. This raises some important questions: Whydid smelting become extinct in the area? Are there traces of the past in the present life of the inhabitants of Lejja? Whatinfluenced them to embark on such an extensive iron production in prehistory?