Impressions of Banana Pseudostem in Iron Slag from Eastern Africa
The use of banana plants in the historical iron production industries of several pre-colonial kingdoms of southern and western Uganda has been documented by the presence of banana pseudostem impressions preserved in slag, a waste product of smelting. An investigation into the selection and use of plants within these technologies was undertaken in 2003 in southern Uganda, implementing a new methodology to record the archaeobotanical information contained within the slag. Non-destructive casts of plant impressions were made on-site using a polyvinylsiloxane dental gel. These were then taken to London for further examination, and the casts were identified to the level of plant family, enabling quantitative and qualitative analysis. More recently, archaeometallurgical research in western Uganda in 2007 also revealed the repeated presence of these banana pseudostem impressions in iron smelting slag, confirming that this was an unusual, yet intentional aspect of these localized iron production technologies.
How to Cite
All articles are copyrighted by the first author and are published online by license from the first author. Articles are intended for free public distribution and discussion without charge. Accuracy of the content is the responsibility of the authors.