Professor Shadreck Chirikure takes us on a light-hearted yet poignant tour of pre-colonial African technology, with particular focus on indigenous mining and metalworking, in this TEDxTableMountain talk.
Chirikure points to the glaring gaps in our recorded and widely-recognised African history. Through his work as an archaeologist, he is actively seeking to shed light on this previously dark subject.
Shadreck Chirikure is Associate Professor of Archaeology and Director of the Archaeological Materials Laboratory at the University of Cape Town. His research combines techniques from the hard sciences with those from the humanities to explore pre-colonial African technologies such as metal and pottery production. Chirikure has carried out excavations at various sites, including the Great Zimbabwe and Khami World Heritage sites. His work is exposing the technologies that sustained these internationally well-known sites. Chirikure's two books, Indigenous Mining and Metallurgy in Africa (Cambridge University Press) and Metal in Society (Springer) have been well received. Chirikure's current research explores the survival of precolonial technologies into the present within the discourse of indigenous knowledge systems.
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