Article ID: CBB050197092

“Our Ancestors Were Material Scientists”: Archaeological and Geochemical Evidence for Indigenous Yoruba Glass Technology (2015)


The quest for a comprehensive understanding of Africa’s indigenous technology has been an important intellectual agenda in Black Studies. In some instances this interest has tended to be speculative and derivative because most Black Studies scholars are not trained in the disciplinary fields that are relevant for investigating Africa’s indigenous technology through primary field and laboratory research. Collaboration between Black Studies scholars and those in the physical sciences is therefore important in order to develop new insights into Africa’s indigenous technology. One of such collaborations has led to a new archaeological and geochemical evidence for primary glass manufacture in Yorubaland. Based on the recent archaeological finds of glass artifacts from Osun Grove (Osogbo, Nigeria), we present the laboratory data that lead us to the conclusion that the Yoruba of West Africa developed a unique glassmaking technology that lasted till the seventeenth century.

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Authors & Contributors
Freestone, I. C.
Turner, Gerard L'Estrange
McCray, W. Patrick
Ponting, M.
Hughes, M. J.
Thirlwall, M.
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Science in Context
Journal of Black Studies
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Oxford University Press
The MIT Press
Michigan State University
Glass and glassmaking
Traditional knowledge
Indigenous technology
Technology and Civilization
Technology and culture
Jabir Ibn Hayyan, Abu Musa, Al-Tusi
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
West Africa
Venice (Italy)

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