chapter  2
23 Pages

A Permanent State of Decay: Contrived Dereliction at Heritage Mining Sites

ByMining Sites Peter Oakley

This chapter focuses on the memories of smelting that local informants shared during archaeometallurgical fieldwork in southern and western Uganda, alongside a consideration of what the significance of the research could be to local communities. The production of iron on an industrial scale played a central role in the development of political, social, economic and physical landscapes of several precolonial Ugandan kingdoms through the second millennium ad. One of the most important avenues into learning about these technologies has been through the application of ethnoarchaeological approaches. The application of ethnoarchaeological approaches has also drawn attention to the positive effects that such research can make on local cultural heritage. The simple task of speaking with local informants, as well as the more heavily invested task of commissioning technological reconstructions, can reinvigorate pride in near-forgotten local crafts, and can open a forum through which to communicate knowledge and experience of these industries to younger generations.