A burned basin-like feature is visible in profile in the east wall of excavation unit 130W 26S, Mound 138, Kuulo Kataa. Clustered and adjacent to the burned area at the base of level 7 are three pottery pedestal bases, broken away from their original pots. The presence of slag and other burned features in adjacent units suggest that Mound 138 was a place where the site's occupants worked metals. A photo scale with 5 cm intervals points north. Kuulo Kataa, 14 July, 1995.
A deeply worn grinding stone (grindstone 1, NK-08-112) removed from levels 1-2, unit 44N 4W, Mound 6, Ngre Kataa, photographed at the side of the excavation unit. The grinding stone was found in association with other grinding stones, tuyere fragments and whole and partial pots. When found, the grinding stone was oriented with its working surface facing downward. It was located adjacent to a concentration of dark soil (feature 1) that contained abundant oxidized sediment, slag and broken pottery. Archaeologists interpret the features at Mound 6 as facilities used to make and process metals. Photo scale in 5 centimeter increments. Ngre Kataa, 2 July, 2008.
Banda Research Project team members Amanda Logan (right) and Amy Groleau (left) draw a plan map of units 44N 4W and 44N 6W, Mound 6, Ngre Kataa. They map in situ artifacts and features, including several large grinding stones, a whole pot, pottery clusters and a tuyere fragment. Wooden stakes mark the corners of 2 x 2 meter excavation units. A photo scale place near a partially exposed everted rim jar in unit 44N 6W (NK-08-407) is in 5 centimeter increments. Ngre Kataa, 7 July, 2008.
In-progress excavations of adjacent 2 x 2 m units at Mound 148, Kuulo Kataa. The base of units 70E 48-52N and 72E 50N have been excavated to depths ranging from 90-110 cm below datum. The large area of dark soil concentrated in unit 70E 50N (center) is intrusive pit fill which cut through the living surface at this mound level. An area of packed reddish-orange laterite gravel in unit 70E 52N (bottom, left) likely represents a prepared floor surface. To the right of the dark pit soil, in the boundary between units 70E 50N and 70E 48N, is a an irregularly shaped burned feature interpreted by archaeologists as likely associated with metalworking. Two radiocarbon samples associated with this burned feature had calibrated age ranges between c.1200-1400 CE. A cluster of hearth stones has been exposed in nearby unit 72E 50N (center photo). White bags filled with soil samples collected for flotation sit outside the excavated area together with excavation equipment. View looking eastwards. Kuulo Kataa, 11 July, 2000.
In June 2011, Banda Research Project team member Amanda Logan collaborated with local artist Kwame K.B. 2 to develop paintings for the doors of the Banda Cultural Centre's courtyard. The paintings illustrate crafts practiced in the area for which we have archaeological evidence. This image shows a blacksmith forging iron. Based on the presence of byproducts like slag and the tools used to make metal, we know that blacksmiths smelted and forged iron in the Banda area from at least 1000 years ago. Banda Cultural Centre, Ahenkro, June, 2016.
A crucible used to process copper alloys from Kuulo Kataa, Mound 130, Unit 95E 102N, Level 12. Crucibles like this would have been used to heat copper alloys to a liquid state for use in casting, including casting through a lost-wax process. Scale in cm. Kuulo Kataa, 27 June, 2000.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
University of Victoria Libraries
Kuulo Kataa, Mound 130, Unit 95E 102N, Level 12
Handicraft; Metal casting; Metalworking; Copper alloys; Lost wax casting; Archaeology; Lost-wax process; Crucibles; Artifacts (Antiquities)
Iron slag is formed as a byproduct of iron smelting. Here a large slag nodule has broken in half, revealing its interior texture. At the archaeological site of Ngre Kataa, large chunks of 'bubbly' slag like this were occasionally found in household and other contexts, away from areas otherwise associated with metal-working activities. Potters at the time of the site's occupation had begun to use crushed iron slag as a tempering agent in their potting clays, which may explain why large nodules were being carried and cached in areas away from metal-working locations. Ngre Kataa, June, 2008.
Archaeological excavations of Mound 6 at Ngre Kataa in 2009 expose a workshop where blacksmiths produced iron and copper-alloy tools and ornaments. The mound is being excavated in 2 x 2 meter units named for the coordinates of their northeast corner. In unit 50N 0W (foreground), an area of burned soil marks the location where blacksmiths heated metals. A pottery jar sits in place to the right. In surrounding units (50N 2W, 48N 0W, 48N 2W) are large anvil stones where the hot metals would have been hammered and shaped through forging. The mound's stratified deposits suggest that the workshop area was used for many decades, and perhaps centuries, between the years of about 1350 and 1520 CE (Common Era). View across the mound from the northeast looking towards the southwest. Site Ngre Kataa. 27 June, 2009.
A perforated pottery jar lidded with the pedestaled base of another pot sits in situ at the base of level 6, unit 46N 2W at Mound 6. The pot contained eight cowries and is interpreted by archaeologists as a shrine pot placed in association with metalworking facilities. Photo scale in 5 cm increments. Site Ngre Kataa. 24 June, 2009.
Several grinding stones, a whole pot and a cluster of pottery sherds have been exposed in situ at the base of level 3, unit 44N 4W at Mound 6, Ngre Kataa. The large grinding stone in the foreground (grinding stone 1, NK-08-112) is oriented with its grinding surface facing down. Another smaller stone rests on a soil pedestal created as archaeologists excavated surrounding soil to a lower level. Upper right, a whole pottery jar (NK-08-176) sits next to a large grinding stone (grinding stone 3, NK-08-173) oriented with its grinding surface up. To the far left, above the photo scale in centimeters, archaeologists have exposed the edges of a pottery jar, broken in half and lying on its side. As excavations extended into the adjacent unit (42N 4W, to the left), this broken pot was found to be associated with two tuyere fragments. This cluster of grindstones, tuyeres and nearby burned features is interpreted as part of a larger metal-working workshop, the activities of which led to the build up of mound 6. The soil on the right side of the unit is darker because it is moister than that on the left. View to west. Site Ngre Kataa. 1 July, 2008.