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The First Known Primary Glass Workshop in Sub-Saharan Africa

Evidence of sophisticated indigenous glass technology at Ile-Ife, Nigeria, dated to about 1,000 years ago shows the region also contributed to technological innovation and creativity. The evidence shows that the region was not just a consumer of glass made elsewhere but also contributed to technological development, innovation and creativity. It also suggests that glass beads were mass-produced at Ile-Ife and traded as prestige items. The findings from the archaeological excavations at Ile-Ife include several pits that appeared to be furnace ruins, over 20,000 glass beads, 1,500 crucible fragments (ceramic vessels used in glass production), and several kilograms of glass waste. Another artefact from the site is semi-finished glass, which is the object of study of my recently published work. Semi-finished glass is a halfway vitrified glass. The raw materials for the glass have coagulated but not yet turned completely into glass.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE