Gold. Copper. Iron. Metal working in Africa has been the subject of both public lore and extensive archaeological investigation. Here, four of the leading contemporary researchers on this topic attempt to provide a complete synthesis of current debates and understandings: Where, how, and when was metal first introduced to the continent? How were iron and copper tools, implements, and objects used in everyday life, in trade, in political and cultural contexts? What role did metal objects play in the ideological systems of precolonial African peoples? Substantive chapters address the origins of metal working and the technology and the various uses and meanings of copper and iron. An ethnoarchaeological account in the words of a contemporary iron worker enriches the archaeological explanations. This book provides a comprehensive, timely summary of our current knowledge.