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Yes, yes, we know this

Scientists have discovered that some of the Benin bronzes were made with brass mined thousands of miles away in the German Rhineland.

The Edo people in the Kingdom of Benin, modern Nigeria, created their extraordinary sculptures with melted down brass manilla bracelets, the grim currency of the transatlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries.

While rarely found in archaeological excavations on land, they have been retrieved in substantial numbers from the wrecks of vessels that had been transporting them.

In carrying out the largest study of these bracelets, a team of German researchers compared their metal with metallic ores and mines across Europe before tracing them to the Rhineland in western Germany.

Long been known in fact. Which, of course, means the Benin Bronzes should be sent to San Francisco in reparations.

11 thoughts on “Yes, yes, we know this”

  1. Given’s brass is an alloy of copper and zinc how was it transmuted into bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Alchemy?

  2. @Ljh
    You couldn’t call them the Benin Brasses, people would think they were a musical ensemble.

  3. Where there’s grift, there’s brass.

    Not sure what exactly is “extraordinary” about the “Benin brasses”.

    Let them have the shite back! (On the infinitesimal chance they’ll stop whining)

  4. I excavated a shipwreck off the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, a vessel known as a Balanghai. We found dozens of manillas on it, and the bones that went with them. We presumed the slaves were shackled to the wreck when it went down. We dated the wreck to early 1400’s by the blue and white porcelain trade ware and Chinese coins. Fascinating to find them 100 years before the Spanish arrived, and probably the reason I didn’t have my head chopped off.

  5. It’s quite common to see brass referred to as bronze. Most “bronze” is in fact brass.
    You couldn’t even use bronze for most applications. The melting point of brasses is at least 100 degrees lower than bronze alloys & bronze is much harder.

  6. MG: over here, particularly in London, Benin Brasses might be assumed to be a troop of ladies of negotiable affection.

  7. The article is conspicuously missing one rather pertinent point namely any attribution of guilt towards todays Germans on account of their distant ancestors (several centuries before Germany even existed) culpability in presumably enriching themselves by supplying this vital element in facilitating the slave trade.

    If it was the evil Brits manufacturing these bangles we’d be hearing one hell of a lot more about it.

    Try harder Guardian. I’m sure you could find a British middle-man in the brass trading business if you really looked for one.

  8. Funny thing is, for decades now people have been trying to “just get along” regardless of who did what way back when, but the BLM activists insist on embarrassing themselves.

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