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The Film Tree Of Iron By Peter Schmidt

Decent Essays
The documentary Tree of Iron presents the quest of Peter Schmidt, an ethno-archeologist, to discover and recreate the ancient African process of iron smelting. Schmidt hypothesizes that ancient east African technology was not as primitive as other scientists might of thought. Therefore, he travelled to a village in Tanzania called Nyungwe, where the Haya people reside, to try to witness the process of forging iron first hand. Because this ancient African tradition is not written down, Schmidt joins village elders Norbert Kajuna and Herman Kariba, who both remember the iron smelting process, in making an iron furnace in the same way their ancestors did several years ago. This film’s main purpose is to show the importance of iron in the Haya community and the significance it had in several aspects of their lives. To the Haya, the iron itself was a source of material, story and…show more content…
For example, one of the things the Haya used the iron for was tools. Similar to the tool created in the documentary, in the past, farming or hunting tools were created from the iron. Sometimes these tools made of iron were traded with other regions and as a result, created a prosperous society. The sacred kaieja(ph) tree was the place where the ancient forges were built to make iron. It was also the location of the mythical Iron Tower, a tower that reached the sun andwas built from forged tools. The legend behind this Iron Tower tells of a powerful king who built this tower, which eventually crashed down and broke into many pieces in different villages. This story that is told by Byakela Rusinga, who is descended from royal blood lines, in the Tree of Iron has been passed down through generations shows the power of iron to evoke myth and legend for the Haya. They would equate the power
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