CLARK HERITAGE COLLECTION
Claude Lockhart Clark
The African hoe evolved from a pointed digging stick which food gathers used. With the spread of agriculture and invention of the hoe, the digging stick in most areas of Africa has long disappeared, but its movements and cultural evolution are retained in the iron hoe. The act of digging anything in Africa is and up and down motion which does not involve swinging. Sometimes Africans drag pointed objects. Europeans swing at the earth with their sharp iron clubbing devices while Africans stab it with a knife. The construction of the African hoe make it possible to retain most of the physical movements developed in use of the digging stick, (dragging or stabbing).
The act of digging is a part of cultivation and the act of carving involves investment. Both suggest sexual intercourse and sexual reproduction. Both suggest physical movement, which is confined and centralized. Return to Cover Page
People came together and produced children. Food is consumed to nourish and keep people alive. Material from trees is transformed into building shelters, preparing food, use for cooking utensils; and record, preserve a culture in the form of images. Next Page
In the following pages the structure and development of the African sculpture hoe will be examined.
The illustrations used in this article show a few of the modern wood carving tools used in Africa today. A similar culture of earlier tools was used along the Upper Nile, the Central Basin and the Western parts of the Sahara region long before 2,000 B. C., which precedes the beginnings of Minoan, Mycenae and Greek cultures of Europe.
These tools referred to by Europeans as "adzes" and "axes" were probably first constructed of stone and tied to the end of a stick with leather or plant material. Knives may have been constructed of stone or shell as well. Chisels may have been made of stone, but without wooden handles. Return to Cover Page
Africans in the South Pacific still produce stone and shell tools. Ancestors of the people living in this region moved to the South Seas from Africa during and after the last ice age. They first came over land bridges, created by formation of large areas of Ice in Northern and Southern Hemispheres, which lowered the ocean levels, thereby exposing more land. Next South Pacific inhabitants came by canoes from North and West across large and small stretches of ocean. Africans and Native Australians were the first Sapiens inhabitants of this region. The designs of tools used by Africans in the South Pacific show no evidence of previous influence of tools designed in metal. The wave of Africans that brought the carving industry to this region, either left Africa before the Iron Revolution, or before iron tool making took on an iron appearance.
The invention of iron technology took place shortly before 3,400 B. C. in East Central Africa. One of its earliest appearances was in Nubia, the Sudan region. At that time, iron tools looked like modern stone tools today, for the early smithy viewed metal as "hot rocks" which were pounded and bent into submission, rather than flaked or ground. Africans at that time had yet to learn the character of metal and understand that metal was not soft rocks. One should not conclude that Africans living in the South Pacific region were stone-age people. Further studies must be made.
After the iron revolution slot and sleeve fittings were invented. It is possible that slot fittings were being used in parts of Africa for stone blades; but their use became widespread with the invention of iron technology. Tools in these illustrations are all slot and sleeve including the knives. Later we will see the disappearance of leather and plant fastenings not only freed the use of the blade, but revolutionized the tool concept and tool culture as well.