In southwestern Niger, near Niamey, several thousand singleuse bloomery furnaces have been mapped and identified. The archaeological study of approximately 30 furnaces and their slag reveals the existence of four methods for iron smelting: three types of pit furnace and one slag-tapping type. The slag pit furnaces are clearly differentiated by the form and volume of their pits. All slag-tapping furnaces drain off slag through small openings. The slag is tapped either vertically or laterally. According to radiocarbon dates, the smelting activity developed in the 2nd century AD and intensified through to the 14th century. It continued to evolve until the middle of the 20th century. The low intensity of iron production for these furnaces indicates the products were intended mainly for the local market.