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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:House forms in northern Volta basin, Ghana: (evolution, internal spatial organisation and the social relationships depicted)
Author:Agorsah, E.
Periodical:West African Journal of Archaeology
Geographic term:Ghana
Abstract:Recent studies confirm the conviction that principles which govern human spatial behaviour have general applicability. Spatial archaeology has been one of the main aspects of such recent studies. This paper identifies the physical house forms that are generated by the social behaviour of a West African traditional society, the Nchumuru of the northern Volta basin of Ghana. The settlement of Wiae is the focus of the case study. In Wiae, the main activity areas of the house are the room, courtyard, kitchen and backyard. An examination of the internal spatial organization of house forms demonstrates how each part of the Nchumuru lifestyle contributes to the spatial patterning within Nchumuru houses as units of their settlement. A study of locational decisionmaking shows that individuals build their houses for the group - the 'kabuno' (patriclan) and ultimately the 'kasuro' (phratry). The location of the house identifies the individual as a member of the group; the house form and its internal organization identify him as an individual. Archaeological evidence supports the speculation that locational decisionmaking is continuous between early settlements and modern ones. The development of traditional house forms among the Nchumuru indicates a pattern which exhibits a type of growth that possesses a dual coherence: it is physically or structurally as well as socially coherent. The houses exhibit versions of the same form which has developed on the basis of social values. Bibliogr.