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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prelude to the Atlantic trade: new perspectives on southern Ghana's pre-Atlantic history (800-1500)
Authors:Chouin, Gérard L.ISNI
Decorse, Christopher R.ISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic term:Ghana
settlement patterns
precolonial period
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40985067
Abstract:The Ghanaian forest was well settled by agricultural communities prior to the opening of the Atlantic trade in the late fifteenth century. The most prominent of these settlements were earthworks sites, monumental trench systems, consisting of an enclosure composed of a deep ditch and raised earthen banks. The construction of these earthworks began in the first millennium AD and continued until their abrupt abandonment prior to the mid-fifteenth century. Because the Akrokrowa earthworks site (near Abrem Berase) produced only early ceramics and no evidence of reoccupation after its abandonment, it was an ideal site from which to collect samples for radiocarbon dating and comparison with other sites. In this article, besides a discussion of the structure and functions of earthworks, previous archaeological data are evaluated in light of current research to provide a plausible alternative hypothesis for the history of the Akan, placing that history in a much broader and deeper context. The Akrokrowa radiocarbon dates point to the construction of the entrenchment system in the second half of the first millennium AD, most likely during the eighth century, long before the arrival of the first Europeans on the Costa da Mina. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]