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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Foragers or cultivators? A discussion of Wilks's 'big bang' theory of Akan history
Author:Pavanello, Mariano
Year:2015
Periodical:Journal of West African History (ISSN 2327-1876)
Volume:1
Issue:2
Pages:1-26
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:Akan
Akan polities
hunter-gatherers
history
1400-1499
1500-1599
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/jwestafrihist.1.2.0001
Abstract:This article considers various recent contributions challenging Ivor Wilks's 'big bang' theory of Akan history. In an article published in 2005, Wilks reconfirmed his hypothesis that the Akan populations inhabiting the forestland in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were hunter-gatherers who achieved a new level of mastery of the environment, and gave way to centralized political formations. The present article analyzes the technical, demographic, and social conditions of the transition from a hunting-gathering to a swidden agricultural economy, and provides a picture, consistent with the archaeological data, that pushes back by centuries the practice of agriculture in the forest, showing that it is unlikely that hunter-gatherers, in a short span of only two centuries, could have launched an agrarian and industrial revolution and created the Akan civilization. Notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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