Investigating Ancient Human Occupation at Zoboku: A Koma Site in Northern Ghana

Dartey, Joyce Ampofoa (2018) Investigating Ancient Human Occupation at Zoboku: A Koma Site in Northern Ghana. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

It was the highly elaborate terracotta figurines that drew research attention to the Koma archaeological sites in northern Ghana in the mid-1980s. Since then, several mounds in the area have suffered the ravages of illicit looting and sale of the figurines, resulting in a loss of essential contextual and archaeological information. Nevertheless, scientific research has also made considerable advances in examining and revealing some aspects of the social, ritual and technological organisation of the past Koma societies. For example, research has revealed that the Koma sites were probably inhabited as early as the sixth century AD. It has also been revealed that some of the mounds are the remains of ritual actions possibly focused on healing and ancestor veneration practices, in which figurines and other objects were specially curated, used and ultimately deposited in special spatial arrangements. So far there has been considerable attention on the Koma terracotta figurines and how they were appropriated in such symbolic and ritual processes and how they embody the aesthetic constructions of the past Koma people. This primary research focus on terracotta figurines has however, resulted in a marginalization of the importance of other associated artefact categories such as pottery.
This thesis attempts to address this imbalance by focusing on the pottery artefacts from Zoboku, near Tantala in northeast Ghana. Based on the premise that the materialities of pottery and terracotta figurines were entangled in several ways, the thesis explores ways in which the social contexts of pottery can be elucidated in the Koma archaeological record. The thesis focuses on the technology of the pottery and examines how the techniques of potmaking were situated in social contexts of interaction and transmission of knowledge. Surveys and excavations have been used to examine how these evidences are structured in the archaeological record of the site.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 09:16
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 09:16
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/66871
DOI:

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