UNDER THE ROCKS: RECONSIDERING THE ORIGIN OF THE KINTAMPO TRADITION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF FOOD PRODUCTION IN THE SAVANNA-FOREST/FOREST OF WEST AFRICA

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 The Institute of Archaeology University College London

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Evidence for the earliest food production, symbolic representation and open air .village communities. in sub-Sahelian West Africa is associated with the Kintampo Tradition ca 3600 bp-3200 bp. This signals a profound transition in socio-economic organisation and technology as available evidence indicates that indigenes of the savanna-forest/forested zone comprised mobile and widely dispersed bands of hunter-gatherers. The Kintampo was originally viewed as a product of migration from the Sahel, but more recently, a syncretic development engendered by the adoption of northern traits by indigenous Punpun Tradition hunter-gatherers has been postulated. Both models are re-considered in view of a series of excavations of rock shelters in central Ghana, including a further re-excavation of K6, which yielded material culture of both traditions. Results are supplemented by a review of previous research, analysis of archival material, consideration of the wider archaeological context of West Africa and enthoarchaeological studies. The model proposed here challenges previous hypotheses for the emergence of the Kintampo out of existing local hunter-gatherer populations.

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