An archaeological Investigation of Larteh Amanfu (Amanfro)
The geographical area of Akuapem has witnessed a spate of historical, sociological and archaeological investigations in the past. However, there is a cloying silence on the discourse of archaeology in the Larteh area. Thus, the history of Larteh from an archaeological perspective is limited. This archaeological investigation was carried out at Larteh Amanfu, the ancient settlement quarter of present-day Larteh people, to throw more light on the history as well as past socio-economic and cultural lifeways of the people of Larteh. A synergic relationship was established among the archaeological data, ethno-historical account, ethnographic data, and documentary records. This provided holistic account of the lifeways of the inhabitants of the site. Additionally, the study sought to establish cultural affinities, chronology of the site, economic, political and socio-cultural transformations that had occurred at Larteh as a result of their interactions with other communities. Both the 'Object-Centered Approach' and the 'Object-Driven Approach' to studying material culture as espoused by Bernard L. Herman served as the theory that guided the interpretation of the finds.
The study revealed that Larteh Amanfu was a multi-purpose settlement. That is, it served as both a market centre and the home of the ancestors of present-day Larteh people. Also, the study revealed that Amanfu was an organized society with structured leadership systems, and social stratification. This study highlights the subsistence strategies, religious worldview, medicinal practices, and body adornments of the occupants of the site. Furthermore, the study shed light on trade relations with the Dangme people of Krobo and Shai, as well as Larteh's relationship with other neighboring Akuapem towns, Akyem and Akwamu.
This study has revealed that the inhabitants of Larteh Amanfu obtained their food from both wild and domesticated species. The study revealed that Larteh's interaction with other nearby towns had accounted for some changes in their political administration exemplified by Akan Chieftaincy institution at Larteh as opposed to the pre-existing Guan priestly leadership. Also, the celebration of the Odwira festival is a signifier of Larteh's borrowing of Akan worldview, chieftaincy, and eschatology.
Continuity was observed in the archaeological record. This is based on the fact that cultural materials, such as, potsherds, metals, bones, mollusc shells, and stone tools (nyame akuma and a quern) were recovered from all the three layers of the excavated trench. Similarly, most vessels forms, dominant decorative motifs, and surface treatment of the sherds (burnished, unburnished, and smudged sherds) were present in all the three layers of the excavated trench. I showed that continuity exists between the archaeological record and the ethnographic present. The continuous use of grinding stones and pottery in Larteh indicates no break with the past. Equally significant is the fact that the Larteh people still go to the forest groves at Amanfu to perform various rites during Odwira and Ohum festivals. They also farm at the Amanfu site as they had done.
Akuapem; Ghana; Archaeological
University of Ghana
Type of publication
Accra - University of Ghana
Added to C-A: 2022-08-24;14:14:53
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