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Approches croisées des mondes Akan. Partie II: Archéologie et sources. Journal des Africanistes 75 (2) 2005 , ISBN 2-908948-19-2.

Approches croisées des mondes Akan. Partie II: Archéologie et sources. Journal des Africanistes... Book Review Approches croisées des mondes Akan. Partie II: Archéologie et sources. Journal des Africanistes 75 (2) 2005, ISBN 2-908948-19-2. This volume provides in many ways a new approach to West African history and archaeology consisting of both a normal edited printed journal of which 26 pages are reviews of recent works on Africa, and a CD Rom that extends the coverage to 316 pages and includes some exceptional historical maps that could not normally be included in a regular journal. As an old time reader of journals I found it at times difficult to integrate the two. I was particularly drawn to the exciting contribution by Paul Jenkins on his survey of nineteenth century Photography on the Gold Coast and in Ashanti that largely focused on the collections of the Basel Mission, of which 23 pages and two photographs were on the CD. This multimedia approach may represent a vision of the future but in some ways to place the two media together has drawbacks for the reader who has to stick by the computer while reading many of the papers. The volume is concerned with opening up of the Akan world. It follows on the first part of volume 75 that introduced the reader to the Akan world and included contributions by two senior Akan historians, Ivor Wilks and Tom MacCaskie, that also appeared in volume 8 of the Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana. In recent years the Akan world has received more attention in West Africa than most other West African areas though parts of Senegal have also been in contention. In the past few years Ghana has for instance seen teams of investigators from at least two British universities, a Canadian and two American universities as well as researchers from Holland and Denmark. Work has been undertaken on Historical, Diasporan and later Iron Age archaeology. Rather than covering the whole of the Akan world that would have included the state systems that arose immediately north of the forest towards the end of the first half of the second millennium AD, this volume is concentrated on the Asante, on the coast and those societies immediately to the north of the coast. Except for the contributions by Shinnie on his work on sites predating the major expansion of Asante and by L'Haridon and Polet largely on funerary terracottas, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10099 © Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt M. most of the contributions are relatively short such as the piece by Vivian on Asante pipes. It is apparent that the presence of Europeans on the coast in fortified trading posts had its impact. This is well shown by L'Haridon and Polet in discussing the distribution of funerary terracottas. It is interesting to see in this respect a validation of the late Timothy Garrard's suggestions about the greater depth of Portuguese influence made a generation ago. In Shinnie's fascinating study of three major sites he concludes that in the 18th century coastal trade probably impacted few rural communities. Possibly most imports were in the form of guns and exotic goods like mirrors and fancy textiles bound for the urban elites. DeCorse in his paper emphasizes the greater degree of state formation after AD 1500. Coastal states became very distinct and as much part of the Atlantic world as of the Akan world. Brempong Osei-Tutu's paper on mound makers, many of which were very substantial trash heaps (though never fully described by the author) and first described by Shaw in his book on Dawu in 1961, and brass casters of the Akuapem Ridge provides an useful summary of work that has intrigued both historians and archaeologists for over 50 years. Who were the craftsfolk? Though a date in the 16th or 17th century seems likely no a definite answer is forthcoming as to who exactly were the brass makers. This number of the Journal des Africanistes provides an up date summary of recent archaeological work, well introduced by Gérard Chouin, who is familiar with both the Anglophone and Francophone literature. Some of the most satisfactory aspects of this work are the excellent bibliographies it contains and the superb contribution by Adam Jones, humbly described as a Provisional Checklist on "Written Sources for the Material Culture of the Gold Coast before 1800". It is certainly a most welcome addition to the limited number of books and compilations of articles available to the West African archaeologist. Merrick Posnansky University of California, Los Angeles, USA Journal of African Archaeology Vol. 5 (2), 2007 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Approches croisées des mondes Akan. Partie II: Archéologie et sources. Journal des Africanistes 75 (2) 2005 , ISBN 2-908948-19-2.

Journal of African Archaeology , Volume 5 (2): 345 – Nov 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/1612-1651-10099
Publisher site
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Abstract

Book Review Approches croisées des mondes Akan. Partie II: Archéologie et sources. Journal des Africanistes 75 (2) 2005, ISBN 2-908948-19-2. This volume provides in many ways a new approach to West African history and archaeology consisting of both a normal edited printed journal of which 26 pages are reviews of recent works on Africa, and a CD Rom that extends the coverage to 316 pages and includes some exceptional historical maps that could not normally be included in a regular journal. As an old time reader of journals I found it at times difficult to integrate the two. I was particularly drawn to the exciting contribution by Paul Jenkins on his survey of nineteenth century Photography on the Gold Coast and in Ashanti that largely focused on the collections of the Basel Mission, of which 23 pages and two photographs were on the CD. This multimedia approach may represent a vision of the future but in some ways to place the two media together has drawbacks for the reader who has to stick by the computer while reading many of the papers. The volume is concerned with opening up of the Akan world. It follows on the first part of volume 75 that introduced the reader to the Akan world and included contributions by two senior Akan historians, Ivor Wilks and Tom MacCaskie, that also appeared in volume 8 of the Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana. In recent years the Akan world has received more attention in West Africa than most other West African areas though parts of Senegal have also been in contention. In the past few years Ghana has for instance seen teams of investigators from at least two British universities, a Canadian and two American universities as well as researchers from Holland and Denmark. Work has been undertaken on Historical, Diasporan and later Iron Age archaeology. Rather than covering the whole of the Akan world that would have included the state systems that arose immediately north of the forest towards the end of the first half of the second millennium AD, this volume is concentrated on the Asante, on the coast and those societies immediately to the north of the coast. Except for the contributions by Shinnie on his work on sites predating the major expansion of Asante and by L'Haridon and Polet largely on funerary terracottas, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10099 © Africa Magna Verlag, Frankfurt M. most of the contributions are relatively short such as the piece by Vivian on Asante pipes. It is apparent that the presence of Europeans on the coast in fortified trading posts had its impact. This is well shown by L'Haridon and Polet in discussing the distribution of funerary terracottas. It is interesting to see in this respect a validation of the late Timothy Garrard's suggestions about the greater depth of Portuguese influence made a generation ago. In Shinnie's fascinating study of three major sites he concludes that in the 18th century coastal trade probably impacted few rural communities. Possibly most imports were in the form of guns and exotic goods like mirrors and fancy textiles bound for the urban elites. DeCorse in his paper emphasizes the greater degree of state formation after AD 1500. Coastal states became very distinct and as much part of the Atlantic world as of the Akan world. Brempong Osei-Tutu's paper on mound makers, many of which were very substantial trash heaps (though never fully described by the author) and first described by Shaw in his book on Dawu in 1961, and brass casters of the Akuapem Ridge provides an useful summary of work that has intrigued both historians and archaeologists for over 50 years. Who were the craftsfolk? Though a date in the 16th or 17th century seems likely no a definite answer is forthcoming as to who exactly were the brass makers. This number of the Journal des Africanistes provides an up date summary of recent archaeological work, well introduced by Gérard Chouin, who is familiar with both the Anglophone and Francophone literature. Some of the most satisfactory aspects of this work are the excellent bibliographies it contains and the superb contribution by Adam Jones, humbly described as a Provisional Checklist on "Written Sources for the Material Culture of the Gold Coast before 1800". It is certainly a most welcome addition to the limited number of books and compilations of articles available to the West African archaeologist. Merrick Posnansky University of California, Los Angeles, USA Journal of African Archaeology Vol. 5 (2), 2007

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Nov 1, 2007

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