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ECOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS OF THE KINTAMPO TRADITION
The Kintampo tradition of Ghana (3600-3000 BP) as described by Watson, J (2010, p.141) is associated with the earliest manifestations of figurative art, personal adornment, semi- sedentary “village”settlements and food production in the Late stone Age (L.S.A) of the savannah forests of West Africa . These societies were spread through the whole of Ghana from the coast to the northern part of Ghana (D’Andrea et al., 2007. P. 686). These societies were located at Mumute, Bonoase, Boyase hill, Birimi, Ntereso, Christian village, K6, B sites, Kpiri, Buoho and Gambaga. It should however be noted that detail research have been done in only a few sites.
Before the advent of the Kintampo tradition, there was the Punpun phase (originally called Buobini) which preceded the Kintampo tradition. Stahl, 1993 explained that the Punpun phase consisted of late Stone Age (L.S.A) societies who sparsely inhabited the whole of Ghana. These societies subsisted based on hunting and gathering of food and were also mobile. Due to their mobility there is the absence of non-portable artifacts like grinding stone and the rarity of ceramics.
The name “Kintampo” which is used for the tradition of earliest manifestation of figurative art, personal adornment and semi- sedentary societies was derived as a result of it being the first site this evidence of such societies were found. It was found by Oliver Davies who termed it the “Kintampo Neolithic” based on surface collections of polished stone axes, enigmatic scored stone objects which he called “terracotta cigars” and comb impressed pottery with heavy “rolled” rims. (Balfour, 1912; Kitson 1916, pp. 379-380)
The Kintampo tradition is of much importance to study because it provides the earliest evidence for decreasing residential mobility and use of domesticates in sub-Sahelian West Africa (Stahl, 1994. p 72). Although more than thirty (30) sites are known on the basis of surface remains, fewer than a dozen have been excavated (Anquandah, 1993a, pp. 256- 257).
The Kintampo tradition is embedded with some diagnostic features which include Terracotta cigars named by Davies, groundstone artifacts including Nyame akuma, polished stone arm rings found by Anquandah, ceramics which includes bowls and jars, structural evidence which are either ovoid or slightly rectangular, evidence of ornamentation and arts and evidence of domestication due to reduction in residential mobility.
The study of Kintampo tradition sites has been characterised with the debate as to the geographical origination of the tradition. Whilst some scholars believe the tradition came as a result of diffusion, others also think that it was an indigenous innovation. Davies (1962), suggested a northern origin based on affinities with sites in the Niger bend which was characterised by comb- stamped pottery, small celts, hollow-based stone points and bracelets. This view was later supported by researchers like Mathewson, 1967; Dombrowski, 1976, p.65; and Flight, 1976, p.216. However, Stahl (1994, p.78) argued that despite the evidence for northern influence, the Kintampo tradition represents a local development rooted in the preceding pre-ceramic Late Stone Age (LSA), which is consistent with the cluster of early radiocarbon dates for the Kintampo rockshelters. However, recent researchers like Anquandah (1982b, pp. 55-65) and Posnansky (1984) have suggested that it represents a combination of external influences (diffusion) and innovation.
Finds found were terracotta cigars which were made from fine clay (Agorsah 1986) even though terracotta cigars found by Davies during his research were fashioned from fine-grained sedimentary rock. Davies thinks the terracotta cigars were used in back cloth production (Davies, 1980, p. 219) whilst Anquandah (1965) also suggested that they were used in pottery production as maize cobs are used today. Broken clay figurines were also recovered which revealed indicators of early figurative arts (Anquandah 1982b, p. 62) Evidence of structural features in the form of ovoid stone blocks associated with daub, often with stick and thatch impressions were also found at the site (Dombrowski, 1976).
Items found were unique polished arrow points which have also been noted at Dabakala in eastern Ivory Coast (Chenorkian, 1983, p. 136). Anquandah (1982b, pp. 62-63) also found structural features, in the form of slightly rectangular concentrations of stone blocks associated with daub, with stick and thatch impressions. Stone beads and broken clay figurines were recovered from this site.
Kense (1992, p. 151) found unique polished arrow points which were similar to those found at Boyasi hill. Structural features, in the form of ovoid or slightly rectangular concentrations of stone blocks associated with daub, often with stick and thatch impressions were also found (Casey, 1993, pp. 144-148)
Found were Nyame akuma; “a fine-grained, calcchlorite schist found in metamorphosed rock formations” in partially finished forms. Stahl (1993) believes that they serve as evidence of exchange since polished stone are most often non-local. Middens yielded quantities of daub with stick and thatch impressions suggesting evidence of structural features (Flight, 1976, p. 217). Unequivocal evidence for domestic ovicaprids (sheep/goat) was also found at this site with bos species which were difficult to differentiate in terms of the domestic and various African buffaloes (Carter and Flight, 1972). Two elements of an immature guinea fowl were also recovered, but it was not possible to determine whether these were wild or domestic (Stahl, 1985a, pp. 210, 215). Faunal remains of royal antelope, small and large rodents, duiker, snake and birds were also found in 1982 (Stahl, 1985b, pp. 138-140). Stahl (1985b, p 141) recovered a few hackberry and large quantities of oil palm. Flight (1976, pp. 217-218) also found small specimens of potential domesticated cowpea or black-eyed pea which he attributed the shrinkage of the cowpea size to carbonisation. Some marine shells were recovered from this site which indicates trade with coastal areas (Stahl, 1985b, p. 138).
Davies (1980, pp. 214-215) found 95 fragmentary projectile with some of the points being hollow-based which he believed was evidence of Saharan influence. He also found structural features, in the form of ovoid or slightly rectangular concentrations of stone blocks associated with daub, often with stick and thatch impressions. Unequivocal evidence for domestic ovicaprids (sheep/goat) was also found at this site but bos species found were difficult to differentiate between the domestic and various African buffaloes (Carter and Flight, 1972). Faunal remains revealed a variety of fauna which included fish, freshwater turtle, antelope, buffalo and large rodents which varied in different localities at Ntereso (Carter and Flight, 1972, pp. 277-278). The aquatic fauna revealed an association ivory fishhooks and bone harpoon joints (Davies 1980, p. 216). Also found were stone beads and broken clay figurines which are indicators of early figurative arts.
Dombrowski (1976), found structural features, in the form of ovoid stone blocks associated with daub, with stick and thatch impressions at the site. Stone figurines were also found at the site which were indicators of the earliest figurative arts (Anquandah, 1982b, p.62)
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