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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 2 (2) 2004

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Y. Bredwa-Mensah

Global encounters: slavery and slave lifeways on nineteenth century Danish plantations on the Gold Coast, Ghana

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 2 (2), 2004, pages 203-227, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10028

Abstract
The global processes unleashed due to the European maritime exploration and commercial activities as from 1500 AD onwards affected indigenous peoples and cultures of the Atlantic world. In West Africa, the European presence precipitated the Atlantic slave trade, which involved the exportation of millions of Africans into slavery. In the nineteenth century a so-called legitimate trade in colonial agricultural commodities replaced the Atlantic slave trade. As a result, the Danes established agricultural plantations on the Gold Coast and exported tropical crops for processing and consumption in Denmark and the West Indies. Enslaved Africans were used by the Danes to cultivate the plantations in the foothills of the Akuapem Mountains and along the estuary of the Volta River. This paper combines information from written sources, ethnography, oral information and archaeology to investigate the living conditions of the enslaved workers on the plantations. The archaeological data was recovered from the Frederiksgave plantation at Sesemi near Abokobi in the Akuapem Mountains of southeastern Gold Coast (Ghana).

Résumé
Le processus mondial déclenché par les Européens dès 1500 AD, à la suite de leurs explorations maritimes et de leurs activités commerciales, a affecté les populations et les cultures indigènes le long des façades atlantiques. En Afrique de l'Ouest, la présence européenne a précipité la traite des esclaves de part et d'autre de l'océan atlantique qui a impliqué la déportation de millions d'africains. Au dix-neuvième siècle, un commerce prétendument légitime des denrées agricoles a remplacé la traite des esclaves. Ainsi, les Danois ont établi des plantations agricoles sur la Côte d'Or du Ghana et exporté les récoltes qui étaient transformées et consommées au Danemark et aux Antilles. Ce sont des esclaves africains qui ont constitué la main d'oeuvre de ces plantations dans les contreforts des montagnes Akuapem et le long de l'estuaire du fleuve Volta. Cet article combine des informations provenant de sources écrites, de l'ethnographie, d'informations orales et de l'archéologie sur les conditions de vie des esclaves qui ont travaillé dans ces plantations. Les données archéologiques proviennent de la fouille de la plantation Frederiksgave à Sesemi près d'Abokobi dans les montagnes Akuapem dans le sud-est de la Côte d'Or(Ghana).




Keywords: Akuapem Mountains, global encounters, Gold Coast, plantations, slave lifeways


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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
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Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
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Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
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Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
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David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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