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GHANA STUDIES / Volume 8 ISSN 1536-5514 / E-ISSN 2333-7168© 2007 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 39 EXCAVATIONS AT TECHIMAN, BRONG-AHAFO REGION, GHANA J. BOACHIE-ANSAH Background and Introduction In September, 2005, Raymond A. Silverman, the Director of the Museum Studies Programme, University of Michigan, informed me of an urgent need to undertake rescue excavations at the Nsamankwa Forest (Figs. 1 and 2), a sacred grove in the northern suburb of the Techiman metropolis . The Techiman Traditional Council and the Metropolitan Assembly have plans to build a cultural village on the site. The objectives of the Cultural Village Project are the preservation and conservation of Bono artistic and cultural heritage; the promotion of cultural tourism and scientific research on Bono culture, and the education of school children, students and the general public on the culture of the present day inhabitants of the Techiman Traditional Area through cultural performances, seminars, symposia and exhibitions. To this end, the Cultural Village Project aims at building a conference hall, a documentation centre and archives, a museum, an open air theatre, an artisan’s village, an arboretum, a commercial centre and a folkloric village, all within the confines of the Nsamankwa Forest. The site, originally covered with indigenous forest species, was planted with teak after trespassers had exploited and destroyed the original forest vegetation. Houses have also been built on a large portion of the grove which now covers an area of 1,006m2 . The site was also bulldozed in preparation for the erection of buildings, part of which has now been constructed on the western portion. A comprehensive architectural plan is being jointly drawn by the Department of Architecture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, and the Department of Architecture, University of Michigan. It was feared that the building construction, likely to 40 Ghana Studies • volume 8 • 2005 begin as soon as the architectural drawings were completed, would destroy archaeological remains on the site. It was hoped that finds from the rescue excavations would be exhibited in the proposed museum. The name Nsamankwa appears to be a shortened form of the word “nsamankwae ē” meaning the “forest of the ancestors” (see Verlet, 2005:5). Traditional history of Techiman claims that it was the settlement of the Figure 1. Map of Ghana showing excavated sites. Boachie-Ansah • Excavations at Techiman, Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana 41 three ancestors of the Fante, Obunumankoma, Odapagya and Osono who migrated from the Techiman area to Mankesim during a succession dispute in the Bono State (personal communication with the Adontenhene of Techiman, Nana Baffour Asare Twi Brempong II, November 2005; see also Effah-Gyamfi, 1974:5 1; 1975:23). The site is also said to have been settled by immigrants from Denkyira (Verlet, 2005:5). It is interesting to note that one of the leaders of later migrants who joined Obunumankoma, Odapagya and Osono just before the Bono-Asante war of 1722/3 was Nsamankwa , the same name as that of the sacred grove. (see Effah-Gyamfi, 1974:51; 1975:23). The association of the grove with an ancient settlement prompted me to visit the site on Friday 11th, and Saturday 12th November 2005. I was led to the site by the Paramount Chief of the Techiman Traditional Area, Nana Oseadeēyo-Akumfi Ameyaw IV and some of his sub-chiefs including the Barimhene, Nana Apenteng Fosu Gyeabour II, the Kyidomhene, Nana Asa Akompanyin II, and Nana Owusu Agyare II, the Akwamuhene. A two-day reconnaissance survey undertaken on the site revealed no evidence of ancient occupation. A few potsherds consisting of broken pieces of bowls (locally called apōtōyewa) for grinding vegetables and characterised by circumferential grooves achieved by raking the interior of the vessels with a multi-tooth object to create furrows to facilitate grinding were picked from the surface. These are remnants of discarded pottery from the surrounding houses in the vicinity of the grove. Between 3rd and 12th January 2006, 45 final year undergraduate students of the Department of Archaeology, University of Ghana, Legon, were taken to Techiman to undertake excavations at the Nsamankwa Forest as part of their training. Seven test pits, each measuring 1m2...


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