Foodways in Atlantic Era West Africa – Ghana: Towards an Archaeology of Daily Life

Author(s): Dela Kuma

Year: 2018


In the context of Africa, foodways are usually portrayed very differently than in the archaeology of food literature. Food in West Africa is depicted by its primary historians as shrouded in continuous food insecurities and largely lacking differentiated cuisines. However, recent archaeological and historical research in Atlantic era West African foodways have highlighted the dynamic nature of West African foodways. Despite these advancement, the full processes through which American crops became integrated into local African foodways is poorly understood. This paper critically reviews how Africanist researchers have discussed the incorporation of American crops into local foodways. Building on these works, I show how we can trace the impacts of local food choices on the broader Atlantic trade through my proposed ethno-archaeological research in Ghana-Amedeka. This paper situates these issues within the Atlantic era in West Africa. The Atlantic trade brought with it networks of connections and change, however these interactions did not happen in vacuum. They occurred within local situated social, political, economic, and historical contexts. I argue throughout this paper that the silence on these local social processes that shaped the contours of the Atlantic trade portray the multidirectional relationship that characterized the trade as unidirectional.

Cite this Record

Foodways in Atlantic Era West Africa – Ghana: Towards an Archaeology of Daily Life. Dela Kuma. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443110)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20354