Archaeologists and scientists from the University of Manchester located in United Kingdom, have been able to analyze for the first time the pre historic terracotta figurines which have been dig up in some of the archaeological sites in Ghana. The creator of these is assumed to be some ancient unknown African civilization and these figurines have become symbols of ancient art forms of Africa.
These ancient items have been unearthed by archaeologists in the Northern parts of Ghana in the region of Koma Land. These were found in the years of 2010 as well as 2011 by an esteemed team of researchers who were conducting excavations in this region.
Researchers believe that most of the figurines which were dug rep represent some of the ancestral figures or people and even animals. The most significant part of these discoveries is that they reveal a lot about the weapons, hairstyles and clothing used by the ancient civilization to a large extent.
There are various indications of high scale of spiritual and ritual activities which were carried on in these areas which was inferred from studying the figurines. Many of these ancient forms of art are having hollow cavities, which suggest that these substances were used for pouring certain religious items during the rituals. All the ancient artifacts and terracotta figurines which were unearthed in Ghana were put in an exhibition at the Manchester Museums event called the ‘Fragmentary Ancestors’ exhibition during the year of 2014.
It is well known that the DNA damages occur at a significantly high rate when there is a high temperature in the surroundings. Also only on few instances scientists and researchers have been able to recover any form of ancient DNA from various sites in the archaeological dig sites located in the Sub-Saharan African region. Well known scientist and researcher professor Terry Brown along with his PhD student Heather Robinson were able to recover some of the ancient DNA samples from there of the figurines found from this region by using certain magnetic extraction techniques as well as certain forensic-style swabs.
Professor Terry Brown also stated that, “This has been an excellent example of the way in which archaeologists and DNA scientists can work together. We were invited to sample the figurines when they were exhibited at the Manchester Museum in 2013, and the interpretation of the DNA results with our collaborators in Ghana has been very exciting.”
The information which was gathered from the studies by these researchers suggest that certain exotic plants species which were not available in any parts of Ghana, such as pine and banana, were considered very highly by the ancient African civilization. These items along with various other West African plants were used in a number of ancient rituals by the ancient culture.
Pine and Banana were obtained from the North African regions through trade suggesting that the prehistoric people who were living in the region surrounding the archaeological site of Yikpabongo had networks to a various parts of the World through trade. This was because during that period banana was found only in the East Asian regions of the world.
All Images © University of Manchester/University of Ghana