Ethnoarchaeology of the Tallensi compound (Upper East Region, Ghana)

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Archaeologists frequently excavate houses, but the underlying dynamics of house form and domestic organization are little understood in traditional societies. To address this, ethnoarchaeological fieldwork was conducted among the Tallensi of the Upper East Region of Ghana, focusing on compounds and their spatial organization. The goal is to identify factors pertaining to the built environment, be they physical, social or ideological. Interviews ascertained Tallensi conceptions of the built environment, and direct observations of compound design, social structure, variability and the use of space were made. Comparative observations of compounds of neighboring ethnic groups served to identify features unique to the Tallensi. A model of occupant vigilance and surveillance is proposed to account for Tallensi compound form and layout. This and other identified processes governing the spatial logic of compound design and use will inform archaeologists on the interpretation of similarly constituted settlements.
Bibliography: p. 185-201.
Gabrilopoulos, N. (1995). Ethnoarchaeology of the Tallensi compound (Upper East Region, Ghana) (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/13537