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Alternative Site Conservation Strategies in Ghana: The Adome Ancient Ironworking Site

Summary of Article by Kodzo Gavua & Wazi Apoh, 2011

In this article, the authors report on their archaeological research and subsequent conservation of an ancient ironworking site situated within Adome (known to its inhabitants as ‘Small London’), a community located along the Volta River in Eastern Ghana. The excavations produced various artifact such as iron slag, pieces of iron, tuyere fragments, pottery and lithics, which were discussed within the context of early iron working in Ghana and West Africa. Though a chronological framework is yet to be established for the Adome site, it is one of the few iron-working industries discovered and researched in south-eastern Ghana. Their conservation strategies were discussed within the context of heritage conservation in Ghana and the West Africa. The authors highlighted specific challenges posed to site conservation within a heterogeneous community of people whose history is totally divorced from what is being studied and conserved. They discussed the challenges confronting cultural heritage conservation in Ghana, including ineffectual legal systems, while highlighting successful efforts at conserving specific sites by some individual researchers. Citing the Adome project as a case study, the authors called for an active involvement of local communities in the management of cultural properties.