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Indigenous cosmology, art forms and past medicinal practices: towards an interpretation of ancient Koma Land sites in northern Ghana

Summary of Article , 2011

The article reports on the authors research on Komaland sites in Northern Ghana, noted for their terracotta/ceramic figurine art forms in association with other artifacts embedded in stone circle and house mounds. The Koma archaeological region covers some 9000km square area within the basins of the Sisili and Kulpawn rivers (two tributaries of the Volta River in Ghana). The anthropomorphic and zoomorphic terracotta figurines recovered during archaeological research at the sites in Yikpabongo and Tando Fagusa include representations of phallic objects, elaborate incisions and appliqués on figures that portray female and male genitalia, conical and multiple-headed human beings, as well as animals such as the crocodile with elaborate decorations. Drawing on ethnographic analogs and related research, the authors conclude that the naturalistic as well as stylistic representations of human beings and animals and their contextual associations reflect indigenous beliefs, rituals, therapeutic and medicinal practices of a complex society that thrived between the sixth and twelfth century AD.