A narrow excavation trench cuts across several low mounds at Makala Kataa, Station 10. A low wall stub is visible to the left of the trench in the foreground. Trees dot the site, and low piles of screened excavated soil from the trench are visible in the background. According to oral histories, people moved from this area of Makala Kataa early in the 20th century when British colonial officials implemented a "village planning" scheme. People built new houses east of the old settlement and in time the old houses collapsed and formed low mounds. Makala Kataa, 1990.
Banda Research Project team members excavate units at Mound 6, Station 6, Makala Kataa. Alex Ababio (standing left, in hat) watches as Kwasi Peter digs with a short handled hoe, placing excavated dirt into headpans. Leith Smith (center) and Yaw Francis (right) look on. In the background (right) other team members screen soil. Wooden stakes mark 2 m interval grid points with excavation units marked off by string. A large baobab, one of several on the site, is visible in the background (right). Makala Kataa, June 1994.
West wall of excavation unit 4W 4S, Mound 5, Station 6, Makala Kataa. Rootlets can be seen in the dark soils of upper levels. Midway down the profile are concentrations of burned sediment, remains of pots and other artifacts. Some of these rest on compacted "floor" deposits--orange-brown in color. The rounded body of a large storage jar is visible in the south wall (left). Together these reflect a living surface that appears to have been left at short notice (in light of the number of intact pots and other things left behind). The upper levels formed on top of this living surface as rain and wind moved soil across the site. Below the "floor" level, the soils are lighter brown and yielded few artifacts. Makala Kataa, 12 July, 1989.
The standing wall stubs of a small structure are surrounded by trees at Makala Kataa. Its walls were built using an atakpame technique. The grass cover has been cleared by archaeologists in preparation for site mapping. Far right, Banda Research Project team members work on nearby Station 10 excavation units. According to oral histories, people moved from this area of Makala Kataa to establish a new village in a place immediately east of the old settlement. This move happened at a time when British colonial officials were implementing "village planning" schemes in the early decades of the 20th century. Makala Kataa, 1990.
Wooden grid pegs mark the edges of a 2 x 2 m excavation unit (foreground) as two Banda Research Project team members screen soil (right) at Station 6. Osei Kofi carries an empty head pan (left). After sieving the soil, the men carefully pick and bag artifacts (fragments of pottery, metals, beads, animal bone) left in the screen. Studying these artifacts and the contexts from which they were recovered (their provenience) helps archaeologists to learn about the daily lives of past people. Makala Kataa, 1989.
Base of level 7, unit 4W 4S, Mound 5, Station 6, Makala Kataa. An area of burned soil (left), several flat grinding stones (center) and an everted rim jar are exposed at the base of the level. The unit wall shows the transition from dark soils close to the mound's surface and the lighter soils in its lower levels. Makala Kataa, 6 July, 1989.
Banda Research Project team members draw a profile map of walls in completed excavation units, Mound 5, Station 6. Enoch Mensah (kneeling) records measurements as Yaw Frimpong (standing) holds a tape measure. Makala Kataa, 1989. Wooden stakes marking 2 m grid intervals are visible across the mound surface. Makala Kataa, 1989.
Banda Research Project team members use cutlasses to clear the grass around Makala Kataa, 1989. Small trees cover much of the site surface. Baobab trees also grow on the site, one of which is visible in the background (right). Makala Kataa, 1989.
Banda Research Project team members prepare to profile the north wall of unit 55W 69N at Mound 102, Kuulo Kataa. Osei Kofi (blue shirt) prepares to take measurements from a level string anchored by chaining pins. Alex Caton (wearing a hat) prepares to draw the profile. Wooden pegs mark the corners of the 1 x 2 m unit. Mound 102 is a large deep midden mound which covers approximately 1600 m2 and rises several meters above the surrounding ground surface. A single 1 x 2 m unit was excavated to the base of level 13, after which a 1 x 1 m unit was excavated to almost 4 m, removing roughly 5 m3 of soil. Kuulo Kataa, 8 July, 2000.
In-progress excavations at Mound 130, Kuulo Kataa. A notched tree trunk provides a ladder into the deep units. The south walls of units 93 & 95 E, 110N are visible (center photo), showing the mound's layered deposits. In unit 95E 106 N (photo right), Emmanuel Duku (left), Wazi Apoh (center) and Leith Smith (right) record soil colors using a Munsell Soil Color Chart. Top left, two team members work by a screen used to sieve excavated soil, piles of which are visible in the background. Mound 130 covers an area of approximately 1100 m2 and rises to roughly a meter above the surrounding ground surface. Excavation here revealed thick layers of ashy midden deposits inter-stratified with walls and floors of houses. Kuulo Kataa, 2000.
Banda Research Project team members Courtney Amos (left), Leith Smith (center) and Emmanuel Duku (right) document the stratigraphy and soil characteristics of the west wall of unit 68E 4N at Mound 129, Kuulo Kataa. Duku measures the boundaries of stratigraphic layers using a metal tape measure and a level string anchored midway down the profile wall. Amos uses graph paper to create a profile map, marking the locations of points measured by Duku. Smith uses a Munsell Soil Color Chart book to record the color of soils from top to bottom along the profile wall. Kuulo Kataa, 2000.
A burned basin-like feature is visible in profile in the east wall of excavation unit 130W 26S, Mound 138, Kuulo Kataa. Clustered and adjacent to the burned area at the base of level 7 are three pottery pedestal bases, broken away from their original pots. The presence of slag and other burned features in adjacent units suggest that Mound 138 was a place where the site's occupants worked metals. A photo scale with 5 cm intervals points north. Kuulo Kataa, 14 July, 1995.
Two Banda Research Project team members screen excavated soil at Mound 102, Kuulo Kataa. The men work on the edge of a cleared area several meters away from excavation unit 55W 69N. Thick vegetation covers the mound behind them. A headpan of excavated soil sits in front, awaiting screening. After sieving the soil, the men carefully pick and bag artifacts (fragments of pottery, metals, beads, animal bone) left in the screen. Studying these artifacts and the contexts from which they were recovered (their provenience) helps archaeologists to learn about the daily lives of past people. Kuulo Kataa, 2000.
A light-colored slurry plaster is visible in the base of level 8 in excavation unit 64W 4N, Mound 118, Kuulo Kataa. The plaster is associated with floors and walls of a collapsed structure. Dark circular areas which interrupt the slurry may represent post holes. A photo scale with 5 cm intervals points north. Kuulo Kataa, 14 July, 1995.
Close-up photo of slurry plaster, level 8, excavation unit 64W 4N, Mound 118, Kuulo Kataa. The outer edge (upper left) of a wall/floor appears light in color against darker subsoil. A photo scale with 5 cm intervals points north. Kuulo Kataa, 15 July, 1995.
Archaeological excavations focused on a collapsed house mound are in progress at Makala Kataa "Station 10." Archaeologists have left "balk" walls between 2 x 2 meter units as a way to study the mound's stratigraphy. Headpans for carrying excavated soil to nearby screens for sieving sit beside the excavation units. Scattered around the sides of the units are short-handled hoes which the excavation team uses to carefully scrape the soil as they dig. Graduate students Maria Dores Cruz and Leith Smith direct the excavation team while Tolԑԑ Kofi Dwuru III (Nana Millah), visiting the site from Ahenkro, stands to the right in black cloth. Makala Kataa, July 1994.
Members of the 1994 archaeological excavation team at Makala Kataa. Team members included a National Service and a staff member from the Ghana National Museum, American graduate students and Banda men from Ahenkro and Makala. Back row (L-R): Kwame Bio, Samuel Babatu, __, Kwame Anane, Donkor Johnson, Timothy Fordjour, Daniel Mensah, __, Yaw Francis, __, __, Kwadwo Manu. Middle row (L-R): __, Kwame Abrifa, Kwasi Peter, Amos Bediako, Kwabena Mensah, Kofi "Photo" Manu, Yaw Frimpong, Alex Ababio. Front row (L-R): Caesar Apentiik, Ann Stahl, Maria Dores Cruz, Obour Bartholomew, Kwasi Ali, Obimpeh Blorpor, Leith Smith, Victor Mattey, Osei Kofi, Brian Thomas. Also pictured are Frank Osei Kofi, Seth Tahara, Kwame Menka, Kwame Okyei, and Thomas Bio. Makala Kataa, July, 1994.
Banda Research Project excavation team members at work on Mound 118 at Kuulo Kataa. Wooden stakes mark the corners of 2x2 meter excavation units, several of which are in progress. North American students Leith Smith (white hat and shirt) and Alex Caton (far right) are pictured along with men from Dompofie and Ahenkro. View looking northward. Kuulo Kataa, 1995.
A Makala elder pours libations at the site of Makala Kataa to open work on a Friday. He is accompanied by two members of the 1994 Banda Research Project excavation team, both from Makala. L-R: __, __, __. Makala Kataa, 1994.
A group of men and women stand in the doorways of the Banda Traditional Council building as the Traditional Council holds a meeting inside. The colonial-period building's interior is lit by natural light through large windows, with several panes of window glass intact on the rear side of the building. Several young people sit on the steps of the building. Visible to the left is the metal-roofed colonial-period village clinic and residence of the village nurse who was in this period the primary medical care personnel for the Banda area. Ahenkro, 12 August, 1986.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
University of Victoria Libraries
Colonial period buildings; Banda Traditional Council
Amma Bio of Gbaŋmbɛ Katoo demonstrates the dance associated with sinyeele (balo or xylophone) music played at funerals. Male family head Nyua Kwadwo plays the sinyeele. Lying beneath the partially assembled instrument are calabashes that serve as resonators and produce the instrument's distinctive sound. A small wooden stool lies on its side nearby. Sanwa, 6 August, 1986.
Family history interview with Elders of Kuulo Katoo including (seated front, left to right) Kwame Broma, Tolԑԑ Kwadwo Fordjour (Odikro), Lelԑԑ Afua Fofie (female head). Standing in brown cloth, Kwasi Millah, and to his right Emmanuel Dwira. Other members of Kuulo Katoo pictured are Kwasi Donkor and Kwabena Mensah. James Anane (interviewer) standing left. Dompofie, 6 August, 1986.
Family history interview with members of Gangoolo Katoo, including Tolԑԑ Sah Dongi, Oyokohene (seated, center), Kwaku Donkor (linguist, seated, light blue cloth), Kwado Fordjour and Ama Nyini (on left with head scarf), Samwa, 4 August, 1986.
Family history interview with members of Gbla Wolo Katoo, including Nana Sie Jiniŋge, Ankobeahene (seated, center) as well as Ha Yaw, Sie Yaw Bediako, Asoma Kramo, Siedu, Kwaku Frimpong and Kwasi Wankyi, Sabiye, 15 August, 1986.
The deeply stratified deposits of a midden mound are visible in the east wall of excavation unit 2W 2S, Mound 101, Kuulo Kataa. Mound 101 is a large mound covering roughly 1200 m2 and rising roughly 3 m above the surrounding ground surface at its apex. Unit 2W 2S was excavated to a depth of ca. 330 cm below the mound surface to the point where laterite rock was encountered. It was excavated as a 2 x 2 m unit to level 15, narrowing to a 1 x 2 m from level 16, with a total estimated 8.7 m3 of soil removed from the unit. Upper levels were characterized by dark soils with many rootlets which transitioned to lighter brown soils. Gray ashy soils dominated the lower cultural levels of the mound. At base, orange-brown clayey soils appeared above the laterite substrate. Visible in the profile wall, to the left and slightly lower than a circular area of dark soil, is the interior of a pottery jar, the other half removed and reconstructed (KK 95-693; see link below). Kuulo Kataa, July, 1995.
View of excavation units at Mound 2, Station 10, Makala Kataa. Wooden stakes mark grid points at 2 m intervals and string is used to mark the boundaries of 2 x 2 m excavation units. A deep pit in the corner of Unit 82W 14S (bottom, left) has been excavated and is set up for being photographed with a scale and photo board. Several Banda Research Project team members work as children look on. View to the south. Makala Kataa, July, 1994.
Banda Research Project team members use a datum string, pulled tight and leveled with a bubble level, to measure the depth below datum of the excavation unit's surface. Yaw Francis (right) holds the string level as Yaw Frimpong (left) measures the depth close to the bubble level. By taking periodic measurements as they dig across the unit, they ensure that the surface of each completed level is even. A head pan and short handled hoe sit next to excavated dirt in the unit. Maria Dores Cruz (far left) and other team members work on an adjacent excavation unit on Mound 6, Station 6. Makala Kataa, 1994.
In preparation for beginning excavation of a new 2 x 2 m unit, Banda Research Project team members Leith Smith (right) and Victor Mattey (left) extend grid points on Mound 6, Station 6, Makala Kataa. Smith uses a rock to pound in a grid peg at a point established using tape measures extended from previously placed grid pegs. The accuracy of the peg's location in this 2 m interval grid is checked according to horizontal (2 m) and diagonal (5.66 m) measurements from the other unit pegs. Low piles of sieved dirt from ongoing excavations are visible in the background. Makala Kataa, Station 6, 1994.
Banda Research Project team member Enoch Mensah stands on a ladder in unit 55W 69N, Mound 102 at Kuulo Kataa. A tape measure and a level line have been set up on the north wall of the unit in preparation for drawing a profile map. Mound 102 is a large deep midden mound which covers approximately 1600 m2 and rises several meters above the surrounding ground surface. A single 1 x 2 m unit was excavated to the base of level 13, after which a 1 x 1 m unit was excavated to almost 4 m, removing roughly 5 m3 of soil. Three radiocarbon samples from lower levels of the mound (3-3.5 m below the ground surface) had calibrated age ranges of c. 1400-1530 CE. Kuulo Kataa, 2000. Kuulo Kataa, 2000.
Eight jar rims have been exposed in situ at the base of level 7, unit 0W 0S, Mound 5, Makala Kataa Station 6. The jar rims are broken off below the neck of the pot and appear to have been placed around a room where they were used as pot stands. In a raised area (bottom center), not excavated to the same depth as surrounding soil, a concentration of reddish soil and gravel marks the traces of a house wall. Archaeologists interpret unit 0W 0S as a part of a kitchen area where foodstuffs were likely stored. The pots and their contents have been removed, with only the pot stands remaining. In the background sits a headpan filled with soil from cleaning the 2 x 2 m unit prior to photoing. A scale arrow with 10 cm intervals points north. View to the west. Makala Kataa, 19 July, 1994.
Banda Research Project team members Obimpeh Blopor (left) and Timothy Fordjour (right) carefully remove dry, compact soil from around a series of pot rims that are appearing in the base of level 6 in unit 0W 0S, Mound 5 at Makala Kataa Station 6. Obimpeh uses a cutlass and Fordjour a short handled hoe to loosen the dry soil. Another team member scoops the excavated soil into a headpan using a short handled hoe. A string with line level lies next to the iron rod that marks the unit datum. A trowel and tape measure rest nearby. Makala Kataa, Station 6, 1994.
West wall of excavation unit 55W 69N in Mound 102 at Kuulo Kataa. Topmost levels are characterized by dark soil that fades to brown below the area where rootlets are visible. A distinct boundary separates these brown soils from the gray ashy levels below. Mound 102 is a large deep midden mound which covers approximately 1600 m2 and rises several meters above the surrounding ground surface. A single 1 x 2 m unit was excavated to the base of level 13, after which a 1 x 1 m unit was excavated to almost 4 m, removing roughly 5 m3 of soil. Three radiocarbon samples from lower levels of the mound (3-3.5 m below the ground surface; not visible in this photo) had calibrated age ranges of c. 1400-1530 CE. Kuulo Kataa, 8 July, 2000.
The deeply stratified deposits of a midden mound are visible in the east wall of excavation unit 2W 2S, Mound 101, Kuulo Kataa. Mound 101 is a large mound covering roughly 1200 m2 and rising roughly 3 m above the surrounding ground surface at its apex. Unit 2W 2S was excavated to a depth of ca. 330 cm below the mound surface to the point where laterite rock was encountered. It was excavated as a 2 x 2 m unit to level 15, narrowing to a 1 x 2 m from level 16, with a total estimated 8.7 m3 of soil removed from the unit. Upper levels were characterized by dark soils with many rootlets which transitioned to lighter brown soils. Gray ashy soils dominated the lower cultural levels of the mound. At base, orange-brown clayey soils appeared above the laterite substrate. Kuulo Kataa, July, 1995.
In-progress excavations of adjacent 2 x 2 m units at Mound 148, Kuulo Kataa. The base of units 70E 48-52N and 72E 50N have been excavated to depths ranging from 90-110 cm below datum. The large area of dark soil concentrated in unit 70E 50N (center) is intrusive pit fill which cut through the living surface at this mound level. An area of packed reddish-orange laterite gravel in unit 70E 52N (bottom, left) likely represents a prepared floor surface. To the right of the dark pit soil, in the boundary between units 70E 50N and 70E 48N, is a an irregularly shaped burned feature interpreted by archaeologists as likely associated with metalworking. Two radiocarbon samples associated with this burned feature had calibrated age ranges between c.1200-1400 CE. A cluster of hearth stones has been exposed in nearby unit 72E 50N (center photo). White bags filled with soil samples collected for flotation sit outside the excavated area together with excavation equipment. View looking eastwards. Kuulo Kataa, 11 July, 2000.
Several large clay pots used for water storage (chͻkoo in Nafaanra) sit in the interior courtyard of a house next to a black metal barrel, which is also used for water storage. The surface of the two larger clay jars has been textured with maize cob roulette (bledjukaan in Nafaanra ), and one is decorated with arching grooves. The smallest jar has red-painted vertical lines on its interior rim. The small round-based jar has been placed on an enameled-ware pot for support. The larger water jar behind it rests on the upturned base of an enameled-ware headpan, re-purposed after its base rusted and it could no longer be used to carry things. A clay grinding bowl is visible in the lower left corner of the picture. Banda area, 1994.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
University of Victoria Libraries
Water storage; Water pots (chokoo); Maize cob roulette; Decoration; Jars
Interior view of a shelter constructed at farm with walls made from woven mats and a thatched roof supported by wooden poles around the shelter's perimeter. In the shelter's rear corner, calabash (gourd; chrԑ in Nafaanra) bowls and ladles rest on a low platform constructed of poles and thatch. Several other worn calabash and fired clay vessels are beneath the platform. A hearth, right foreground, is constructed of three stones in-between which dry wood collected from around the farm is placed. Several maize (corn; bleju in Nafaanra) shucks lie on the ground, lower left foreground. Farm near Ahenkro, September, 1982.
Exterior view of a shelter constructed at farm with walls made from woven mats and a thatched roof supported by wooden poles around the shelter's perimeter. In the foreground, right, a cutlass (machete) rests on a sharpening stone. In the shade of the shelter's eave to the right of its roof-support pole are a small fired clay eating bowl, a clay cooking pot turned upside down resting on its rim, and a larger fired clay water storage pot. Farm shelters provide shade, refuge from rain and a place to rest and prepare food while families are at their farms, which may be located some distance from their homes. Farm near Ahenkro, September, 1982.
A group of men work together, gathered at farm, processing calabash (gourd; chrԑ in Nafaanra) for market sale. The calabash is split, its pulpy interior removed, and the gourd's interior surface scraped clean before drying. Shavings from this thinning process are scattered about on the ground. Several children are gathered nearby as the men work. A basket sits next to a pile of prepared calabash bowls (chrԑgbͻͻ in Nafaanra). Farm near Ahenkro, August, 1982.
Interior view of a shelter constructed at farm with walls made from woven mats and a thatched roof supported by wooden poles around the shelter's perimeter. Pieces of firewood lay near the shelter's entrance with a small wooden double-ended pestle/grinder lying on its side in front of the wood. Several maize (corn) cobs (bledjukaan in Nafaanra) stripped of their kernels lay on the earthen floor of the shelter. Farm near Ahenkro, September, 1982.
Early in his career, art historian Roy Sieber toured Ghana studying the country's indigenous art forms (Interview with Roy Sieber, "African Arts", Vol. 25, no. 4, Oct. 1992, pg. 48). Several years later Sieber's student René Bravmann returned to west central Ghana to study the region's masking traditions. This photo of masks taken by Roy Sieber is Included in René Bravmann's photo archives with the label "Do masks at Banda, R. Sieber photo, 1960s." Masks like these are used in masquerade dances to celebrate special occasions including weddings and public festivals such as the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. In his 1974 book "Islam and Tribal Art in West Africa" (Cambridge University Press, pg. 166), René Bravmann notes that at the time of his 1967 fieldwork there were in the "Ligbi village of Bungazi [Bongase] six Do [masks]... Interestingly enough, only three years prior to my fieldwork , Roy Sieber recorded twelve Do face masks at Bungazi. My inquiries in 1967 revealed that five of the masks had been stolen and a sixth had deteriorated to the point where it was no longer usable." The masks pictured here (1964) may be among the Bongase masks that were stolen or deteriorated by the time of Bravmann's 1967 visit. Bongase, 1964.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial
University of Victoria Libraries
Wood carvings; Rites and ceremonies; Dance; Islam; Masquerades; Marriage customs and rites; Regalia; Masks
Two men (left) stand on the edge of a deep pit previously mined by potters from around Bui Village as a source of potting clay. The deep clay pit was used before the mid-20th century when potters were still practicing their craft east of the Banda hills. The clay pit was located along a stream which drained into the Black Volta on its south bank, on the road leading west from Bui Village. The pit was located in an area later flooded by the rising waters of Bui Lake after construction of the Bui Dam. A red-and-white 2 meter photo scale stands upright in the pit to show the pit's depth. West of Bui, 1989.
Members of Gbaŋmbɛ Katoo demonstrate the use of a (partially constructed) balo or xylophone (sinyeele in Nafaanra). The instrument is played at special funerals, including those of the paramount chief. A calabash with a small hole lies beneath the instrument. Together with other calabashes of graded size (small to large), it serves as the instrument's resonating chamber when fully assembled. By striking the sinyeele's wooden keys with a mallet, a range of musical notes are produced by the differently sized calabashes. Nyua Kwadwo (male family head) holds the mallets he uses to play the sinyeele. On each wrist he wears an iron bangle or bracelet with metal jangles. To the left, a family member plays a drum made from a clay pot. Sanwa, 6 August, 1986.
The first oral history interview conducted by the Banda Research Project was with Kofi Asԑmpasa of Gbԑԑnlԑԑ Katoo, Gbao, in November 1982. Asԑmpasa is pictured here with family member James Anane (holding the tape recorder), listening to the audio recording of his interview. His reaction upon hearing the tape: "That man knows his history!" Asԑmpasa was among the most remarkable oral historians encountered in the course of the Banda Research Project. Gbao, 16 Nov, 1982.