Making Things

"O tolԑԑlԑ na o lelԑԑlԑ pre naa pe jawala teeri na yirԑ pini."

"Our grandfathers and our grandmothers were scientists." They had the skills and knowledge to make useful things.

Science is not just a subject to study in school. It is a practical way to learn about the world that involves observing and experimenting to arrive at reliable knowledge. It involves asking questions and trying new ways of doing things to see if they work. In other words, it is a process of discovery that can spark innovation. Though they may not have called it by the same name, the grandfathers and grandmothers relied on scientific knowledge handed down through generations when they used fire to extract metals from ores, or when they mixed clays to make pots and, by firing them, transformed hand-molded pottery into durable containers.

Today many of the things that people use in their daily lives are industrially produced. But formerly men and women in the Banda area made most of what they needed using local knowledge and skills. Many of the things they used on a daily basis were made from locally-sourced raw materials, while others were made using materials they got through exchange. Archaeological research tells us much about the changing practices of making things through craft practices in the Banda area, particularly about making containers from clay (pottery), making metals from ores (metallurgy) and making things from plant fibers (like textiles and mats).

The images below appear on the doors of the Banda Cultural Centre in Banda-Ahenkro and signify important crafting practices in which men and women of Banda engaged over the centuries. Click on the picture to learn more about each.