Merrick Posnansky

Department of Anthropology; Department of History

7288 Bunche Hall

Areas of Interest

The archaeology of state formation and urban growth in Ghana and Togo; archaeology of the African Diaspora; cultural conservation and archaeological education in tropical Africa; postage stamps and national cultural policy


The Hani ethnoarchaeological survey, initiated in 1970, involves monitoring daily and seasonal activities in a Ghanaian traditional community of around 2000 peasant cultivators some 270 miles northwest of the capital. This twenty-five year longitudinal study facilitated the observation of processes of change and the attitudes of the villagers to major environmental, economic, and political changes. Hani is the successor village to the medieval and early modern town of Begho (ca. AD 1100-1800) which with a probable population of over 10,000 was one of the largest towns in the southern part of West Africa at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in 1471. Excavations were conducted at the site from 1970 to 1979. Conclusions have been drawn as to the effects of different types of change. The work, initiated while Dr. Posnansky was Professor of Archaeology at the University of Ghana, has continued in close cooperation with former colleagues and students of that university. The project is now in the writing up stage and a summary account appears in the African Archaeological review for 2002.