African Archaeological Review

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 163–196 | Cite as

Culture contact, continuity, and change on the Gold Coast, AD 1400–1900

  • Christopher R. Decorse


This article briefly examines the consequences of the European presence on the Gold Coast, focusing on archaeological, ethnographic, and historical data from the African settlement of Elmina, Ghana. Documentary sources indicate that there was extensive change in sociopolitical institutions, economic relations, and other aspects of Gold Coast society in the centuries following the advent of European trade in the late fifteenth century. Archaeological survey and excavation of some 30 structures at Elmina similarly indicates a great deal of change in construction technology and material culture during the post-European contact period. However, examination of artefact patterning and associations indicates that in certain respects there was little change in terms of people's shared world view and belief systems. This picture can be contrasted with data from sites in other areas which may have experienced a great deal of culture change during the post-European contact period.


Economic Relation Construction Technology Fifteenth Century Gold Coast Archaeological Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Cet article examine brièvement les conséquences de la présence européenne sur la Côte de l'Or, se penchant plus particulièrement sur les données archéologiques, ethnographiques et historiques du site d'Elmina au Ghana. Les sources documentaries indiquent qu'un changement de grande envergure affectant les institutions socio-politiques, les relations économiques et d'autres aspects de la société de la Côte de l'Or pris place durant les siècles suivant l'arrivée du commerce européen à la fin du quinzième siècle. Un survey archéologique et les fouilles d'environ 30 structures à Elmina, indiquent aussi qu'un changement étendu des techniques de construction et de la culture matérielle s'effectue après la période de contact européen. Toutefois, l'étude de la distribution et des associations des objets, indique que le système de croyance et l'idée du monde partagée par cette société furent peu affectés.

Cette image peut être comparée avec les données obtenues sur d'autres sites ayant fait l'expérience d'un changement culturel important pendant la période postérieure aux contacts européens.


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  • Christopher R. Decorse

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