You are on page 1of 25

Journal of Social Archaeology

http://jsa.sagepub.com Negotiating the archaeology of destiny: An exploration of interpretive possibilities through Tallensi Shrines
Timothy Insoll Journal of Social Archaeology 2008; 8; 380 DOI: 10.1177/1469605308095010 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jsa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/8/3/380

Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com

Additional services and information for Journal of Social Archaeology can be found at: Email Alerts: http://jsa.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://jsa.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav Citations (this article cites 27 articles hosted on the SAGE Journals Online and HighWire Press platforms): http://jsa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/8/3/380

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Journal of Social Archaeology

ARTICLE

Copyright 2008 SAGE Publications (www.sagepublications.com) ISSN 1469-6053 Vol 8(3): 380403 DOI: 10.1177/1469605308095010

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny


An exploration of interpretive possibilities through Tallensi Shrines
TIMOTHY INSOLL
Archaeology, School of Arts, Histories, and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK

ABSTRACT The concept of destiny is perhaps irrelevant to much of modern thinking in Western Europe and North America and hence fails to enter archaeological vocabulary. This is potentially an omission of consequence, for social psychology indicates that the belief that life is beyond the control of human agency can be a powerful one. Drawing upon ethnographic and archaeological data from the Tallensi of Northern Ghana, the potential resonance of destiny in archaeological interpretation is explored with reference to some examples of deposition from later British prehistory. KEY WORDS Britain Bronze Age destiny ethnography Iron Age materiality shrines Tallensi

Europe

Ghana

380
Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

381

INTRODUCTION
In the context of early twenty-first-century Western Europe and North America, the concept of destiny, defined thus in the Concise Oxford Dictionary predetermined events; persons, countrys etc., appointed or ultimate lot; power that fore-ordains, invincible necessity (Fowler and Fowler, 1952: 326) is perhaps irrelevant to much of modern thinking, and hence fails to enter archaeological vocabulary. This raises the question as to whether this is an omission of consequence. The potential resonance of the concept of destiny for interpreting the past is explored here in relation to ethnographic and archaeological material derived from the Tallensi of Northern Ghana. The possible use of this material for archaeological interpretation is then considered in relation to some examples of depositional practice from later British prehistory. The data drawn upon here have been generated as part of a research project, The Archaeology of Ritual, Shrines, and Sacrice in Northern Ghana (Insoll et al., 2004, 2005, 2007). This project is conducted in cooperation with Dr Benjamin Kankpeyeng of the Department of Archaeology, University of Ghana, Legon, and Dr Rachel MacLean, afliated to the University of Manchester. The aims of this project are various and include exploring the denitions, material culture, and archaeological signatures of religious phenomena, such as totemism, animism, and earth and ancestral cults, amongst the Tallensi ethnic group. A primary focus of the research has been the materiality of shrines of various types (Insoll, 2006, 2007c; Insoll et al., in press), and the discussion presented in this article derives from this aspect of the project. The Tallensi are subsistence agriculturalists who live in the Tongo Hills and its surrounding area south of Bolgatanga, the modern administrative capital of the Upper East Region of Ghana (Figure 1). Tallensi society is divided into two main groups of clans, the Namoos and the Hill Talis (Fortes, 1945/1969). The latter are the focus here, and the Talis, according to oral tradition, are the autochthonous inhabitants of the region (Fortes, 1987: 43). Both groups speak Talen, a Gur language of the Oti-Volta group (Naden, 1988: 12). Tallensi religion is complex, being formed of both earth and ancestor cults, as well as animistic concepts and totemic elements that help to structure social relations (Fortes, 1987). Moreover, the existence of a numinous (Otto, 1950) element within Tallensi religion must also be acknowledged the irreducible, indenable essence of holiness (Insoll, 2004: 1920). For the Tallensi, religion obviously transcends a concern with maintaining social structure or negotiating destiny.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

382

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Figure 1

Map of Northern Ghana.The Tongo Hills are located near number 3

TALLENSI CONCEPTS OF DESTINY


Any consideration of the Tallensi must draw upon the writings of Meyer Fortes (1945, 1949, 1987). Primary amongst Fortes interests was kinship, a reection of his structural functionalist, or what Verdon (1984: 109) refers to as his rationalist, perspective. A further correlate of this was a corresponding absence of interest in material culture and historical trajectories (Allman and Parker, 2005), at least in his published work (Insoll, in preparation a). In compensation, Fortes was interested in social psychology (Horton, 1983), including the Tallensi concept of destiny (e.g. Fortes, 1983). That life is beyond the control of human agency alone is a fact acknowledged by most if not all Tallensi, even if contemporary attempts at controlling destiny via the intercession of the ancestors is primarily a male concern. The ancestors are key within this framework, and, as Fortes (1983: 29) notes, Tale (Tallensi) cosmology is wholly dominated by the ancestor cult. Even the elaborate totemic institutions, the cult of the Earth and the beliefs about

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

383

the dangerous mystical qualities of evil trees, animals and other natural phenomena are subordinated to it. The importance of the ancestors in structuring beliefs and ritual practices is thus clearly evident within the overall religious structure. It should, though, be noted that the ancestors are not gods. They are considered as intermediaries or spirits in terms of the relationship between living peoples and the Supreme Being, God, with those ancestors that are considered role models or exemplars being key in this process (B. Kankpeyeng, pers. comm.). Moreover, the ancestors do not function in isolation from the other elements of Tallensi religious belief. Yet such nuanced readings of the role of the ancestors are frequently omitted in archaeological interpretation, where more simplistic ancestral interpretations are sometimes given primacy (see Whitley, 2002, for cogent criticism). Perhaps such criticisms can be addressed by recognizing, rst, the complex role ancestors can play in systems of ritual and belief and, second, that ancestors do not usually exist in isolation but are interwoven with other elements of belief and ritual practice as has been described. Among the Tallensi, destiny is negotiated via the so-called good-destiny ancestors who are serviced and placated through regular offering, sacrice, and libation at shrines. Every married man has his Good Destiny (personal) or Yin shrine, which is described by Fortes (1983: 19) as a ritual record of a mans life history. These shrines permit relationships with unique congurations of ancestors, which are served via unique ritual relationships by the individual whose destiny they control, and in this way the negotiation of destiny and its material conguration are distinguished from ritual relationships with kinsfolk and clansfolk (Fortes, 1983: 23). The ancestors which are signicant to a mans Yin are revealed to him gradually over the course of years (Fortes, 1945: 144), and are actualized materially within the shrine through material symbols of the occasions in which they were revealed to him (1945: 144). Complexity thus exists both in how the shrines are congured and in the concepts which are associated with them, and it is probable that destiny and Yin are more complex than these descriptions derived from Fortes (1945, 1983) allow. Fortes (1949: 325) mentions in regard to another form of divining shrine (bakologo) that all religious terms of this class amongst the Tallensi refer to the shrine and the ancestors to whom the shrine is dedicated, and, importantly, also signify the whole conguration of ideas and beliefs associated with the shrine. The Yin ancestors serve to provide a biography of the individual through their close links with his destiny and in so doing are represented materially in the shrine. The shrines and Yin ancestors are key in reecting both dividual and individual aspects of personhood; they follow common patterns but are also unique. This is perhaps unsurprising for, again to quote Fortes (1983: 20), each persons total life-history is unique, though the events it is made up of are similar to

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

384

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

those of other peoples lives; and its particular course depends on his Destiny. Negotiating existential uncertainty is a recurring element of life in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa (Ferme, 2001). Amongst the Tallensi, destiny is an embedded component of personhood (Fortes, 1987: 149), not a vague reection of fate or luck as modern conceptions might express it. Destiny literally structures life and the consequences of not treating your ancestors correctly respectfully and loyally can be profound. Unpropitious destiny or offended ancestors can permit the descent into madness (Fortes, 1987: 277). This is a phenomenon far from unique to the Tallensi it is recurrent in many societies across sub-Saharan Africa. The anthropological structure of madness in sub-Saharan Africa has been considered by Ibrahim Sow (1980: 6), and he stresses that such profound psychiatric consequences exist because:
. . . the day-to-day psychological fate of individual human beings is modulated by a subtle dialectic of complex (often ambiguous) relations between humans and the creatures of the mesocosmos (African genies or spirits): invisible but powerful, good or bad, gratifying or persecutory and, as such, they can drive one mad.

Any disturbance of the equilibrium of the relationship between individual and ancestors in negotiating destiny can thus be seen to have potentially severe psychological consequences. This is one element of the concept of destiny frequently overlooked by archaeologists, who are generally more concerned with issues of good fortune and material advancement. Instead, in recognizing the psychological element, the overall importance of the concept of destiny and therefore its material correlates and associated ritual behaviours can be more fully appreciated. The underlying causality is not illogical, but rmly logical as a prop to the vagaries of life. Equally, it also has to be acknowledged that both destiny and its material embodiment in shrines are clearly linked to historical, political, and economic circumstances. One of the failings of Fortes (1945, 1949, 1987) ethnography, both in relation to destiny and in general, is a failure to historically situate it. Instead, Fortes ethnography, and thus the Tallensi and their shrines, appear to operate in a historical vacuum. Although this is now being redressed by historians (Allman and Parker, 2005), it stands in contrast to the processes of shrine history recorded elsewhere in West Africa (Kuba and Lentz, 2002; Lentz, 2000; Lentz and Sturm, 2001: 1589; Parish, 1999). Ogundiran (2002: 4489), for instance, describes how the Yoruba Ori shrine altered in material form after the opening up of the Atlantic trade from the sixteenth century. The stylized human terracotta heads previously used for these shrines changed to circular or conical stiff calico boxes covered with cowries, a material shift which seems to have been accompanied by a shift

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

385

in understandings of self and destiny to a more impersonal and symbolic form (2002: 449). Social psychological anxieties are also directly linked to historical circumstances, and operate in relation to different sources of anxiety at various points in time. Hence, amongst the Tallensi, slavery is obviously no longer a source of anxiety, as it would have been until the pacication of the region by the British in the early twentieth century (Allman and Parker, 2005: 32). Slavery was perhaps the dominant recurring element of existential concern throughout the region until that date (Stahl, in press a) and hence also the focus of shrine-related processes (Ogundiran, 2002). Another existential concern that has been charted in historical trajectory is witchcraft (Parish, 1999; Parker, 2004). Shaw, for example, records how witchcraft, and associated witch-nding divinatory practices, grew in importance after the sixteenth century in Sierra Leone as a correlate, again, of the Atlantic Slave trade, but also due to inuences from other West African groups such as the Mande, Susu, and Fula (1997: 8624). Amongst the Tallensi today witchcraft might not be such a source of anxiety (Fortes, 1987: 212), but social psychological concerns are still similarly historically situated. Besides psychological interest and acknowledging the historically and biographically situated nature of destiny, it has to be recognized that it is interwoven with various other themes of possible archaeological importance surrounding ritual practice, the manifestation of personhood, and the potential inter-relationship with kinship patterns, for example. But do we as archaeologists necessarily reect this complexity in our interpretations? Here one would have to suggest that the answer is largely negative, not least because archaeological interpretation is subject to interpretive fashion. Thus, for example, the prominence accorded to the study of individuality or highly individualistic accounts of personhood might overlook concepts of kinship (Insoll, 2007a, 2007b), when, of course, personhood is frequently intertwined with kinship (Carrithers et al, 1985; Fowler, 2004). In so doing, such archaeological interpretation is in part mirroring what has occurred in anthropology where, according to Strathern and Lambek (1998: 5), the body has become suddenly omnipresent in academic texts whereas descent groups have vanished as a focus for analysis (1998: 4). Equally, family, kinship, and descent groups, if acknowledged (as they should be), also have to be recognized as legacies of historical processes and not entities that stand outside history. Perhaps prior assumptions of kinship continuity allied with awed Processualist attempts to map out kinship patterns from archaeological materials such as ceramics (Deetz, 1968; Hill, 1972), or Structural Marxist approaches that looked at kinship as related to mode of production (Rowlands, 1980), have led to the absence of kinship studies in contemporary archaeology. This is understandable and it is not being suggested that Processualist or Structural Marxist approaches

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

386

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

to kinship are something we should resurrect. Instead, this point is made merely in the hope of encouraging complexity in relevant interpretation. So, for example, we recognize the interweaving of the various themes surrounding personhood, kinship, psychology, ritual, religion, etc., as probably more representative of what is evident in the material remains we study, rather than their manifestation in the singular as standalone categories representative of, for instance, ritual, or personhood alone.

THE MATERIALIT Y OF TALLENSI DESTINY


The complex processes through which destiny concepts interrelate with other elements of Tallensi life are also reected in the materiality of destiny that is manifest primarily via shrines. However, shrines are difcult to reduce to a typology (Insoll, 2007c; Insoll et al., in press). Both their archaeological signatures and patterns of contemporary usage indicate that a degree of exibility exists in how they might be used or conceptualized, meaning that statements such as shrine type X always equals religious or ritual conguration Y are not necessarily accurate. Nonetheless, this cautionary point noted, destiny is primarily negotiated via ritual practice and sacrice at small household shrines of generically similar types. These household shrines are usually formed of specic objects with precise associations: for example, the material relics of events such as illness, success in hunting for the rst time, or of doing well in farming (Fortes, 1983: 21). Items linked with a personal taboo imposed by destiny ancestors as a consequence of curing an individual of an illness are one instance, and Fortes (1983: 20) describes how a young man, upon recovery, was told through divination to give up farming. The surrendering of his hoe was the material symbol of this requirement. Although Fortes does not mention if this hoe was subsequently enshrined, objects such as hoes and similar intimate personal possessions can frequently be found to form elements of shrines. They are also frequently objects typically drawn from the range of items used in daily contexts, as has been noted by Stahl (in press b: 10) in relation to shrines in the Banda area in Ghana. A further example provided by Fortes (1983: 20) is more specic about destiny shrine formation. He describes how the skull of a crocodile and the arrow used to kill it were embedded within a small clay shrine as the skull and the arrow became the symbols of the ancestors linked with the hunter and his destiny. Examples such as these proliferate and indicate that destiny shrines are recurrently composed of categories of material culture of precise biography and association that link individuals to ancestors and thereby assist in the negotiation of destiny by the former through the latter.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

387

Of obvious signicance here is the relationship between personhood and materiality. It should be emphasized that personhood does not precede materiality but is produced through material practice and embodied processes. As Thomas (2006/2007: 15) has noted, material culture does not materialize ideas as if they have already existed in some other space before entering the material world. Hence the elements of destiny shrines hoes, crocodile skulls, arrows, etc. do not as such reect a persons biography (male or female) but play an active role in producing that biography. To adapt a point made by Mariane Ferme (2001: 18), this is a relationship whose meanings are both shaped by, and constitutive of, the properties of objects in which they are embedded. Notions of personhood do not exist as disembodied ideas; instead they emerge, and are reproduced and transformed, through material practices, including those related to shrines. Such understandings are entirely relevant elsewhere in the West African context (Ferme, 2001: 4, Ogundiran, 2002: 431), and also concur with more general archaeological readings of materiality (Hallam and Hockey, 2001: 118; Tilley, 2006: 61), whereby it is recognized that the practicality of life is built with reference to the material components of that world rather than being merely recorded by them (Barrett, 2001: 152). In order to further explore the materiality of destiny shrines access was gained to a group of in-compound shrines after the completion of a process of negotiation with both the relevant community elders and the shrines themselves (and presumably the ancestors they enshrine) via the medium of sacrice. This was possible because the compound that was the focus of study had been, unusually, abandoned along with its shrines. Although the shrines considered here are representative, the abandonment of a compound is an unusual occurrence because this can indicate the extinguishing of a lineage. Through its abandonment the compound becomes daboog, which is described by Fortes (1945: 44) as having two meanings, both auspicious and less auspicious. First, generically, it is a term that can be applied either to the site of a former compound or to an empty compound in any state of decay. Daboog can be used to describe a vacant compound location that is not dead, but is still lived in by the ancestors, and might be reoccupied in the future. Hence it can stand for something good and worthy of praise and according to Fortes be a symbol of the living continuity of a line of descent (1945: 44). Alternatively, daboog can be much less auspicious in referring to the site of a former human habitation left deserted and forlorn through the extinction of a line of descent (Fortes, 1945: 44). In so doing it becomes an accursed spot with no ancestors residing there, a monument of human sin (1945: 44). The shrines discussed here, as with all shrines, are actualized within history and are the product of precise circumstances. Hence the concerns expressed earlier about constructing precise shrine typologies. Their materiality is not arbitrary but linked with specic individuals and

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

388

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

events, even if the particulars of these are beginning to recede in community memory. The compound studied (N104042.7 W0004903.1) was abandoned in 1999 when the occupant, Yiran Tongbil, on assuming the role of caretaker of the Yaane or Tongnaab shrine (Insoll, 2006), moved to another compound which was linked with the caretaker role and which was located closer to the Yaane shrine (R. Nabdoam and E. Yin, pers. comm., 10 July 2006). However, Tongbil died soon afterwards in 2002, followed by his wife in 2003, and his only son, also in 2003. Although Tongbil was survived by two daughters, it was not possible for them as women to continue the rituals at the compound. Tallensi thinking on this is summed up in a saying recorded by Fortes that, a woman does not build a house, i.e. a lineage is not perpetuated by its women members (1945: 191), only the male ones. Women can only nominally become custodians of ancestor shrines if they are the sole survivors of a lineage, but even then they must call in, as Fortes again records (1945: 149), a collateral male agnate to deputize for the man who might have been the custodian of the shrine. This is necessary because Tallensi women are not allowed to perform sacrices but must contact a man to sacrice on their behalf (B. Kankpeyeng, pers. comm.). This is, of course, contemporary practice. The connection between gender prohibition and ritual practice is, as with the creation of the shrines themselves, a result of historical processes. We do not yet know if women have always been excluded from the direct act of sacrice at Tallensi ancestral and destiny shrines, for in other ways the female presence is manifest in archaeological deposits in ritual contexts, as in the Tallensi earth shrine of Nyoo (Insoll et al., in press). Here, the deliberate deposition of numerous pots, seemingly a female product based on contemporary parallels (Smith, 1989), indicates a fundamental female contribution to the shrine. Furthermore, the use of pots objects with female connections in rituals imbues those rituals with some degree of female presence (Goodall, 2007; Insoll, in preparation b). Shrine congurations change over time and this is clearly indicated by archaeology at Nyoo and elsewhere, as Stahl (in press b) discusses. Moreover, this reconguring of gender relations over time, if correctly interpreted, would not be unique to the Tallensi. Ogundiran (2002: 454), for example, describes how in Yorubaland, Nigeria, an intense transformation and negotiation in gender relations occurred in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, including roles in ritual activities and divination. This historically constituted and varied nature of gender relations in subSaharan Africa (albeit largely outside the ritual sphere) has also been considered by Kent (1998) and her contributors. Hence, through the absence of a male heir, the shrines in Tongbils compound can be considered liminal if not quite dead. This point is made as the shrines can still be communicated with (as was evident by the recent

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

389

sacricial remains recorded), but not, it was related, in the same way as with the shrines of the living. This was because Tongbil is remembered as an ancestor; hence his name is recalled as the caretaker of Yaane, but if he had not assumed this role he would not be remembered by anyone for his family has died (R. Nabdoam and E. Yin, pers. comm., 10 July 2006). It would thus seem that his memory persists because of his important community role as caretaker of the Yaane shrine rather than because of his direct family or lineage links, which are now severed. Because of these circumstances the death of the family, the abandonment of the compound, and the liminal state of the shrines it was possible to record both the house and its associated shrines. Yet assessing how this compound ts within the concepts of daboog, just described, is not easy. It is certainly daboog, but the ancestral status Tongbil achieved through his role as Yaane shrine caretaker would seem to preclude its simple ascription as an accursed spot, even if his family is dead. The sacrices made to the compound shrines prior to the start of the work would also suggest that its daboog status is regarded as closer to auspicious than not. Hence, even in considering this one compound, ancestral complexity can again be seen in operation. Such complexity is almost certainly the rule rather than the exception. Moreover, this complexity can be seen to operate here in relation to extant Tallensi shrines but is almost certainly of relevance in conguring ancestral relationships in the past. By comparison with other compounds in the Tongo Hills, the structure studied was not large. Much larger structures exist (Gabrilopoulos, 1995), but the compound recorded contained the architectural features found in most Tallensi domestic compounds (Figure 2). These included the granary, ancestors room or zong, bathroom area, dry and wet season kitchens, sitting place, wife and husbands bedrooms, as well as what were described as the fathers shrine, mothers shrine, and personal or Yin shrine (R. Nabdoam and E. Yin, pers. comm., 10 July 2006). Of archaeological signicance is the fact that the shrines (Yin and fathers) were the best-preserved parts of the house through being formed of more durable materials than the mud compound itself. The compound had suffered severely in the six to seven years between its abandonment and subsequent recording in July 2005 and July 2006. Although some parts of the walls were still standing to heights ranging between c.10 and 150 cm, it is probable that within a further two to three years these would have collapsed. This erosion could be literally described as wall-melt, and is representative of processes of extreme structural deterioration in a region where in general a mud room is expected to last between four to eight years without extensive repair (Gabrilopoulos, 1995: 83; McIntosh, 1974). No remains of organic building materials such as wooden doors or roof beams were found, excluding a short section of palm

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

390

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Figure 2

Plan of Yiran Tongbils compound, Tengzug

trunk that might have been used as a seat. It is probable that these have been removed for use elsewhere rather than their decomposing entirely in the comparatively short timescale since the compound was abandoned. The fathers shrine, which survived, was composed of a pot partially embedded in what was probably part of the fabric of the building itself, i.e. a mud platform (Figures 2 and 3). This shrine pot was completely emptied and the contents listed (Table 1); the dominant artifacts were coins of various types. The other artifacts recorded included cowry shells, a length of blue plastic twine, a razor blade holder, a copper bell, several bracelets, and a polished pebble of a type described as used for providing a nished surface to mud plaster or render (R. Nabdoam, pers. comm., 23 July 2005) (Figure 3). Whether this shrine, or indeed the other two described here, were ever topped with conical mud or clay pillars as is often seen elsewhere in the Tongo Hills (Gabrilopoulos, 1995: 656) is unknown as these features have not survived. Bearing in mind this point about non-surviving possible additional architectural features, the Yin shrine was also reasonably well preserved. It was

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

391

Figure 3

The contents of the fathers shrine. (Photograph by T. Insoll)

noticeable, however, that its components were becoming dispersed over an area of some 90 by 70 cm, greater than the tighter original clustering of this shrines arrangement (Figures 4 and 5). The primary surviving in situ element of the Yin shrine was a mud and gravel platform abutting the wall of the wifes bedroom. This had collapsed at its northern end but still had a complete pot set within it, which was capped with a broken sherd (Figure 5). The contents of this pot could not be emptied as it was still considered too active. Yet its immediately visible contents could be recorded, and these included a grey stone pounder, rubber, or grinder, a further pot sherd, and an iron bracelet of a twisted design (Figure 5). South of the platform a forked stick of the type used to support shrine pots was propped against the wall of the wifes bedroom. Nearby, a complete upturned pot and associated steel plate probably represented another element of the Yin shrine now fallen from the wooden support just described. Lifting the pot revealed its contents to be two bronze bracelets and some pot sherds (Figure 6). Scattered primarily in front of the platform was further material. This included four iron bracelets, an iron hoe blade, an iron pick or axe, an iron knife blade, two cowry shells, a coin (British West Africa 1936 1/10 Penny, George V), an iron nail, some pot sherds, and to the north of the platform another steel plate (Figure 2). Of potential archaeological interest is the observation that the Yin shrine was becoming mixed in with elements of the third shrine recorded, the mothers shrine (Figure 4). This can be seen in Figure 2 where two large

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

392

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Table 1

List of contents of the fathers shrine


Description Four large cowry shells Polished pebble used for plastering Length of blue plastic twine Small copper bell; iron bolt; razor blade holder; bronze bracelet; four iron bracelets; iron washer 20 Pesewas (1967); 1 Penny, George VI (1952); 5 Pesewas (1967); One Tenth Penny, George VI (1952); One Half Pesewas (1967); Unidentied issue, British West Africa (1920); One Half Penny, George VI (1947); 5 Cedis (1984); 5 Pesewas (1985); 1 Cedi (1984); One Half Pesewas (1967); One Half Penny (1936); Unidentied date, 2 CFA; 1 Pesewas (1975)

Material Shell Lithic Plastic Metal Metal (coin)

pot fragments that had formed part of the mothers shrine were now placed adjacent to the Yin shrine (R. Nabdoam, pers. comm.). This is signicant as the base of the mothers shrine was c.130 cm from the Yin shrine (Figure 2). The mothers shrine was formed of a small, collapsing earthen platform, abutting the wall of the husbands room, but nothing else from it survived (Figure 2). Which other parts of the dispersed material around the Yin shrine, if any, might have formed components of the mothers shrine was unclear. What is more certain is that in archaeological terms a generic ritual or shrine deposit is being created through the mixing of these different shrine parts, though it is still possible to be more precise in interpreting its destiny and ancestral links because of the types of material culture present. This assertion can be made on the basis of the associations already described between material culture and historical and biographical events, and ancestral demands and requests in relation to the constitution of Yin shrines. The material just considered also ts within the framework of Tallensi concepts of personhood. Objects such as the bracelets, razor blade holder, and polished pebble from the fathers shrine, as well as the bracelets, hoe blade, and pick or axe from the Yin shrine, would broadly concur with Fortes (1987: 267) description of the notion of sii and its links with concepts of the person, personhood, and personal possessions. Fortes (1987: 267) describes sii in one of its aspects as, the focus, one might almost say the medium, of personal identity which is objectively represented in possessions characteristic of a persons sex and status. These possessions include the individuals clothing, a womans personal ornaments such as her brass

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

393

Figure 4

The Yin shrine (see Figure 2 for location)

Figure 5

The Yin shrine pot and its contents. (Photograph by T. Insoll)

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

394

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Figure 6 Further components of the Yin shrine. Note the cluster of bracelets and pot sherds (lower centre) which had been covered by the complete pot (upper centre). (Photograph by T. Insoll) bracelets and beadwork, and a mans tools or weapons such as his hoe and axe, or bow and arrow (Fortes, 1987). Some of the materials recorded in the shrines in Tongbils compound would and could constitute such categories of intimate personal possessions, of precise ontological status and association, although in archaeological contexts it might not be possible to go so far as to interpret which gender and/or age or initiation status might have been linked with these artifacts. Additionally, their context of deposition would seem to precisely link with Fortes (1987: 267) point that when an ancestor reveals themselves as an agency claiming service from a particular descendant, the chosen vehicle is usually some such intimate and characteristic possession, or its replica, owned by the descendant. Yet here it has to be acknowledged again that a universal code for interpreting these objects does not exist: rstly, because, as already discussed, they are precise in relation to historical circumstances; and secondly, because though they might operate within the context of negotiating individual

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

395

destiny, and hence, to draw upon a point made by Hoskins (2006: 75), embody complex intentionalities and mediate social agency, the latter does not operate singularly. As the particular history of these shrines indicates, agency, even if reduced in this instance to Tongbils destiny, also relates to an overall structure of lineage and community. Questions of structure and agency, both historically constituted, thus have to be considered alongside each other as operating in a dialectical relationship (Tilley, 2006). This is because, as Barrett (2001: 149) notes, agency is always situated in structural conditions which facilitate its actions because agency requires a medium through which to work. The polysemic qualities of the objects present in the shrines also need recognizing. To the individual to whose destiny they might be linked they hold specic associations and meanings. To other observers, less well informed or involved, they probably would hold others, beyond the generic understanding that they are linked with destiny. In this respect, even if in archaeological contexts it is usually impossible to progress beyond the potential recognition of the importance of destiny as a structuring hermeneutic, it might be useful to at least entertain the notion that what we seek is to follow the analysis of objects and spaces through the temporary and eeting gestures that shape them, without reducing them to intelligible and totalizing (synchronic) units of analysis (Ferme, 2001: 66).

DESTINY AND DEPOSITION IN LATER EUROPEAN PREHISTORY INTERPRETIVE POSSIBILITIES?


Nonetheless, although the destiny-related materials are specically constituted in a historical sense, it is the idea that they operate within the context of negotiating existential uncertainty that is signicant. It is suggested that it is here that this Tallensi material has possible pertinence for interpreting depositional practices elsewhere. For if, following Gell (1998), things have agency but this is always relational and context dependent (Hallam and Hockey, 2001: 114), perhaps it is possible to explore the transactions (2001: 114) between things, relations, contexts and destiny in a little more detail. This would appear to be relevant in two primary ways in archaeological contexts: rst, in general terms in suggesting interpretive complexity in considering, for instance, ancestors in the archaeological record (Whitley, 2002); and second, in exploring the possibilities of destiny as an agent perhaps structuring visually similar deposits in, for example, later European prehistoric contexts. This article explores the latter through focusing, in particular, on a few selected examples from the British Bronze Age. Much attention has obviously been given to the use of analogy both in relation to European prehistory (Barrett and Fewster, 1998; Parker

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

396

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Pearson and Ramilsonina, 1998), and in more general terms (Binford, 1967; Gould, 1980; Hodder, 1982; Oestigaard, 2000; Wylie, 1985). It is important to note that whilst Tallensi destiny shrines are being utilized for analogical purposes it is not implied that the Tallensi serve as a more general analogue for prehistoric peoples in Britain or elsewhere. Equally, it is not being proposed that an archaeology of destiny has been developed for later European prehistory based on a few examples of domestic deposition selected because of contextual and material resemblances with the Tallensi shrine deposits this could not be the case. These analogies are being suggested merely to reinforce the notion of destiny as a possible hermeneutic, as Bradley (2005a) has indeed done in relation to discussing the temporality of Scottish stone circles. The exploration of destiny could equally be undertaken with reference to depositional practices from, for instance, the European Iron Age (Cunliffe, 1991) or the Dutch Bronze Age (Fontijn, 2002). It is beyond the scope of this article or the prociency of the author to achieve this here. Hence it is hoped that the ideas proposed might be further explored by others in relation to such bodies of material. In a series of papers Brck (e.g. 1999a, 1999b, 2001) has summarized and discussed domestic deposits recovered from a range of predominantly Middle Bronze Age sites in southern England. These would seem to be highly individualized deposits composed of material with, potentially, precise biographical associations. At Itford Hill in East Sussex, a complete lower stone from a saddle quern had been placed at the base of a pit in a roundhouse (Brck, 1999a: 329; Burstow and Holleyman, 1957). Also in East Sussex, at Black Patch, a tanged triangular bronze blade and a bronze awl were both found on the oor of one roundhouse, whilst deposits on oors of other roundhouses yielded bronze artifacts such as awls, knives, and razors (Brck, 1999a: 329; Drewett, 1982). At North Shoebury in Essex, pits were recorded containing whole pottery vessels, and one pit contained a complete but smashed bucket urn laid at its base (Brck, 1999a: 329; Wymer and Brown, 1995). Finally, at Chalton in Hampshire, the oor of a roundhouse was found covered with a layer of dark grey soil which yielded a bronze awl, palstave, and knife (Brck, 1999a: 330; Cunliffe, 1970). The resonances with the Tallensi destiny-related deposits just described are striking. In interpreting this British Bronze Age material, after reviewing and discounting utilitarian possibilities, Brck (1999a: 334) suggests that the associated acts of deposition may have been connected with rites of passage such as birth, marriage, and death. Moreover, she suggests that they might have served, perhaps, to placate the spirit of a newly-deceased member of the household (1999a: 334). Such interpretations are plausible. Drawing analogies with the Tallensi material, this interpretation can be potentially expanded to suggest that similar processes to those underpinning Tallensi domestic destiny shrines might have generated the deposits recorded at these MBA sites. Specically, the negotiation of existential

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

397

uncertainty in relation to an ancestral presence, as described, might be what is represented. In addition to the generic similarities in deposition, the nature of the objects themselves would seemingly concur with those also described for Tallensi contexts. They might hold precise ontological or biological associations with individuals, perhaps as demanded by the ancestors, or representative of the ancestors themselves. These might be objects imbued with agency and linked with personhood. Perhaps too the objects, and the deposits from which they derive, could represent shrines, which, like the Tallensi shrines, may have been founded to assist individuals, households, and settlement or lineage groups to negotiate the vagaries of existence in a subsistence agricultural environment. These examples can be supplemented by others, albeit from different areas of Britain. Including these examples from other geographical regions does not reduce the analogy, for precise specicities are not being sought but rather the potential of the general concept of destiny is being explored. Hence, broadening the regional focus is of use for illustrative purposes. Nowakowski (2001: 141), for instance, describes how at Trethellan Farm at Newquay, Cornwall, two oval-shaped hollows were found in front of two roundhouses. In one of these hollows were caches of pot sherds, animal bone and shellsh lling pits that had been capped by at pieces of slate. Seemingly associated with these pits and hollows were localized spreads of wood charcoal representing small open res that appeared to have been lit time and time again (2001: 144). These latter features were interpreted as representative of ritual re lighting of a sustained and continuous, if perhaps infrequent pattern of behaviour over time (2001). Firelighting might be absent from the repertoire of ritual practices directed toward Tallensi destiny shrines (B. Kankpeyeng, pers. comm.), but such deposits might still be structured by comparable existential concerns. Elsewhere, ideas surrounding linkages between destiny and ancestral presence in relation to house abandonment, similar to the Tallensi concept of daboog, can be considered, even if specic analogies cannot be pursued too far. At Gardoms Edge in Derbyshire, for instance, three round buildings were excavated dating from the Late Bronze Age through to the earlier Iron Age (Barnatt et al., 2002). After the abandonment of these buildings rubble banks had been constructed so that at Building 1 the rubble bank continued to maintain the space occupied by the house with a paved narrow opening at the location of its door and large boulders referencing the posts of the porch (2002: 54). In this and another building (Number 2), saddle querns had also been deposited after abandonment. Clearly, what might be underpinning the creation of these deposits and the construction of the blocking banks is the protection of a daboog type terrain. An ancestral presence might have led to the protection (or avoidance) of the site and the ritual deposition of the saddle querns. Again it should be stressed that daboog is only being used as a loose comparison rather than a precise analogy for reasons explored further below.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

398

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Similar concepts might underpin the deposition practices evident at the site of Green Knowe in Peeblesshire, Scotland. Six houses were recorded on platforms with each house delimited by a bank formed of stone from the surrounding elds. On one platform (Number 2), at least two houses had been built. Of signicance to evaluating the potential of destiny in archaeological contexts is the bank of stone by the entrance which contained a substantial quantity of refuse, including broken pottery, fragments of two shale objects and numerous stone rubbers (Johnston, 2001: 99). Again, suggesting destiny-related concepts as an agent structuring these deposits would seem plausible considering both the context and material present. This would not seem to be utilitarian refuse, but rather what Hallam and Hockey (2001: 50) describe as emergent memory objects. The inhabitants might have enshrined objects associated with known ancestors or kin as has been described for the Tallensi. The stone rubbers could represent such items, used in agricultural and food processing, and having precise biographical association. This interpretation is perhaps strengthened by Johnstons (2001: 99) point that as the houses decayed, their stone banks endured and were a reminder of the size and shape of the house, fossilised in the ring of stone. Thus here, potentially, we have memories of the ancestors, lineage, and house all simultaneously preserved. Could such an interpretation be taken further to suggest that initially a shrine was formed of the material at the entrance in the bank, and then the whole site was enshrined after its abandonment? The answer is of course unknown. But it is a possibility that concerns surrounding the negotiation of destiny or fate are represented at two levels. First, at a personal or household level, and second at that of a kin group or lineage. Furthermore, the interrelation rather than exclusivity of the two levels must be acknowledged, as has already been described with reference to considering structure and agency. Ultimately, Johnston might be right in interpreting Green Knowe, and the site of Standrop Rigg in Northumberland where similar banks of stone were constructed around Bronze Age houses, within the framework of links between agricultural practices and structures of kinship, tenure and inheritance (2001: 107). The validity of such an interpretation is perhaps as strong as one invoking the negotiation of destiny. Or is it? For perhaps Johnstons interpretation is only reecting aspects of past lives that gure upon the radar of contemporary relevance (Insoll, 2007b). Hence other elements of potentially very great importance could be neglected because they lack this contemporary relevance. Key here are concepts surrounding the negotiation of fate and destiny which might perhaps be of little importance within the day-to-day activities or consciousness of most contemporary archaeologists. In contrast, they could have been of fundamental magnitude in subsistence agricultural societies such as those of later British and European prehistory.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

399

CONCLUSIONS
Although striking parallels seem to exist between the potentially individualized material deposits in both cases, a simple transcription from present (Tallensi) to past (later European prehistory) is not being proposed. This would be erroneous and simplistic, when what is repeatedly evident in the material considered is complexity. Complexity in how ancestors are dened, congured, and enshrined materially, and in how abandoned compounds and their associated lineages are conceptualized. The process of negotiating destiny is not like following a road map. We might have a generic understanding that some shrines function within this framework amongst the Tallensi, but the specic associations and events which generate Yin shrines become lost. In illustrating this point it is possible to draw an analogy with a cable containing lots of bre optic elements within it. We can isolate the cable as the shrine, functioning to negotiate destiny, but what is addressed by the multiple bre optics therein is unknown. To this we also have to add the historical dimension of shrines, anxieties, persons, and things in the creation of histories that relate to individuals with agency utilized in their negotiation of particular existential concerns and in the greater structure of kin, clan, lineage, and community. If this is the case with the recent, ethnographic, past of the Tongo Hills, the difculties posed by attempting to add precision to the interpretation of shrines in prehistory becomes insurmountable, not least because it is very difcult to interpret what might constitute a shrine in societies where the division between sacred and profane is far from clear, if it existed at all (Bradley, 2005b; Brck, 1999a; Insoll, 2004, 2007c). Moreover, precise shrinal biographies and associations are lost for ever. However, this conceded, it is still posited that the concept of destiny, albeit broadly construed, could serve as an interpretive possibility in beginning to add texture to our understanding of aspects of deposition in later European prehistoric contexts. Yet interpretive limitations again have to be acknowledged. For although potential resonance seems at rst to exist in relation to three key Tallensi concepts which interconnect to structure the overall notion of destiny and its associated ritual practices, Yin, sii, and daboog, we cannot isolate or ascribe the latter to later European prehistoric contexts. The specics of the analogy are not sustainable, but the general notion of negotiating destiny is of relevance. Here then, perhaps, we can begin to consider in more complex terms how objects might relate to existential concerns. Moreover, in recognizing this, what Tilley (2006: 63) refers to as the intertwining of the biographies of particular persons and particular things might be begun to be understood with greater precision.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

400

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3)

Acknowledgements
I am indebted to Roger Nabdoam and Eric Yin for providing information on the abandoned house, its history, and shrines. I am similarly most grateful to Malik Mahmud and Andy Ginns for surveying this house and drawing the original plans and Sarah Croucher for nishing these. I would also like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance in the eld of my two co-directors, Dr Ben Kankpeyeng and Dr Rachel MacLean. Although all responsibility for any errors or omissions in this article remains my own I am very grateful to Rachel MacLean, Ben Kankpeyeng, Chris Fowler, and John Parker for comments on the article in draft forms. The very useful input of various anonymous referees from the Journal of Social Archaeology, and especially the valuable comments of Anne Stahl, is also gratefully acknowledged. I further thank the British Academy and the British Institute in Eastern Africa for funding the eldwork, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board for granting permission for the research to take place, the staff of the Upper East Regional Museum for their cooperation, and the people of Tongo-Tenzug for their hospitality and patience in allowing the research to proceed. I would also like to acknowledge Julian Thomas for kindly providing bibliography on archaeological approaches to kinship, and material practice and materiality, and Chris Fowler for providing the same on Bronze Age domestic deposition.

References
Allman, J. and J. Parker (2005) Tongnaab. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Barnatt, J., B. Bevan and M. Edmonds (2002) Gardoms Edge: A Landscape Through Time, Antiquity 76: 516. Barrett, J. (2001) Agency, the Duality of Structure, and the Problem of the Archaeological Record, in I. Hodder (ed.) Archaeological Theory Today, pp. 14164. Cambridge: Polity. Barrett, J. and K. Fewster (1998) Stonehenge: Is the Medium the Message?, Antiquity 72: 84752. Binford, L. (1967) Smudge Pits and Hide Smoking: The Use of Analogy in Archaeological Reasoning, American Antiquity 32: 112. Bradley, R. (2005a) The Moon and the Bonre: An Investigation of Three Stone Circles in Northeast Scotland. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Bradley, R. (2005b) Ritual and Domestic Life in Prehistoric Europe. Abingdon: Routledge. Brck, J. (1999a) Ritual and Rationality: Some Problems of Interpretation in European Archaeology, European Journal of Archaeology 2: 31344. Brck, J. (1999b) Houses, Lifecycles and Deposition on Middle Bronze Age Settlements in Southern England, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 65: 14566. Brck, J. (2001) Body Metaphors and Technologies of Transformation in the English Middle and Late Bronze Age, in J. Brck (ed.) Bronze Age Landscapes. Tradition and Transformation, pp. 14960. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Burstow, G.P. and G.A. Holleyman (1957) Late Bronze Age Settlement on Itford Hill, Sussex, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 23: 167212. Carrithers, M., S. Collins and S. Lukes, eds (1985) The Category of the Person. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

401

Cunliffe, B. (1970) A Bronze Age Settlement at Chalton, Hampshire (Site 78), Antiquaries Journal 50: 113. Cunliffe, B. (1991) Iron Age Communities in Britain. London: Routledge. Deetz, J. (1968) The Inference of Residence and Descent Rules from Archaeological Data, in L. Binford and S. Binford (eds) New Perspectives in Archaeology, pp. 418. Aldine: New Mexico University Press. Drewett, P. (1982) Later Bronze Age Downland Economy and Excavations at Black Patch, East Sussex, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 48: 32140. Ferme, M. (2001) The Underneath of Things. Berkeley: University of California Press. Fontijn, D. (2002) Sacricial Landscapes: Cultural Biographies of Persons, Objects and Natural Places in the Bronze Age of the Southern Netherlands. Leiden: University of Leiden Press. Fortes, M. (1945/1969) The Dynamics of Clanship among the Tallensi. Oosterhout: Anthropological Publications. Fortes, M. (1949/1967) The Web of Kingship among the Tallensi. Oosterhout: Anthropological Publications. Fortes, M. (1983) Oedipus and Job in West African Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fortes, M. (1987) Religion, Morality and the Person. Essays on Tallensi Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fowler, C. (2004) The Archaeology of Personhood. London: Routledge. Fowler, H.W. and F.G. Fowler (1952) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gabrilopoulos, N. (1995) Ethnoarchaeology of the Tallensi Compound, Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Calgary. Gell, A. (1998) Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Goodall, R. (2007) Whats in a Shrine Anyway? Gender, Prohibition and Shrines: A West African Case Study, Unpublished BA Dissertation, University of Manchester. Gould, R. (1980) Living Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hallam, E. and J. Hockey (2001) Death, Memory and Material Culture. Oxford: Berg. Hill, J.N. (1972) A Prehistoric Community in Eastern Arizona, in M.P. Leone (ed.) Contemporary Archaeology: A Guide to Theory and Contributions, pp. 32032. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Hodder, I. (1982) The Present Past. London: Batsford. Horton, R. (1983) Social Psychologies: African and Western, in M. Fortes (ed.) Oedipus and Job in West African Religion, pp. 4189. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hoskins, J. (2006) Agency, Biography and Objects, in C. Tilley, W. Keane, S. Kchler, M. Rowlands and P. Spyer (eds) Handbook of Material Culture, pp. 7484. London: Sage. Insoll, T. (2004) Archaeology, Ritual, Religion. London: Routledge. Insoll, T. (2006) Shrine Franchising and the Neolithic in the British Isles: Some Observations based upon the Tallensi, Northern Ghana, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 16: 22338.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

402

Journal of Social Archaeology 8(3) Insoll, T. (2007a) Introduction: Conguring Identities in Archaeology, in T. Insoll (ed.) The Archaeology of Identities. A Reader, pp. 118. Abingdon: Routledge. Insoll, T. (2007b) Archaeology. The Conceptual Challenge. London: Duckworth. Insoll, T. (2007c) Natural or Human Spaces? Tallensi Sacred Groves and Shrines and their Potential Implications for Aspects of Northern European Prehistory and Phenomenological Interpretation, Norwegian Archaeological Review 40: 13858. Insoll, T. (in preparation a) Meyer Fortes, Sex and Material Culture. The Published Image and the Unpublished Resource. Insoll, T. (in preparation b) Pots and Earth Cults. The Context and Materiality of Ceramics in Northern Ghana and their Interpretive Implications. Insoll, T., B. Kankpeyeng and R. MacLean (2004) An Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Tong Hills, and Garu Area, Upper East Region, and Nakpanduri, Northern Region, Ghana, Nyame Akuma 62: 2533. Insoll, T., B. Kankpeyeng and R. MacLean (2005) Excavations and Surveys in the Tongo Hills, Upper East Region, Ghana. July 2005. Fieldwork Report, Nyame Akuma 64: 1623. Insoll, T., B. Kankpeyeng and R. MacLean (2007) Excavations and Surveys in the Tongo Hills, Upper East Region, Ghana. July 2006. A Preliminary Fieldwork Report, Nyame Akuma 67: 4459. Insoll, T., B. Kankpeyeng and R. MacLean (in press) The Archaeology of Shrines among the Tallensi of Northern Ghana: Materiality and Interpretative Relevance, in A. Dawson and P. Shinnie (eds) Shrines in African Societies. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. Johnston, R. (2001) Breaking New Ground: Land Tenure and Fieldstone Clearance during the Bronze Age, in J. Brck (ed.) Bronze Age Landscapes. Tradition and Transformation, pp. 99109. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Kent, S., ed. (1998) Gender in African Prehistory. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira. Kuba, R. and C. Lentz (2002) Arrows and Earth Shrines: Towards a History of Dagara Expansion in Southern Burkina Faso, Journal of African History 43: 377406. Lentz, C. (2000) Of Hunters, Goats and Earth-Shrines: Settlement Histories and the Politics of Oral Tradition in Northern Ghana, History in Africa 27: 193214. Lentz, C. and H.-J. Sturm (2001) Of Trees and Earth Shrines: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Settlement Histories in the West African Savanna, History in Africa 28: 13968. McIntosh, R.J. (1974) Archaeology and Mud Wall Decay in a West African Village, World Archaeology 6: 15471. Naden, T. (1988) The Gur Languages, in M.E. Kropp Dakubu (ed.) The Languages of Ghana, pp. 1249. London: Kegan Paul. Nowakowski, J. (2001) Leaving Home in the Cornish Bronze Age: Insights into Planned Abandonment Processes, in J. Brck (ed.) Bronze Age Landscapes. Tradition and Transformation, pp. 13947. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Oestigaard, T. (2000) The Deceaseds Life Cycle Rituals in Nepal. BAR S853. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. Ogundiran, A. (2002) Of Small Things Remembered: Beads, Cowries, and Cultural Translations of the Atlantic Experience in Yorubaland, The International Journal of African Historical Studies 35: 42757.

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008

Insoll

Negotiating the archaeology of destiny

403

Otto, R. (1950) The Idea of the Holy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Parish, J. (1999) The Dynamics of Witchcraft and Indigenous Shrines among the Akan, Africa 69: 42647. Parker, J. (2004) Witchcraft, Anti-Witchcraft and Trans-Regional Ritual Innovation in Early Colonial Ghana: Sakrabundi and Aberewa, 18891910, Journal of African History 45: 393420. Parker Pearson, M. and Ramilisonina (1998) Stonehenge for the Ancestors: The Stones Pass on the Message, Antiquity 72: 30826. Rowlands, M.J. (1980) Kinship. Alliance and Exchange in the European Bronze Age, in J. Barrett and R. Bradley (eds) The British Later Bronze Age, pp. 1555. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. Shaw, R. (1997) Production of Witchcraft, Witchcraft as Production: Memory, Modernity, and the Slave Trade in Sierra Leone, American Ethnologist 24: 85676. Smith, F.T. (1989) Earth, Vessels, and Harmony among the Gurensi, African Arts 22: 6065, 103. Sow, I. (1980) Anthropological Structures of Madness in Black Africa. New York: International Universities Press. Stahl, A. (in press a) The Slave Trade as Practice and Memory. What are the Issues for Archaeologists?, in C.M. Cameron (ed.) Invisible Citizens: Captives and their Consequences. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Stahl, A. (in press b) Dogs, Pythons, Pots and Beads: The Dynamics of Shrines and Sacricial Practices in Banda, in B. Mills and W. Walker (eds) Memory Work: The Materiality of Depositional Practice. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Strathern, A. and M. Lambek (1998) Introduction. Embodying Sociality: AfricanistMelanesianist Comparisons, in M. Lambek and A. Strathern (eds) Bodies and Persons, pp. 125. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thomas, J. (2006/2007) The Trouble with Material Culture, Journal of Iberian Archaeology 9/10: 1123. Tilley, C. (2006) Objectication, in C. Tilley, W. Keane, S. Kchler, M. Rowlands and P. Spyer (eds) Handbook of Material Culture, pp. 6073. London: Sage. Verdon, M. (1984) Tallensi Kinship or the Rationalism of British Anthropology, Journal of Anthropological Research 40: 10920. Whitley, J. (2002) Too Many Ancestors, Antiquity 76: 11926. Wylie, A. (1985) The Reaction against Analogy, Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 8: 63111. Wymer, J. and N. Brown (1995) Excavations at North Shoebury: Settlement and Economy in South-East Essex, 1500 BCAD 1500. Chelmsford: Essex County Council.

TIMOTHY INSOLL is Professor of Archaeology and Head of Department at the University of Manchester. He has been working in Northern Ghana since 2004 and has previously completed eldwork in Mali, Burkina Faso, India, and Bahrain. [email: tim.insoll@manchester.ac.uk]

Downloaded from http://jsa.sagepub.com by Malena Vazquez on October 8, 2008