Prehistoric trade routes revealed through finds of ancient figures

First biological analysis of ancient terracotta figurines found at Yikpabongo in Northern Ghana’s Koma Land between 2010-2011 revealed that they were created by an unknown African civilisation. The figurines depict ancestral figures and animals.

Ancient figurine found in Ghana (by University of Manchester)

The figurines represent Prehistoric African art depicting clothing, hairstyles and weapons favoured by the ancient culture which made them. Some of the figurines contain hollow cavities, which the researchers believe substances were poured into during these rituals. So far hundreds of figurines were excavated, attesting to a high level of ritual activity at the site. Archaeologists were also able to recover ancient DNA from inside three of the figurines using forensic-style swabs and a magnetic extraction method, despite the fact that high temperatures, like the ones in Sub-Saharan Africa, typically accelerate DNA damage. The analysis revealed use of exotic plants such as banana and pine in the rituals. These are not native to Ghana and were possibly imported via trade with North Africa.

(after PhysOrg & University of Manchester)

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