Oil palm is an integral part of modern subsistence economies in West Africa, and archaeological evidence suggests that it also played an important role in antiquity. Steep increases in oil palm pollen during the mid- to late Holocene have been observed in the paleoenvironmental record, which some have argued may represent cultivation activities. Charred plant macroremains from archaeological sites provide an alternate means by which to examine the relationship between people and oil palm. The Late Stone Age Kintampo Tradition is associated with early domesticates alongside continued use of wild resources, leading scholars to suggest that they occupy the middle ground between foraging and farming. This paper evaluates the relationship between Kintampo and oil palm using archaeological plant remains from two sites (K6 and the B-sites) in central Ghana. Oil palm use at both sites over time indicates similar patterns of landscape utilization that may represent arboriculture. These activities can be viewed as the performance of domesticatory relationships on the landscape, which may be a more fruitful lens through which to characterize Kintampo subsistence practices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes