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The Archaeological Legacy of Prof Thurston Shaw in West Africa and Krobo Archaeology in Ghana Introduction by Chris Wagner Life of Thurston Shaw and Celebrations.

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Presentation on theme: "The Archaeological Legacy of Prof Thurston Shaw in West Africa and Krobo Archaeology in Ghana Introduction by Chris Wagner Life of Thurston Shaw and Celebrations."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Archaeological Legacy of Prof Thurston Shaw in West Africa and Krobo Archaeology in Ghana Introduction by Chris Wagner Life of Thurston Shaw and Celebrations Last May in Cambridge by Peter Woodsford Reminiscences and Letters of her Father by Rosanne Gough Paper Presented at Celebrations by William Narteh Gblerkpor on Krobo Archaeology in Ghana (if time permits, otherwise later talk) U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

2 Introduction-Background to Talks Long Interest in West Africa, including 3 years working as an engineer in northern Nigeria ( ) and several short work visits to Ghana- southern Ghana special atmosphere. Heard vaguely of Prof Thurston Shaw and also knew Rosanne Provided accommodation during Celebrations for William Narteh Gblerkpor, a Ghanaian PhD, who gave a Presentation on Krobo Archaeology on the 1 st Day. Very pleasant stay and in many discussions with him we learnt a little about Krobo culture-never heard of it before yet one project I was working on in southern Ghana (Dawhenya Irrigation) was only 10 km from Krobo Mountain Dawhenya- 300 ha of rice irrigation and two main challenges, cooperative and imported rice Enormous respect for Prof Shaw shown at the Celebrations by Nigerian and Ghana Government Officials and particularly the Igbo paramount chiefs. U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

3 Thurstan Shaw ( ) A Brief Biography U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

4 There are several biographies and obituaries of Thurstan Shaw on the WWW: – – Daily Telegraph Obituary Daily Telegraph Obituary – The Times Obiturary The Times Obiturary I am using quotes from the Appreciation by Susan Keech McIntosh from the Quarterly journal ‘Antiquity’ for the extracts below: – Thurstan Shaw (24 June 1914 – 8 March 2013) U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

5 ‘The Elephant has fallen the Elephant cannot rise up. The Iroko tree has fallen. Roll the drums out, let the trumpets sound. Let the streets of Cambridge and the campus of University of Ibadan and indeed the whole community of World Archaeology hear, Professor Thurstan Shaw, the founding Head of Department of Archaeology at University of Ibadan, has answered the call of the ancestors and he has joined the ancestors.’ Caleb Adebayo Folorunso, Professor of Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Ibadan "Erin wooooooo Erin ko le dide." U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

6 Archaeology and Heritage in West Africa: Building links and capacity through Thurstan Shaw’s legacy A series of events in memory of the late Professor Thurstan Shaw, Cambridge 8th to 11th May 2014 Show film Celebration of Shaw’s Life and Legacy U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

7 Thurstan Shaw was the last surviving member of a generation of pioneering archaeologists who began their careers in the British colonies in Africa and laid a foundation for the scientific study of the African past. Born in 1914 in Plymouth, and educated in Tiverton, Devon, Shaw was the son of an Anglican minister. Boyhood encounters with African clergymen who visited his father sparked his initial interest in Africa. Shaw went up to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1933, three years after he had begun participating in archaeological excavations at Hembury Fort under the direction of Dorothy Liddell, from whom he learned modern excavation techniques alongside Mary Nicol (later, Leakey). … He graduating in 1936 with a first-class degree in Archaeology and Anthropology. Early Years U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

8 He was posted from 1937–1944 to Achimota College, Gold Coast Colony (later, Ghana) After his wife was invalided home in 1944, Shaw returned to Cambridge, where he worked at the Institute of Education for 15 years. From 1960–1974, he taught at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. In both places, Shaw's approach to building archaeological infrastructure was straightforward and remarkably effective: meticulous excavation and recording to establish key sites and sequences, public outreach through lectures and publications, and conscientious attention to building institutional and intellectual capacity. Thurstan Shaw’s Career U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

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11 His return to teaching in Africa at the University of Ibadan was preceded by an invitation to excavate at Igbo Ukwu in south-eastern Nigeria. The stunning finds in 1959–60 included a variety of bronzes of 'Fabergé-like virtuosity' and a burial adorned with over glass and carnelian beads and a copper crown. Dated to the end of the first millennium AD, the Igbo Ukwu bronzework and pottery showed few stylistic similarities to the later Ife and Benin material. The tradition's origins and development remain obscure. Shaw was keenly aware of the extraordinary nature of these discoveries and took great care to document the excavations and the primary data in a two-volume monograph with over 500 plates published in A shorter, general account of the excavations (Unearthing Igbo Ukwu) followed in 1977, which brought the discoveries to a wider readership. Igbo Ukwu U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

12 Ukwu Ukwu – ‘These bronze artifacts had been made by Igbo Ukwu's ancient residents from local copper and other materials. They have been confirmed as the first people in West Africa to work copper and its alloys, centuries before other cultures. The bronzes are ranked among the most technically accomplished and inventive castings ever made and as a collection they stand alone without parallel in any part of the world’ A TV programme about the Igbo Ukwu Museum made two weeks after the death of Thurstan Shaw can be viewed here.here Overturned beliefs that external sources must have been involved/responsible for local arts/craftmanship. The Significance of Igbo Ukwu U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

13 Bronze pendants from Igbo Ukwu, now at the British Museum U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

14 Bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, 9th century, Igbo-Ukwu U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

15 His efforts led to the establishment of Departments of Archaeology at both Legon and Ibadan, and he created the West African Archaeological Newsletter (1964–70), and its successor, the West African Journal of Archaeology. Shaw retired to Cambridge in 1974, but remained active in publishing and professional service. He was an outspoken opponent of apartheid and an active participant in the first World Archaeological Congress in He received the Gold Medal of the Society of Antiquaries in 1990 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in Throughout his retirement, he continued to welcome friends and colleagues to his home outside Cambridge and maintained a remarkable network of relationships. Lasting Legacy U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

16 University Professor and Nigerian tribal chief. Thurstan Shaw at 75, during his birthday celebrations in Ibadan during which he was honoured with a traditional tribal chief's title, Onuna Ekwulu Nri. U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014

17 Over to Thurstan Shaw’s daughter - Yaa Bronia Rosanne Gough U3AC Africa Forum - 7th November 2014


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