There is something very intimate about sitting in a grave with a skeleton, gently brushing soil off bones, beads, and other burial goods. The bones told us that this was a young man, probably around 19 or 20 years old at the time of his death. They did not provide any clues to the cause of his death. However, the grave goods associated with this young man told us a great deal about the connections between the people of this village and the larger world in the earliest days of the settlement. The materials in the grave all date to around 1825—the burial is the earliest evidence of occupation we have for this village. Buried with the man were beads from Venice and Bohemia (today the western part of the Czech Republic), a Dutch clay smoking pipe, and British sheet brass that had been hammered by an Akan craftsman into a vessel called a forowa, used to hold personal items. The markers of status and respect accorded this young man in his burial were global goods from various parts of Europe. This burial alone makes it clear just how integrated the people of this village were into the global economy, even in the earliest days of Dominase’s settlement. These goods were common enough, and had been around for long enough, to be incorporated into their lifeways such that they made sense as burial goods. This burial leaves little doubt that those who settled these villages were at least partially motivated by accessing this global trade, as well as integrating into the regional political economy.
I admit that I didn’t read the whole thing (looks to be 7 pages long, if it’s all available), but thought I’d pass it along anyhow.