Document Type





Ghana, Cultural resource management, Economic development, Antiquities trade, Forts and castles, Koma terracottas, USAID




Archaeological Anthropology


Ghana's past is being destroyed at a rapid rate. Although the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board has in some instances successfully intervened to stop the illicit trading of antiquities, the destruction of archaeological sites as a consequence of development over the past two decades has been staggering and the pace is accelerating. The potential of the legislation that established the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and empowered it to manage and preserve the country's archaeological past has not been realized. The lack of political action, limited relevant public education, insufficient funding, and the poverty of the majority of the Ghanaian populace have allowed for the widespread destruction of both sites and historic buildings. Conspicuously, both the absence of integrated development planning by the Ghanaian government and the inability of development partners (both foreign and domestic) to recognize the potential value of cultural resources have contributed significantly to the continued loss of the archaeological record. While the antiquities trade is a continuing threat to Ghana's cultural resources, it is, in fact, tourism and economic development that pose the major menace to the country's archaeological past. This article reviews the history of cultural resource management in Ghana, including both traditional attitudes toward preservation and current legislation. Case studies are used to illustrate the problems faced.

Additional Information

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in African Archaeological Review. All rights reserved to the authors. The final publication is available at

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.