John Ako Okoro, B.A. M.Phil, ABD
Department of Archaeology,
University of Ghana, Legon, Accra
Mr. Ako is the KARP Archaeological Consultant on Slave routes, field laboratory local artifact identification and analysis). Ako obtained the M Phil African Archaeology, University of Ghana, Legon in 1989 and the BA History & Archaeology, University of Ghana, Legon, (UG) in 1983 after which he was appointments Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Ghana in 2001. Ako was advanced to as doctoral candidate (ABD), (Anthropology) at the University of Toronto, Canada in 2008.While working on hi s dissertation, he continued to teach in the Archaeology Department, Legon and joined KARP in 2009 as a Consultant with special responsibility for identifying and tracing the slave routes.
Mr. Okoro’s research interest include “Slavery and the Slave Trade”- Slave raids, wars, markets, routes, villages, plantations, warehouses, transit camps and slave baths, resistance and adaptation to enslavement, indigenous slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade as well as “African Oral Traditions” such as oral tradition as history, the written word and the spoken word, oral tradition and archival records, issues of gender and age in African oral tradition, oral tradition and the history of slavery in Africa and “African History to the end of Colonization” early civilizations, states, towns and villages, metalworking societies in Africa including interactions and contacts between centralized and non-centralized polities, the rise and fall of African cultures, local and long distance trading, the colonial experience in Africa. Mr. Okoro brings his knowledge of the slave routes and the archaeological material of the interior slave route areas to the Kormantse project and will help in artifact identification and characterization as well as source of Kormantse artifacts and their ethnic group connections.
Ako has considerable field experience having worked with the project Director on the Volta Basin Archaeological Project (VBARP) from 1983-1987. The Gambaga Iron Smelting Research project directed 1998 by Ako was Akos’s M. Phil. Thesis Field Research Project. Ako has had research experience as Field Director working with leading Archeologists as Emeritus Professor Merrick Posnansky, UCLA and Emeritus Maxine Kleindienst, University of Toronto, Canada and was also Assistant Field Director on the Elmina Historical Archaeology Research Project directed by Professor C. R. DeCorse, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University, New York, U. S. A). Ako has also independently conducted many field projects in the Akwapim Hills of Ghana as well as in the interior of Ghana and is an authority on the colonial slave routes in Ghana. Archaeological field projects directed and conducted by Ako between 2001 and 2004 include the Bui Hydro Electric project inundation zone in Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions of Ghana making historical, cultural and archaeological impact assessment; the Salaga Research Project, Northern Region of Ghana; the Kasana Research Project, (UNESCO Slave Route Project, Upper West Region of Ghana; the Saakpuli Research Project, (UNESCO Slave Route Project; Ako currently runs and independent Cultural tourist project having left from the University of Ghana since 2012.
Ako has published several articles on the Slavery and Slave Trade in Ghana including: Blacksmithing Rituals and Traditions in Northern Ghana. In Ancient Images and Ancient Thoughts: Archaeology of Ideology. Eds. A Sean Goldsmith, Sandra Garvie, David Selin, and Smith J.: 273-278. University of Calgary. (1992); Changing Perspectives in Traditional Iron Production in West Africa. In: The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns. Eds. Thurstan Shaw, Paul Sinclair, Bassey Andah and Alex Okpoko: 449-467. London: Rutledge (1995); Some Archaeological indications on the slave markets and the baobab trees of Saakpuli, Northern Ghana, Nyame akuma, 58:7-12 (2002); Preserving the memory of the Slave Routes. The Ghanaian Times. October 30:6. Accra: New Times Corporation, Ghana (2003).