KORMANTSE

THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

 



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Old Town Accompong

The site of Old Accompong with its tropical karst and unique vegetation of the Cockpit country is said to have seen wars in which the Maroons set an unprecedented example to the world by successfully engaging the seemingly invincible British army to a military stalemate. The main archaeological sites in the neighborhood of Accompong (Agorsah 1990) include Kindah, interpreted to mean `We are a family' said to have been the camp for holding consultations between Maroon military wing leaders during their encounter with the British forces, Kodjo's Burial Ground located in a fairly level ground about half a kilometer down a rugged slope north-eastward from Kindah, Big Ground Grass site, an open area to the east of Kodjo's burial ground, the Peace Cave site also called Ambush, which sits at the eastern edge of the Accompong Maroon lands. The cave was used as a hideout by the Maroons because it overlooked their opponent's military camp in the colonial plantations to the east. The final battles of the British-Maroon wars before the Peace Treaty of 1739,took place in the valley below in the site referred to as Petty River Bottom.

Map of Accompong (Agorsah 1994)

Although three main stratigraphic levels were identified, only one clear cultural level was observed and it consisted mainly of 18th and 19th century material such as local earthenware, a glass bead (probably imported), a copper bracelet, fragments of green glass bottles, and a few musket balls. Three cowrie shells were also recovered and identified as West African where they were used as currency from ancient times. Cyprae moneta, as it is scientifically known, is Indian Ocean Mollusca and provides evidence of West African connection. Armstrong (1991) has also reported about a dozen cowrie shell finds of West African origin from excavations at the site of Seville, the first Spanish settlement in the Jamaica, located in the parish of St. Ann. Because indigenous shell currencies were also persistent in other parts of the Americas during the early centuries of European interaction, its appearance in later Maroon contexts suggests the similar importance of independent economic systems of trade, exchange, and monetary circulation in Jamaica.

 

Col. Martin Luther Wright, Accompong Speaks at the UWI, Mona Campus (1990)

Cowry shell, bead, metal button from Old Accompong, Jamaica

(Agorsah 1994)