Prior to the Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project, no archaeological research has been conducted. For the reason, Christiansborg Castle’s continued occupation as Ghana’s seat of government, and the fact that some government employees continue to work there.
However, in 1960, the Public Works Department was engaged upon the reconstruction of the Cabinet Secretariat building and discovered English clay and local smoking pipes, a small decorated gold-dust pot, an elaborate silver horn ornament, State swords, a groundnut, European knives, local and European bead necklaces. These findings are currently housed in the National Museum.
Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project
In 2014, the Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project was given permission to begin archaeological investigations at the site. To date, we have excavated an extensive pre-colonial settlement. This includes the foundations of houses and what is tentatively thought to be a kitchen since it contains three stones (for balancing a cooking pot) and charcoal, in keeping with local cooking area design. We have also retrieved a large collection of local and foreign manufactured objects obtained through the transatlantic trade. We have identified what are commonly known as “African trade beads” that were produced in other parts of Africa, as well as Europe, including Italy and Holland. Ceramics include Chinese and European ceramics (Wedgewood and Royal Doulton), alongside local pottery. An African smoking pipe and numerous Dutch, English, German and Danish clay smoking pipes were recovered from the site. European glassware ranges from every day usage to refined, luxury ware. There are a number of other small finds including a slate fragment, typically used for writing, as well as faunal remains, seeds, metals, stone, daub, cowrie and other shells. With the assistance of local fishermen, we even excavated a canon immersed in sand that had fallen from the castle above down on to the beach below! Under the castle, we also discovered the entrance to an underground tunnel that led to the nearby Richter House, formerly owned by a successful ‘mulatto’ Danish-Ga trader. The excavated artefact collection will contribute to the plans to develop the castle into a museum.