Current Perspectives in the Archaeology of Ghana
354 Pages
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Current Perspectives in the Archaeology of Ghana


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Learn more
354 Pages


This collection of essays on archaeology and heritage studies is authored by local and expatriate scholars who are either past or current practitioners in archaeological work in Ghana. They are from Ghana, UK, US and Canada. The subject matter covered includes the history and evolution of the discipline in Ghana; the method and theory or 'how to do it' in archaeology, field research reports, and syntheses on findings from past and recent investigations. The eclectic or multidisciplinary strategy has been the research vogue in Ghanaian archaeology recently, and this is reflected in the various chapters. The essays engage with current theoretical trends in global archaeology and also focus on the role and status of archaeology as a discipline in Ghanaian society today. Archaeology is a relatively 'novel' subject to many in Ghana. This Reader will, therefore, be a huge asset to local students and experts alike. Foreign scholars will also find it very useful.



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Published 29 December 2014
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EAN13 9789988860264
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in the
of Ghana
James Anquandah
Benjamin Kankpeyeng
Wazi Apoh
archaeology-interior.indd i 09/07/14 14.57H

First published in Ghana 2014 for THE UNIVERSITY OF GHANA
by Sub-Saharan Publishers
P.O.Box 358
© University of Ghana, 2014
P.O.Box LG 25
Legon- Accra
Tel: +233-302-500381
ISBN: 978-9988-647-98-8978-9988-8602-3-3
Editorial Board:
Prof.(Emerita) Mary Esther Dakubu
Prof. Ama de-Graft Aikins
Prof. Kwadwo Ansah Koram
Prof. C. Charles Mate-Kole
Social Sciences Series Editor:
Prof. Ama de-Graft Aikins
Copyright Notice
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the University
of Ghana or the publishers.
All Rights Reserved.Table of Contents
List of Tables v
List of Figures v
List of Maps ix
Biographical Information on Authors xi
Foreword xvi
Chapter 1: Archaeology of Ghana: An Introduction
James Anquandah, Benjamin Kankpeyeng & Wazi Apoh 1
Chapter 2: Excavations at an Earthwork Site at Asaman and Their
Implications for the Archaeology of the Forest Areas of
Southern Ghana
James Boachie-Ansah 18
Chapter 3: Resilient Villagers: Eight Centuries of Continuity and
Change in Banda Village Life
Ann Stahl & Amanda L.Logan 45
Chapter 4:Combining Geo-Historical Information with GIS Techniques:
An Example of the Historical Slave Route Heritage in Ghana.
Samuel Kwesi Osei 65
Chapter 5: Maritime Archaeology in Ghana
Gregory D. Cook 89
Chapter 6: Gender in Archaeology: A Ghanaian Perspective
Gertrude A.M. Eyifa-Dzidzienyo & Benjamin Kankpeyeng 110
Chapter 7: Anthropological Examination of Yeji Salt Trade and its
Linguistic Repertoire
David Akwesi Mensah Abrampah 123
Chapter 8:Historical Archaeology: Methods, Meanings, and Ambiguities
Christopher R. Decorse 139
archaeology-interior.indd iii 09/07/14 14.57Table of Contents
Chapter 9: Embroideries of Imperialism: An Archaeo-Historical
Overview of Akwamu, Asante, German and British Imperial
Hegemonies at Kpando, Ghana. 164
Wazi Apoh
Chapter 10: An Approach to Interpretation and Presentation of Tangible
Cultural Heritage:The Case of Christiansborg and Fort Metal
Cross in Ghana 182
Henry Nii-Adziri Wellington & Fritz Bveridge
Chapter 11:The Quest for Meaning in African Artistic Representations:
A Case Study of Materials from Archaeological Contexts in
Ghana 204
James Anquandah
Chapter 12: A Study of the Akan and Ewe Kente Weaving Traditions:
Implications for the Establishment of a Kente Museum
in Ghana. 222
Kennedy Atsutse & Wazi Apoh
Chapter 13:The Archaeology of Rituals and Religions in Northern
Ghana 244
Tim Insoll & Benjamin Kankpeyeng
Chapter 14:Bringing Archaeology to the People: Towards a Viable
Public Archaeology in Ghana 264
Kodzo Gavua & Kofi Nutor
Chapter 15: Cultural Resource Management Archaeology in Ghana 276
Samuel Nkumbaan & William Gblerkpor
Chapter 16: The Role of Museums in Education:The Case of the
Museum of Archaeology, University of Ghana 293
Gertrude A.M Aba Eyifa-Dzidzienyo
archaeology-interior.indd iv 09/07/14 14.57Chapter 17: Archaeology and Sociopolitical Engagements in Ghana:
Experiences from the Krobo Mountain Archaeological
Project 312
William Gblerkpor & Samuel Nkumbaan
List of Tables
Table 4.1: The historic Slave Route and cultural resource inventory tool
box and some GIS common representations. Adopted and
modifi ed from Source: Osei, (2006). 80-81
Table 5. 1: Artifact Types and Counts Recovered from the Elmina
Wreck. 99
Table 5.2: Elmina Wreck Bead Assemblage 100
Table 7.1: salt-related proverbs 127
Table 10.1: Types / quantum of cultural materials of local origin
recovered from Units 1 and 2. 194
Table 10.2: Types / quantum of cultural materials of external origins
recovered from Units 1 and 2. 192
Table 14. 1: Artifact assemblage from Dzake-Peki 266
Table 16.1: Comparison of learning in schools and museums
(from Singh n.d. :74) 300
Table 16. 2: Guided tours organised by schools to the Museum of
Archaeology, University of Ghana 305
archaeology-interior.indd v 09/07/14 14.57List of Figures
Fig.2.1: Plan of the 2009 Excavations 21
Fig.2.2: Plan of the 2010 Excavations 21
Fig.2.3: Section of north wall of Trench 24
Fig.2.4: Section of north wall of Trench 2 24
Fig.2.5: The Trench excavated in 2010 25
Fig.2.6: Stratigraphy of the Trench excavated in 2010 27
Fig.2.7: Jar forms of Asaman pottery 30
Fig.2.8: Jar forms of Asaman pottery 30
Fig.2.9: Bowl forms of Asaman pottery 31
Fig.3.1: Sites in the Banda area discussed in the text 47
Fig. 3.2 Shrine cluster consisting of a copper alloy double 56
fi gurine, an iron bangle, a quartz pebble, iron blades
and a bone fragment. The cluster was embedded in
a metal-working. Scale in cm.
Fig 3.3: Summary of continuities and discontinuities 59
from the 13th to 20th centuries in the Banda area.
Fig.4.1: Ghana: Coastal area showing forts and castles 68
(yellow points) in relation to Geography. Source:
SRTM data Available at (
SELECTION/listImages.asp) Accessed 10/04/2013;
ESRI ArcGIS Online World Oceans data.
Cartography byS.K.Osei.
Fig. 4.2: Ghana: Historic Slave Routes, Slave Markets, Forts 72
and Castles, as well as Ecological Zones overlayed
on Administrative Regions. Cartography, by Samuel
Kwesi Osei
Fig. 4.3: Akan States / Akan area in relation to Slave network 73
in Ghana. Data Source: Anquandah, (2013), Daaku
(1970), SRTM data for Ghana.
archaeology-interior.indd vi 09/07/14 14.57List of Figures
Fig.4.4: Vector point data: In the view, a map of Ghana is 82
examined at a scale of 1: 2,000,000. A hyperlink
shows a display playback of a DVD video of Elmina
castle and the slave trade, and an attribute table
linked to themap. Data Source: Ministry of Tourism,
Ghana; Elmina Castle.
Fig.4.5: Vector point data: In the view, a map of Ghanais 82
examined at a scale of 1:2,000,000. GIS
linksattributes of the nine selected points (forts and castlesto
their respective map features. Forts and castles
selected by attributes are indicated in blue in both
table and map in the view. Data Source: Ministry of
Tourism, Ghana.
Fig.5.1: The survey setup during 2003 fi eld work. Theauthor 96
is in front of the desktop computer running thesonar
software, with the sonar “fi sh” by his right hand and
GPS antennae behind him. Photograph by Michael
Fig.5.2: The side scan sonar record for anomaly 12.1.The 96
horizontal line near the top of the image is the track
of the sensor as it was towed behind the canoe
The diamond-shaped image below the track line
indicates an anomalous feature on the seafl oor,
which divers verifi ed to be the Elmina Wreck. Image
by G. Cook.
Fig.5.3: Diving on the Elmina Wreck Site. Pictured include 97
Andrew Pietruszka, Jason Raupp, and Barnabus
Akon. Note the surface air supply or “hookah” unit
beside the canoe. Photograph by G. Cook.
Fig.5.4: Plan of the Elmina Wreck after the 2005 season. 98
Features include iron cannon, stacks of nested
basins, rolls of lead sheating, barrel hoops and piles
of manillas. Map by G. Cook.
Fig.5.5: The basin assemblage from the 2005 Elmina Wreck 102
investigations. Numbers represent types assigned
by Hamann(2007:138-144) Photograph nu Nicole
archaeology-interior.indd vii 09/07/14 14.57List of Figures
Fig.10.1: Showing the development of Christiansborg, 187
17th, 18th and 19th centuries Courtesy Albert van
Dantzig in his book: “Forts and Castles of Ghana”
(1980; 30)
Fig.10.2: View of North side of the Osu Castle 188
Fig.10.3: View of the historic courtyard of X'borg Castle 188
Fig.10.4: View of Christiansborg, showing the promontory, 190
the fortifi cation with its curtain walls, bastions,and
Flag-tower, fl ying the oversize Danish Flag,
Dannenbrog. Courtesy Barbot (1682) in “Trade
Castles and Forts of West Africa” (1963 plate 42 a)
Fig.10.5: View of Christiansborg from the sea showingthe 190
Watch Tower Provesteen, Belltower inside the
fort, the Flagtower and the fortifi cation on
the promontory. Courtesy Churchill’s Voyages
(Christiansborg at around 1700) in Thorkild
Hansen’s “Coast of Slaves” (1967: 49)
Fig.10.6: Fort Metal Cross, circa 1709 (Artist unknown). 192
Source: Public Records offi ce, London.
Fig.12.1: tugbe fi a 225
Fig.12.2: haliwoe 225
Fig.12.3: fi awo yome 225
Fig.12.4: Model of Asasetoma of the Bonwire weavers 228
Fig.12.5: Asasia cloth 228
Fig.12.6: The Limann pattern 236
Fig.12.7: The Addo Kuffuor pattern 236
Fig.13.1: The density of ceramics recorded in unit A in the 251
Nyoo shrine.
Fig.13.2: The standing stones and associated pots in unit B 253
in the Nyoo shrine.
Fig.13.3: Figurines in-situ, mound YK10-3/YK 11 256
Fig.14.1a: Liquor rim fragments – with applied, 267
down-tooled lips
archaeology-interior.indd viii 09/07/14 14.57List of Figures
Fig.14.1b: Liquor base fragments – with shallow concave and 267
square rounded corners
Fig.14. 2: Visitation of the Dente-ga site by community elders 270
Fig.16.1: Excavated objects depicting Indigenous and 302
European Contacts.
Fig.16.2: Objects depicting Human Evolution. 302
Fig.16.3: Short and simple object labels with a picture 303
contextualizing the use of an iron anklet.
Fig.16.4: A visitor on a self-tour of the museum 304
Fig.16.5: Students enjoying the museum’s interactive 304
Fig.16.6: Arrival of different groups of students and their 305
teachers for a guided museum tour.
Fig.16.7: Students and their teachers listening to a talk prior 307
to the guided tour of the museum
Fig.16. 8: Students seated at the Department’s Seminar room 307
listening to a talk prior a museum guided tour
Fig. 16.9: A smaller group waiting to enter the museum 308
Fig. 16.10: Students on a guided tour of the museum 308
Fig.17.1: Samples of ongoing Archaeological Research and 316
Heritage Studies Projects in Ghana
Fig.17.2: A group photograph showing representatives 322
of stakeholders drawn from various local and
international institutions to discuss the formation of
Ghana Heritage Council, 2006
Fig.17.3: Co-Director of KMAP, Kodzo Gavua briefi ng a 326
group of Archaeology students of the University of
Ghana during the 2009 fi eld school at the Krobo
Mountain site.
Fig.17.4: A section of visitors at a Photo Exhibition on 327
K-MAP organized at the 2009 AnnualKloyosikplemi
Festival of the Yilo Krobo Traditional Area held at
the base of the Krobo Mountain Site
archaeology-interior.indd ix 09/07/14 14.57List of Maps
Map 2.1: Map showing earthwork sites at Brakwa 18
Map 3.1: Sites in the Banda area discussed in the text 46
Map 4.1: Coastal areas showing forts and castles 67
Map 4.2: Ghana: Historic Slave Routes 71
Map 4.3: Ghana: Akan States 72
Map 4.4: Vector point data 81
Map 4.5: V
Map 5. 1.Map of Ghana showing early coastal trading locations x
including Elmina, Shama and Axim. Map by G. Cook. 94
Map 5.2. Survey areas offshore of Elmina. Soundings are in metres. 94
Map 7.1: Map of Yeji Showing the Volta River salt trade during the 18th
century 124
Map 9.1 Maps showing the boundaries of German Togoland, British
Togoland and French Togoland 171
Map 10.1: Map showing Dixcove 191
Map 12.1: Map of Agotime-Kpetoe in the Volta Region of Ghana 224
Map 12.2: Map of Bonwire in the Ashanti Region of Ghana 225
Map 13.1: Locations of some of the sites described in northern Ghana 244

archaeology-interior.indd x 09/07/14 14.57Biographical Information of Authors

Akwasi Abrampah is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of
Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana. He has
interest in both general anthropology and historical archaeology.
His research interests include linguistic anthropology, archaeology
of salt trading, and culture contacts in the Gold Coast/ Ghana.
He is currently conducting an ongoing research in Dodowa in
the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The project focuses on the
interactions between the Danes and local Dodowa inhabitants
during the 18th and the 19th centuries. The project began in 2011
with the discovery and excavations at the Frederikssted Plantation
settlement in Dodowa.
James Anquandah read Archaeology at the University of Ghana, Legon
and at the Pitt-Rivers Department of Ethnology and Archaeology,
Oxford University, UK. He has lectured in archaeology at U.G.
Legon since 1973 and has conducted fi eld research at many sites in
Ghana. In 1998 he retired as full professor and has since lectured
and researched on contract/part-time-basis. His many publications
include four books: Rediscovering Ghana’s Past (1982); Koma-Bulsa:
Its Arts and Archaeology (1998); Castles and Forts of Ghana
(1999) and Panorama of Ghana’s heritage (2012). He also edited
the publication Transatlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies,
Expectations (2007)
Wazi Apoh is an archaeological anthropologist and a Frederick Douglass
Teaching Scholar. He has a B.A and M.Phil degrees in archaeology
from the University of Ghana and a Phd degree in Anthropology
from Binghamton University of New York, USA. His specialty is
in the fi elds of cultural heritage management, contract/salvage
archaeology, forensic anthropology and development
anthropology. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology
and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana. He is the director of
the Kpando German Heritage Research and Rehabilitation Project.
He is the author of “Concise Anthropology: the Five-Field Approach”
archaeology-interior.indd xi 09/07/14 14.57Biographical Information of Authors
2010, Kendall Hunt Publishers and a co-editor of “Germany and
Its West African Colonies: “Excavations” of German Colonialism in
Post-Colonial times.” 2013, Lit Verlag, Germany
Kennedy Atsutse holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in
History/Archaeology from the University of Ghana and a Master of Arts degree
in Museums and Heritage Studies from the same university.
Currently, he works with the Ghana Museums and Monuments
Board as a Curator at the Cape Coast Castle located in the Central
Region of Ghana.
Fritz Biveridge is a holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree (Archaeology
and History) and a Master of Philosophy (Archaeology) degree
from the University of Ghana and currently working on his Doctor
of Philosophy degree in the University of Ghana. He joined the
faculty in August, 2006 as  a Lecturer. His research interests
include early trade, culture contact, and patterns of acculturation
along the Guinea Coast and their impact on the interactants and
the local economy. He is currently undertaking historical
archaeological investigations  into Anglo-Ahanta interactions  along
the Dixcove coastline and its impact on the indigenous Ahanta
occupants of the area and the English settlers of Fort Metal Cross.
Gregory Cook is an Assistant Professor in the Department of
Anthropology at the University of West Florida. His specializations
include maritime archaeology, ship construction and maritime
trade in the Atlantic World. Greg has been involved in numerous
maritime archaeology projects in the Caribbean (Jamaica), Africa
(Ghana and Madagascar) and the United States. For his
dissertation research at Syracuse University, Greg conducted the fi rst
remote sensing survey and shipwreck investigation in Ghana.
He is currently involved in several maritime archaeological
projects, including co-directing excavations on the second wreck
discovered from a 1559 Spanish colonization fl eet in Pensacola
Bay, Florida.
archaeology-interior.indd xii 09/07/14 14.57Biographical Information of Authors
Gertrude Aba Mansah Eyifa-Dzidzienyo is an Assistant Lecturer
at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, at the
University of Ghana, Legon. She specializes in issues of gender in
archaeology, indigenous heritage preservation and presentation,
and museum exhibition development. She is currently working
on her doctoral degree in the Department of Archaeology and
Heritage Studies, University of Ghana.
Kodzo Gavua is an Associate professor and a former head of the
Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University
of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. In addition to Bachelor of Arts, Master
of Arts, and Doctorate degrees he earned in Archaeology, he also
holds a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs. His research
focus has been on ‘Globalization and culture change in Ghana’ and
he has, in this regard, been working on the legacy of the trade in
enslaved people and on the role of indigenous and world religions
in social formation processes and negotiations of identity. Dr.
Gavua is engaged in community archaeology and heritage
conservation in Ghana. He is also the coordinator of British Museum
projects in Ghana and the Vice-President (Anglophone) of the
Pan-African Archaeological Association (PAA)
William Narteh Gblerkpor (Ford Fellow; UMAPS Scholar) is a
lecturer in archaeology at the University of Ghana, Legon. He
received his Bachelor’s degree (in Archaeology with history) and
Master of Philosophy degrchaeology) from the University
of Ghana in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Mr. Gblerkpor is currently
pursuing a doctoral degree in Archaeology at the University of
Texas at Austin. He is also the PI and co-director of the Krobo
Mountain Archaeological Project (K-MAP), a partnership project
between the University of Ghana and the Krobo Traditional
Councils. His ongoing doctoral dissertation project focuses on
the sociopolitical and religious transformations in Krobo during
European contact and settlement in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
Gblerkpor’s research interest includes identity formation, religious
rituals, ethnoarchaeology, household and landscape archaeology,
as well as archaeology and community engagement
archaeology-interior.indd xiii 09/07/14 14.57Biographical Information of Authors
Timothy Insoll is a professor of archaeology at the University of
Manchester. Besides his fi eldwork in Ghana he has completed
archaeological research in Mali, Bahrain, Eritrea, and Western
India. He obtained his PhD and was a Research Fellow from St
John’s College, University of Cambridge. His research interests
focus upon the archaeology of African indigenous religions and
Islam, the archaeology of Islam more generally, and theoretical
approaches to the archaeology of identities. He is the author
and/or editor of eighteen books and special journal issues. He
is currently involved in fi eldwork in south-western Ethiopia and
writing a book for Oxford University Press, Material Explorations
in African Archaeology.
Benjamin W. Kankpeyeng is an Associate Professor and the current
Head of the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies,
University of Ghana. He studied at Syracuse University in the
United States of America where he obtained an MA and PhD in
Anthropology in 1996 and 2003, respectively. He also holds a BA
(Honours) degree in History with Philosophy from the University
of Ghana awarded in 1981. He worked at the Ghana Museums
and Monuments Board from 1983 until joining the Faculty at
the University of Ghana in 2004. His research interests include
culture contact studies, archaeology of rituals and religions,
public archaeology, and heritage studies. His archaeological
research projects are linked with the sites of Kpaliworgu,
TongoTengzug (with Timothy Insoll and Rachel MacLean), Koma Land,
and slavery.
Amanda Logan (PhD, University of Michigan, 2012) is Assistant
Professor in the Anthropology Department at Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois, USA. She has focused on using
paleoethnobotany and ethnoarchaeology to investigate changing
subsistence practices in Ghana from the Late Stone Age to the
present day. Her dissertation documented changing foodways and
environment over the last millennium in Banda, with a focus on
the introduction of American crops.
archaeology-interior.indd xiv 09/07/14 14.57Biographical Information of Authors
Samuel Nilirmi Nkumbaan has been a Lecturer in the Department
of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana, since
October, 2004. He is currently a PhD candidate in the same
Department and has seven publications to his credit. His research
interests focus on Cultural Resource Management, Historical
Archaeology, Social Complexity and the History of the Konkomba
of Northern Ghana.
Samuel Kwesi Osei has experience in applying geospatial science
techniques to cultural and natural heritage management. He
received his B.A (Hons.) in Geography and Resource Development
with Archaeology from the University of Ghana, Legon and his
M.A. in World Heritage Studies from Brandenburg Technical
University, Cottbus. He also has an MSc. Degree in Sustainable
Resource Management from the Technical University, Munich. He
was a World Heritage intern at the Valletta Rehabilitation Project
offi ce, Valletta, Malta in 2005. He currently teaches Landscape
Archaeology at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Ann Stahl (PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1985) is Professor
and Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of
Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. She has conducted
archaeological research in the Banda area in the Brong-Ahafo Region
since 1982. Her early work focused on the Kintampo complex.
Since 1986 she has engaged in a study of how daily life in Banda
has been reshaped through the region’s involvement in global
trade (via Saharan and Atlantic networks). She is the author of
Making History in Banda. Anthropological Visions of Africa’s Past
(2001, Cambridge) and editor of African Archaeology. A Critical
Introduction (2005, Blackwell).
H.Nii-Adziri Wellington is a retired Professor of architecture, teaching
issues in heritage management and monument conservation in
the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies.
archaeology-interior.indd xv 09/07/14 14.57Foreword
The University of Ghana is celebrating this year the sixty-fi fth
anniversary of its founding. In all those years, lecturers and researchers
of the university have contributed in quite signifi cant ways to the
development of thought and to the analysis of critical issues for
different aspects of Ghanaian and African society. The celebration of
the anniversary provides an appropriate opportunity for refl ection on
the contributions that Legon academics have made to the intellectual
development of Ghana and Africa. That is what this Readers Project
is about.
In the early years of the University, all the material that was used
to teach students came largely from the United Kingdom and other
parts of Europe. Most of the thinking in all disciplines was largely
Eurocentric. The material that was used to teach students was mainly
European, as indeed were many of the people teaching the students.
The norms and standards against which students were assessed were
infl uenced largely by European values. The discussions that took place
in seminar and lecture rooms were driven largely by what Africa could
learn from Europe.
The 1960s saw a major ‘revision’ in African intellectual development
as young African academics began to question received ideas against
a backdrop of changing global attitudes in the wake of political
independence. Much serious writing was done by African academics
as their contribution to the search for new ways of organizing their
societies. African intellectuals contributed to global debates in their
own right and sometimes developed their own material for engaging
with their students and the wider society.
Since the late 1970s universities in the region and their academics
have struggled to make their voices heard in national and global
debates. In a context of economic stagnation and political disarray,
many of the ideas for managing African economies and societies have
come from outside. These ideas have often come with signifi cant
fi nancial backing channeled through international organizations and
governments. During the period, African governments saw themselves
as having no reason to expect or ask for any intellectual contribution
archaeology-interior.indd xvi 09/07/14 14.57