Episode 182: Uncovering the hidden history of Ghana

Dr. Cyril D. Boateng discusses his SEG Field Camp, “Investigating the slave trade in South Eastern Ghana using integrated geophysical techniques.”

Recently, there has been renewed interest in connecting Africans in the diaspora to their ancestral lands. In this context, significant focus has been placed on research which enhances an understanding of the circumstances of enslaved people during the days of enslavement. A lesser-known and often excluded slavery focus point is the South Eastern part of Ghana.  

The main goal of this field camp was to advance the field of geophysics and geoarchaeology and train a new generation of geoscientists by exploring the use of geophysics for archeological investigations related to slavery in the southeastern part of Ghana. Geophysics can be an indispensable part of archaeological investigations of slavery. The scientific findings of such non-invasive probes could help archaeologists fine-tune their search for sites and aid them in surgical excavation to unearth new data about past slavery practices.

In this conversation with host Andrew Geary, Cyril explains the concept behind the term “the archaeology of slavery.” He describes the various geophysical investigations used across four communities. Cyril also elaborates on how this type of project encourages the current and future generations of geophysicists. This conversation highlights the significant value geophysics brings to a problem and how SEG Field Camps, in particular, are an invaluable tool for building the next generation of scientists and providing humanitarian benefits.

Seismic Soundoff · 182: Uncovering the hidden history of Ghana

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Dr. Cyril D. Boateng is a geophysicist interested in near-surface problems and hydrocarbon exploration. He holds a Ph.D. in Solid Earth Physics from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) under the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences)-TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences) Presidential Fellowship. He is currently a lecturer and researcher focusing on modeling and integrating reservoir heterogeneities into machine learning algorithms. These innovative methods can be applied for computer-aided interpretation in geophysics. His previous work has been on geotechnical applications of geophysics in the Bosumtwi Impact crater of Ghana and how this can be applied to policymaking at the local government level.

Dr. Boateng’s research interests cover fractal theory for quantifying complexity in subsurface systems, machine learning for identifying patterns, and predicting subsurface properties. He has published extensively in international peer-reviewed journals and is a reviewer for notable journals, including the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering and Natural Resources Research.

Cyril has always been passionate about teaching, learning, and science communication. And after various teaching stints in Ghana’s educational sector from the basic to the tertiary level, his current focus is on modern teaching methods and research that can drive effective science education, especially at the tertiary level. In addition, he runs a platform for amplifying the voices of African Scientists called the AfroScience Network. When Cyril is not teaching or conducting research, he usually reads historical books or learns about other cultures.


Seismic Soundoff explores the depth and usefulness of geophysics for the scientific community and the public. If you want to be the first to know about the next episode, please follow or subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Two of our favorites are Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Zach Bridges created original music for this show. Andrew Geary hosted, edited, and produced this episode at TreasureMint. The SEG podcast team is Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.

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