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date: 05 December 2023

The Archaeology of Igboland, Southeastern Nigerialocked

The Archaeology of Igboland, Southeastern Nigerialocked

  • Chioma Vivian NgonadiChioma Vivian NgonadiUniversity of Cambridge


The archaeological investigations in Igboland have been divided into two periods: the early and later scholarship period. In the early period of scholarship, archaeological investigation was focused on describing the early cultural history of the Igbo’s of southeastern Nigeria. Being very much influenced by the earlier reports, these investigations focused on the excavations of the earliest known sites in southeastern Nigeria. The main interest during this phase was to show a typological change of archaeological materials through time and to establish its chronology. The later scholarship period brought about systematic surveys and excavations and documented the existence of many sites, especially iron-smelting sites, and domestic/habitation and ancestral sites. Pottery typology, stratigraphy, and chronology were also the focus of the later scholarship phase.

The archaeological investigations in the early and later period have provided tangible data that have helped in the reconstruction of the way of life of the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria from 2500 bp/500 bce–1500 bp/500 ce, a period characterized by hunting/gathering way of life, pottery making, early farming communities, iron smelting and smithing, bronze working, and trade. It is important to note that this article is not a comprehensive overview of the archaeology of Igboland, southeastern Nigeria. Some sites were not included because of insufficient data and the unavailability of published articles. Nevertheless, a concerted drive toward further archaeological research in southeastern Nigeria could provide a significant opportunity to explore a set of broader themes in the archaeology of Igboland, especially with the Middle Stone Age culture where neither research nor sites have been recorded. This is thus the first step in attempting to understand the wider economy of the region, which to date has produced enigmatic and divergent archaeological data.


  • Archaeology

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