An archaeological investigation in Shira region, Bauchi, northeast Nigeria

Ahmed Giade, Asma'U (2016) An archaeological investigation in Shira region, Bauchi, northeast Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This doctoral research presents the results of a pioneering archaeological enquiry in the
Shira region of Bauchi State, northeastern Nigeria. The prime aims of this work in what is
a hitherto uninvestigated region are to sketch out an occupational sequence and to
characterise past materiahl culture. Shira is renowned for being the earliest established
settlement (12th to 19th century AD) in present-day northern Bauchi region and it lies on a
primary trade route linking two important precolonial polities, the Bornu Empire and the
Hausa city-states; as well as connecting with the Adamawa region.
The thesis uses archaeology as its prime source of data, but cross-references it with
historical and ethnographic data, in order to investigate the evolution and chronological
development of the Shira region in the second millennium AD. The artefacts and the spatial
organization which characterise the past settlements are studied, and data collected through
ethnographic enquiries on present social practices are examined with a view of offering
comparative material for the archaeological data. This aspect of the enquiry was mainly
concerned with tangible materials such as pottery or the practice of blacksmithing, but it
also considered non-material aspects such as the present socio-political patterns and
subsistence economy in particular.
An archaeological survey in the form of field walking was an important component of the
investigation. A 16km2 selected area close to Shira town was examined in order to assess
settlement evidence and archaeological potential. The survey located and recorded 64 sites,
5 of which later became the subject of detailed investigation. The survey collections and
the excavations carried out at these 5 abandoned sites underpin this thesis and provide a
characterisation of past material culture. Six radiocarbon dates place the occupation of the
settlements investigated within the second millennium AD. Pottery was the most abundant
artefacts recovered from the archaeological survey and excavations around the Shira town.
Rims and decorated sherds were analyzed in detail and non-diagnostic material, namely
undecorated body sherds, quantified and discarded.
Ultimately, these new archaeological data indicate that there exist a great number of past
sites around Shira town, of various natures and occurring across a series of hilltops and
intervening plains. As such this thesis provides important new data on the past of this part
of West Africa.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Katie Miller
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 11:13
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 11:13
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/63062
DOI:

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