The settlement of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria: an archaeological and ethnohistorical investigation

Owoseni, Bolaji (2023) The settlement of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria: an archaeological and ethnohistorical investigation. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This doctoral research is the first archaeological and ethnohistorical investigation of the historically significant city of Ilorin, Kwara State, northern Yorùbáland, Nigeria. Ilorin is known for its intricate craft production, such as pottery, textile and red stone beads underpinning status, but also for being the seat of war and jihadist reform by the 19th century. Furthermore, Ilorin is largely known through oral traditional and written sources, which are mainly linked to the socio-political development of the Oyo empire (16th to 19th centuries CE). However, very little is known of the deep time history of the area prior to the 19th century. As such, this research focuses on the past settlement of Okesuna Ilorin, whose period of abandonment was situated in the early 19th century and at which the presence of archaeological remains, including potsherd pavements, had been previously reported. The research presents the results of archaeological surveys, excavations and finds analysis, with an emphasis on pottery. These data are integrated with data collected from oral tradition, field observations, and historical sources. The present doctoral research, which involved the investigation of ten units of various sizes, seven of which were excavated, documented a diverse suite of material culture, including abundant ceramics of various types, potsherd pavements, lithics, faunal and human remains, shell, and metal. Five radiocarbon dates from three of the excavated units span the 1st millennium CE to the early 2nd millennium CE. This thesis thereby adds valuable new archaeological data to improve understanding of Yorùbáland, demonstrating substantial extension in the time depth of Ilorin occupation. The work also shows that ceramics recovered feature decorations common in well-known centres of Yorùbáland such as Ile-Ife and Old Oyo. This work has therefore provided insights into the processes of regional socio-political developments within the Yorùbá region prior to the 19th century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2023 14:36
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 14:36


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