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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 3 (1) 2005

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A. Usman, J. Aleru & R. Alabi

Sociopolitical formation on the Yoruba northern frontier: a report of recent work at Ila-Iyara, Central Nigeria

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 3 (1), 2005, pages 139-154, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10042

Abstract
The 15th – 17th century AD was a period of sociopolitical changes throughout Yorubaland. A critical review of the traditional histories and the results of recent archaeological research in Igbomina reveal that these changes were not restricted to the central Yoruba areas but also manifested in the Yoruba periphery. Ila has been described as a major regional polity in northern Yoruba, whose early development may have followed a similar trajectory as the Old Oyo state. This paper is a report of our recent archaeological survey, excavation, and finds at Ila-Iyara, the major Ila political center occupied between the 14th and 17th centuries. Ila-Iyara exhibits evidence of large elite center, fortifications, sacred sites, iron working, and ceramic types similar to those found at Oyo, Ife, and Benin. The archaeological work in Ila-Iyara also provides further insight into the processes of socio-political development, the dynamics of changes, and the different web of interactions on the Yoruba northern frontier prior to the 18th century.

Résumé
La période entre le 15ème et le 17ème siècle AD. était une période de changements socio-politiques dans tout le pays de Yoruba. Une révision critique des histoires traditionelles et des résultats de la recherche archéologique récente dans Igbomina révèle que ces changements n'étaient pas limités au centre des régions Yoruba mais qu'ils sont aussi evidents dans la péripherie de Yoruba.  Ila est décrit comme un centre politique majeur au nord de Yoruba, dont le début de développement pourrait avoir suivi une trajectoire similaire à celle de l'État d'Ancien Oyo. Cet article est un rapport sur notre étude archéologique récente, de fouille, et des découvertes dans Ila-Iyara; celui-ci est un site d'habitation majeur d'Ila qui a été occupé entre le 14ème et le 17ème siècle. Ila-Iyara révèle un centre d'élite large, des fortifications, des sites sacrés et métallurgique, et des types de céramique similaire à ceux trouvés dans Oyo, à Ife, et au Benin. Le travail archéologique dans Ila fournit davantage un aperçu fascinant sur le procédé du développement socio-politique, les dynamiques de changements, et les différents réseaux d'interactions dans la zone du nord de Yoruba antérieurement au 18ème siècle.




Keywords: archaeology, ceramics, Igbomina, Ila, Ila-Iyara, Nigeria, oral tradition, Yoruba


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Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
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