African Archaeological Review

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 25–54 | Cite as

Ethnoarchaeology of Domestic Space and Spatial Behaviour Among the Tiv and Ungwai of Central Nigeria

  • Samuel Oluwole OgundeleEmail author


An attempt has been made in this paper to use ethnoarchaeology to clarify our understanding of aspects of domestic space and spatial behaviour among the Tiv and Ungwai peoples of Central Nigeria. Indeed, the work is in several senses, a comparative study of two ethnolinguistic groups who occupy a similar ecological niche with broadly similar sociopolitical organisation. This mode of organisation is non-centralized in character. In addition, the two peoples had a tradition of hilltop occupation in ancient times. Differences in topography (hilltops for the ancient settlers and lowlands for the present-day peoples) have affected not only the compound layout of each of these ethnic groups but also among other features, the architecture of their houses. Given the limited available archaeological data including charcoal samples for dating, one is not yet able to ascribe specific functions to some of the structures identified on the archaeological sites (hilltops). This will be better addressed as research progresses.

Quelques tentatives ont ete faits dans cet article pour se servir de I’ethnoarchaeologie pour expliquer les divers aspects de l’espace domestique et des caracteres de l’occupation l’espace parmi les Tiv et les Ungwai de la region centrale du Nigeria. En fait, ce travail est en grandes measures une etude comparative des deux groupes ethnolinguistiques occupant le meme crenau ecologique ayant largement la meme organization socio-politique. Le mode d’organisation est du type non centralize. De plus les deux groupes ethniques ont une tradition de l’ocucpation des peuples anciens centres sur le haut de la colline. Des differences en topographie (le haut des collines pour le anciens occupants et la plaine pour les habitants actuels) n’ ont pas seulement eu effets sur la generalite de la maniere dont les concessions des ces groupes ethniques se presentent mais aussi l’architecture de leurs maisons sont parmi les traits particuliers importants. A cause du numbrer restreint de donnees disponibles en ce moment, nous ne sommes pas encore en mesure d’attribuer certaines functions aux structures identifiees aux chantiers archaeologigues (au sommet des collines). Ces functions seront mieux traitees au fur et a mesure que l’on avance dans nos recherches.




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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology & AnthropologyUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria

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