African Archaeological Review

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 183–201 | Cite as

Environment and Subsistence of the Early Inhabitants of Coastal Southwestern Nigeria

  • Raphael A. Alabi


From where did the early inhabitants of the Badagry coastal area of southwestern Nigeria originate? Has the area been occupied from “ancient times,” as claimed by oral traditions? What was the nature of the environment and subsistence of these early inhabitants? Excavations at Apa, west of Badagry, provided answers to these questions. A radiocarbon date of 2670 ± 90 bp showed that human occupation there is at least 3000 years old, and implied occupation during the Late Stone Age. The occupation was in two phases: a prehistoric phase, during which Apa site 1 (Ap1) was occupied, and an historic phase, with occupation of Apa site 2 (Ap2). Sedimentological and archaeological data also showed that the environment at the beginning of occupation was similar to today. The presence of a groundstone axe, charred palm kernels, and charcoal at the Ap1 site is interpreted to imply the clearing and burning of vegetation, probably preparatory to planting and the exploitation of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) from about 2670 ± 90 bp.

D'où sont venus les premiers habitants de la région côtiere Badagry du sud-ouest du Nigeria? Est-il vrai que la région a été occupé depuis les temps anciennes, comme confirme les traditions orales? Quelle étaient la nature de l'environnement et du subsistence de ces habitants préhistoriques? Des fouilles archéologiques à Apa, a l'ouest de Badagry, ont fourni des réponses nécessaires à ces questions. Un date radiocarbone de 2670 ± 90 bp a montré que les activités humaines de ce site date au moins de 3000 années, qui indique que l'occupation des habitants à c'endroit étais durant la periode de l'Age de la Pierre Recent. L'occupation de cette region était en deux phases: un phase prehistorique, la période pendant lequelle le site d'Apa 1 (Ap1) était occupé, et la phase historique, qui a marqué l'occupation du deuxième site d'Apa 2 (Ap2). Les données de la sedimentologie et de l'archéologie ont aussi montrent que l'environnement au commencement d'occupation était similaire de nos jours. On pense que la presence d'un hache “groundstone,” de l'amande de palmier et du charbon à la site d'Ap1 indiques la déstruction de la vegetation, preparant probablement la terre pour la semence et l'exploitation du l'huile de palme (Elaeis guineensis) d'environ de 2670 ± 90 bp.

environment subsistence oral traditions Late Stone Age historic period southwestern Nigeria 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael A. Alabi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria

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