Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Neil Norman

Committee Member

Gerard Chouin

Committee Member

Grey Gundaker


In this thesis, I examine the history and trends in Nigerian archaeology, through to the development of methods and theories in the study of urban space. The nascent period of the discipline aligns with the early 19th-century colonial administration. During this period, the attention of archaeologists was on art objects. It was followed by indigenous-directed research that sees universities spring up. I discussed how this new formation sought to decolonize archaeology by pointing out that the early studies were colonial-derived, hence ignoring the accomplishments of independent African cultures. The indigenous archaeology new school served to rectify these inherent problems by establishing models of cultural development and complexity that were definitively African based in focus and in a context of nationalist historiography. in a bid to give an African-based definition to the material cultures, urbanism became a widespread research focus. I highlight the different views of urbanism by different scholars and hypothesize that in addition to criteria like population density, settlement size, and agriculture, etc., earthworks are important variables in defining urban space in the Yoruba-Edo region of Nigeria.



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