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Imprints of the Archaeology of Northern Nigeria

Landscape, society and crafts around Kirfi, Bauchi region

Abubakar Sule Sani
Publication Year:
180 pages
Sub-series name:
African Archaeology, 94
BAR number:


Abubakar Sule Sani’s pioneering book combines archaeological, ethnographic and historical data to construct a compelling narrative about the people of the Bauchi region in northern Nigeria. It deploys a social theory of frontier to understand how Borno and other Hausa states impacted on the development of cultural process that have evolved to dominate across the Savannah region over the past 1,500 years. The research presents a cultural typology from pottery to explain social connections in the past, which will be of interest not only for archaeologists, but also for art historians and anthropologists. It evaluates the impact of Islam and the 19th century Jihad of Uthman Ibn Fodio on settlement patterns and the operation of political systems across prominent Sahel and Savannah states in the past. Sani’s book therefore contributes to the understanding of the peoples of Bauchi hitherto unknown archaeologically, arguing that the combined use of oral and material sources is important for identifying cultural developments in most African societies where past written data are deficient.

Abubakar Sule Sani is interested in the settlement history, material culture, and socio-political development of northern Nigeria over the last millennium, drawing from primary field and oral sources. He continued teaching after he was awarded a PhD from the University of East Anglia. In addition to his lecturing position, he doubles as the editor of Zaria Archaeology Papers Journal as well the head of the Department of Archaeology at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Abubakar is a Fellow of the America Council of Learned Societies.

‘The foundation that Abubakar Sule has laid is a strong one, and this book does him great credit. It is an excellent resource for anyone working in the region, and in West/Central Africa more generally.’ Scott MacEachern, African Archaeological Review, Volume 39, 2022

‘A compendium of this kind is long overdue. I consider the book as a worthwhile contribution to the archaeology of the wider region, and thus to the archaeology of Africa as a whole.’ Professor Detlef Gronenborn, Leibniz Research Institution for Archaeology (Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum)

‘The book contributes significantly to knowledge not only in African archaeology but also in other disciplines such as material culture, history, ethnography, and socio-cultural anthropology. It is a great contribution to thematic areas including movement of people and object, exchange, craft specialization and production, indigenous knowledge practice, slavery and conquest, settlement formation and political history among others.’ Dr Abidemi Babatunde Babalola, University of Cambridge

Introduction (S3062_Sule_Sani_9781407358925_-_Introduction.pdf, 1,923 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (S3062_Sule_Sani_9781407358925_-_contents.pdf, 244 Kb) [Download]