Elizabeth Olorunwa Adeyemo

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10485

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Adeyemo, Elizabeth (Notre Dame, U. of) "Investigating the dynamics of craft production in the socioeconomic and political complexities of Igbo Ukwu (9th-12th Century CE): Pathways for West African Archaeology."

West Africa is one of the global centers for incipient social complexity and development of commensurate exchange and political systems. However, the dearth in knowledge about how West African societies developed sociopolitical systems before the Trans-Atlantic trade period leaves an enormous gap in our understanding of multiple pathways taken by human societies that evolved and managed production complexes and management infrastructures. Advancing anthropological studies of human development, craft production and socioeconomic organizations, I use archaeology ceramics to investigate Igbo Ukwu’s (9th-12th Century CE) participation in regional and pan-regional trade networks, reconstructing the impact of these interactions on the sociopolitical dynamics of the society. Igbo Ukwu is situated in present-day Anambra State, South Eastern Nigeria. I combine traditional archaeology approaches to studies of social complexities with material science to explore how potters participated and managed the socioeconomic and political transitions of the 1st to mid-2nd Millennium CE in West Africa. My research also advances studies of exchange in anthropology by investigating technological strategies adopted in the Igbo Ukwu ceramic industry as actors within the broader framework of exchange in antiquity, highlighting resilience and/or innovation in potters response strategies to changes in West African trade systems in antiquity.