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  • Cited by 8
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Lindskoug, Henrik B. 2016. Fire Events, Violence and Abandonment Scenarios in the Ancient Andes: The Final Stage of the Aguada Culture in the Ambato Valley, Northwest Argentina. Journal of World Prehistory, Vol. 29, Issue. 2, p. 155.

    Arakawa, Fumiyasu Ortman, Scott G. Shackley, M. Steven and Duff, Andrew I. 2011. Obsidian Evidence of Interaction and Migration from the Mesa Verde Region, Southwest Colorado. American Antiquity, Vol. 76, Issue. 04, p. 773.

    Walker, John H. 2011. Social Implications from Agricultural Taskscapes in the Southwestern Amazon. Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 22, Issue. 03, p. 275.

    Stump, Daryl 2010. Intensification in Context: Archaeological Approaches to Precolonial Field Systems in Eastern and Southern Africa. African Studies, Vol. 69, Issue. 2, p. 255.

    Hill, J. Brett 2004. Land Use and an Archaeological Perspective on Socio-Natural Studies in the Wadi Al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan. American Antiquity, Vol. 69, Issue. 03, p. 389.

    Douglas, John E. 1995. Autonomy and Regional Systems in the Late Prehistoric Southern Southwest. American Antiquity, Vol. 60, Issue. 02, p. 240.

    STONE, M. PRISCILLA STONE, GLENN DAVIS and NETTING, ROBERT McC. 1995. the sexual division of labor in Kofyar agriculture. American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, Issue. 1, p. 165.

    Roper, Donna C. 1995. Spatial Dynamics and Historical Process in the Central Plains Tradition. Plains Anthropologist, Vol. 40, Issue. 153, p. 203.

  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: May 2010

6 - Agricultural abandonment: a comparative study in historical ecology


On the Nigerian savanna between Lafia and Shendam are thousands of farmsteads of sorghum, millet, and yam farmers. The area south of the small town of Namu is populated largely by Kofyar, who have been moving there from the hills of the Jos Plateau since the middle of this century. The Kofyar first came on a seasonal basis, living in ephemeral compounds, but by the time I came in 1984 they had established enduring settlements in many areas.

I had come to study the Kofyar settlement system, and I began by learning the local geography, especially the names of the various ungwas, or neighborhoods. While most of the place names were in Kofyar or Hausa, I would occasionally encounter names that referred to the Tiv, a tribe that had moved into the Namu area from the south. Place–names such as Koprume contained a small slice of settlement history – kop being the Kofyar term for the former residence of someone, Rume being the name of the Tiv who had abandoned the area. In fact, it turned out that our own compound had originally been built by Tiv and later abandoned.

Since a focus of my research was the evolution of settlement patterns, including the factors affecting farm abandonment, I was intrigued by the permanency of Kofyar settlement in precisely the same locales where Tiv settlement had been ephemeral. Kofyar and Tiv had apparently occupied the same ecological niche, clearing fields with fire and growing yams and interplanting millet and sorghum.

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The Abandonment of Settlements and Regions
  • Online ISBN: 9780511735240
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