EARLY HUMAN SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN NKANU EAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ENUGU STATE

EARLY HUMAN SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN NKANU EAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ENUGU STATE

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ABSTRACT

This project work is aimed at educating students and researchers on the early human settlement patterns of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. This research work is divided into five chapters for easy understanding. Chapter one deals with the introductory aspect of the work which includes the Statement of the Problem, Research Objective, Research Methodology, Research Design, Method and Instrument of Data Collection, Method of Data Analysis, Significance of the Study, Scope of the Study, Limitation of the Study and Clarification of Concepts. Chapter Two takes us to Literature Review, which treats theoretical literature, empirical literature and theoretical orientation. While chapter three centres on the background information of the study area. Chapter four throws more light on the data gotten from the study area and how it was analyzed. The last part of the research work is chapter five which contains summary, recommendations and conclusion.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Settlement archaeology is a sub-field of archaeology with a tentacular character. This is anchored in the fact that human settlement straddles several spheres of life such as kinship, technology and cosmology. All these are firmly rooted in history and geography. Given this complex character, the archaeologist needs to have great imagination and considerable amount of enthusiasm in addition to the array of scientific technique at his disposal. As a matter of fact, different settlement systems are often mixed up, thereby making intelligibility, a wild goose chase. Excavations were often carried out basically from a vertical perspective as opposed to a lateral-oriented research. Although this method of approach is also good for gaining some insights about the nature and scope of material culture of a people, it says little about spatial relationship(s) through time. Such lacunae have to be filled in through the lenses of problem-oriented research designs and execution. (Ogundele, 1990)

With no known single central authority controlling the Igbos in the historic past, Igbo settlement history is seen as composed of those of its disparate cultural entities or clans. Differentiating elements in the evolution of their towns includes ecosystemic and other environmental barriers and degree of isolation or exposure to outside influence (Todaro, 1980). According to Willey (1953), it has been known that studying the settlement pattern of an area, requires spatial relations between sites and its importance to understanding what was going on at a particular location. Spatial distribution of cultural activities across landscapes at given moments in time will add impetus to the understanding of settlement pattern.

For Willy (1953), settlement patterns did not simply provide example of human adaption to the environment. He saw the potential settlement patterns to provide insight to a broad spectrum of human behaviours that were influenced by both cultural and ecological factors. He argued that settlements reflect not only a society’s natural environment and level of technological sophistication, but also the influence of various institutions of social interaction and control on which the culture is maintained. His research demonstrated how the analysis of settlement patterns could provide information on environmental strategies and on social organization. The study of settlement patterns at a larger scale reveals geographical locations of cities of varying sizes and suggests a hierarchically structured organization that helps in the articulation of socio-political processes. Even if ideology can be considered as epiphenomenal to the more immediate concerns of subsistence, settlement patterns, technology and socio-political organization, affects all phases of cultural development. Settlement patterns are one of the core concepts in archaeology. Also called non -site archaeology, settlement pattern studies involves investigations which examine regions or areas, rather than focusing on individual sites. Settlement patterns are probably most associated with the understanding of how a particular society used the available resources in its region.

All over the world, several factors always influence location of settlements the way they are. These include; relief, climate, vegetation, political, socio-economic, historical and mythical origin. As a result of these factors, the degree of concentration of people, the extent of planning for the people and attainment of the people varies from one region to another. The functions which these settlements (large or small) perform vary in their various locations.

Andah (1995) observes that each settlement has its distinctive character or pattern. This pattern is usually determined among other things by the settlement’s specific location, its overall size and shape, the location and distribution of buildings both private and public on the ground etc. Many factors responsible for the choice of a place of settlement include the environmental influence which greatly affects the area chosen by the people for habitation, though they do not determine it. Therefore, within any given region, people normally tend to establish or dwell in any geographical location where resources to meet their needs and wants can be found, especially the place that is endowed with abundance of water, fertile soil and games.

 Also settlements are always established where the food requirement of the population could be met. People, at least at the prehistoric stage tend to settle down at such places they deem safe from attack from man and animals and that are pleasant or source of protection from rain and sunshine (Trigger 1979). Climatic factors also have a bearing on the places people inhabit and the type of materials used for the construction of habitation sites (Okpoko, A.I 1979). The source and type of materials present at the matrix are what man will exploit in order to build his houses. The type of sand, mud and the shape and orientation of the houses are to a great extent influenced by climatic factors. Apart from climatic factors, it should be stressed that the layout of a settlement could also be influenced by the type of kinship and family organization of the people under investigation. Also people’s religious beliefs do influence the way and manner in which the layout of the settlement is designed (Trigger 1979). It is when all the above variables have been tried and analyzed that the settlement pattern would be made sensible to the archaeologists.

For most civilizations, subsistence economy is usually commensurate with settlement densities and cultural achievements of the society. In the case of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, emphasis will be focused on population estimates from evaluations of carrying capacity of land cultivation. When settlement surveys identify the remains of residential area, their counts become a preferred and more accurate method for producing population estimates. Residential house mound were found to have a distribution increase in numbers with distance to centres.  Nevertheless, it could be found throughout the intervening territories in-between centres, often suggesting considerably larger populations than deemed before.

1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Settlement pattern in every society goes a long way to depict how the architectural pattern has affected the indigenous culture and tradition of the people. This is because, the science of building and settlement layout involves a creative fusion of the aesthetic, religious, socio-political and functional attributes of spatial arrangement. Apart from the environment, the people’s custom and traditions, foreign cultural influences are also reflected in the Nigeria settlement outlook (Okpoko, and Ezeadichie, 2004)

The settlement pattern of Nkanu East Local Government Area has not been given the priority it deserves due to lack of knowledge on the part of researchers. Most of the members of the communities under study do not know much about their prehistory. When a person identifies his root, then he will have a sense of belonging. The archaeological formation found in the study area, is necessary to the understanding of settlement pattern of the people, and will help in ascertaining the reason for their migration and from where. Thus this research is triggered off by the above reason.

1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The overall objective of this research work is to study and document the nature and characteristics of settlement patterns of Nkanu East Local Government Area, through the following specific objectives: .

·                    To study the various early settlement patterns in Nkanu East Local Government Area.

·                    To examine the effects of climatic factors in siting a settlement.

·                    To highlight the importance of each settlement pattern in Nkanu East Local Government Area.

·                    To examine the effects of modernization on settlement patterns, in the area of socio-economic activities of Nkanu East Local Government Area.

1.3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

To elicit accurate information on the early settlement patterns of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, the researcher employed qualitative research method. The qualitative approach used in this research is unstructured in-depth interview which allows the interviewee to discuss the subject matter without any restriction. Through this means, information on the early settlement patterns of the study area was gotten, the history and migration of extinct community was gotten from interacting with the extant community, the architectural pattern of the people was also made know to the researcher and the impact of modernization on the study area was also made available to the researcher. Participant observation was used in order to derive useful information on the socio-cultural, socio-economic and socio-political activities of the people under study in which the researcher was able to participate and observe some of their daily activities.

1.3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN

Research design simply means the plan of study. It mainly points to different approaches of collecting information. For this research, the study design to be used is qualitative research method which involves going to the field to see, participate and ask questions that will give reliable and relevant information concerning the project topic. In order to achieve the aim of carrying out this research, the researcher interviewed key informants knowledgeable in the research topic. Institutions like the Nkanu East Local Government Headquarters and Enugu State Railway Station were visited so as to gather information useful to the researcher.

1.3.2 METHOD AND INSTRUMENT OF DATA COLLECTION                                      

To study and document the early settlement patterns of Nkanu East Local Government Area, the researcher employed ethnographic research method. In this method, the researcher spent time among the people under study, keeping detailed records of the people’s daily activities and behaviors. The researcher made precise records of the people’s life style and settlement patterns, including their socio-economic activities and architectural pattern of the people. Archaeological field walk-over was also carried out. Potsherds were retrieved from the surface in order to identify technology, trade routes and diet of the people under study. Data collection was through primary source, secondary sources which includes the use of journals, literatures, newspapers, internet materials. Participant observation techniques and in-depth interview, which is a personal contact between the researcher and the respondent proved useful in the research work. The researcher used this method to elicit information concerning the settlement patterns of Nkanu East Local Government Area. Here, the researcher interviewed few key informants who include elders who are indigenes of the study area and are knowledgeable in the early history and settlement patterns of the study area. As an observer, a good record of the early human settlement patterns was taken, the factors that necessitated the shift and the impact of modernization on the study area was also learnt using surface collection.

Finally, the researcher acquired data through secondary sources which involves reliable and verifiable documented materials from published and unpublished works of the experts in the field and related disciplines. Internet materials, photographic documentation and maps are used as additional source of information concerning the subject matter.

1.3.3 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS 

In this research data gotten through in-depth interview, participant observation, primary and secondary source will be analyzed using ethnographic method. Data obtained was analyzed qualitatively so as to give accurate account of the early settlement patterns of the people under study. Information gathered was grouped in section using tables for illustrations, the use of maps, diagrams and photographic documentation for clarity.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research will be of immense value to the indigenes of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State; in the sense that it will help the people to know their origin and early settlement patterns. The study will also help to place the archaeological formations in the study area on the world map. It will help to project the image of the communities to national level. Again, it will not only stimulate local interest in the settlement patterns of the people, but will help maintaining a sense of continuity in the rapid changes coming upon them. The research will act as a unifying force between the study area and their neighbours.

More importantly, the research work will be beneficial to the researchers in the field of settlement archaeology. It will further provide a database for anybody who wishes to carry out a research on early history and settlement patterns of the people of Nkanu East Local Government Area. The research will give the researcher proper insight on the way of life of the people under study. The study of their settlement patterns overtime will help the researcher ascertain how they were able to make use of the available resources in their environment for their own benefit.

Archaeological research makes a significant contribution to the people’s knowledge of their history. It will not only stimulate local interests in the ancient traditions of the people, but will help maintain their sense of continuity in rapid changes now coming upon them. This is why the people of Nkanu East need to know their past, in order to understand the present and to an extent the future. This research will bring to lime light settlement patterns in Nkanu East and those factors that aided in the shift. By the end of this research, one will be able to see the impact of modernization on the extant society and how they (the communities) have been able to adapt to their present environment.

 At the end this research work, one will be able to deduce the factors that influenced the settlement patterns of the study area. The manner in which different factors interact with one another, influence a particular pattern. In addition, how has modernization influenced the settlement patterns of the study area? And what influence does the environment have on the settlement area.

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research is based on the study of the early settlement patterns of the people of Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. The architectural pattern and technology of the people under study will also help to elicit useful information on the research topic.

1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

There are some limiting factors that directly or indirectly affected the conduct of this research. Some of the factors that limited the work to an extent are indicated as follows:

Financial limitation is one of the major problems the researcher encountered and this hindered  movement to some important places of interest. Lack of fund also hindered the researcher from carrying out petrological analysis on the potsherds gotten from the study area. Also, local key informants and interviewees demanded for financial inducement before giving out useful information. This is proper, but the researcher being a student could not meet up with such financial demand. The researcher experienced difficulty in getting documentary materials about the various communities involved as much work have not been done on the study area.

            Finally, lack of trust on the side of the informants also posed as hindrance, some of them objected to the researchers taking their photographs due to fear of the unknown or for security reasons. Despite all these, the researcher was able to obtain information which played vital role for the successful completion of this work.





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