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A contextual reintegration of Shaw’s 1959–1964 Igbo-Ukwu excavation sites and their material culture

Ray, Keith 2022. A contextual reintegration of Shaw’s 1959–1964 Igbo-Ukwu excavation sites and their material culture. African Archaeological Review 39 , pp. 387-404. 10.1007/s10437-022-09505-6

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: This paper interrogates afresh what the various Igbo-Ukwu site contexts, carefully examined and closely documented by Shaw, represent in terms of depositional history (that is, the sequence and interrelation of events and processes embodied in the archaeologically observable site features). To this end, the paper re-specifies key contextual relationships at the three excavated sites and addresses the time-depth that each series of site contexts represents. It also considers what the spatial and artifactual relationships—both within and between the sites—may reveal about the ordering of settlement locally and regionally. There has been an understandable assumption that there must be more buried bronzes and elaborate artifacts, like those discovered beneath the Anozie family compounds between 1937 and 1964, to be found in the close vicinity and in the broader Igbo-Ukwu area. Although there will undoubtedly be much to discover, including early ceramics, this article concludes that the principal items recovered 50 years ago, and to a degree also their circumstances of deposition, may represent a unique situation and a key juncture in early Igbo history.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0263-0338
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2022
Date of Acceptance: 1 September 2022
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 06:59

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