University of Cambridge > > African Archaeology Group Seminar Series > AAG Lent 2023 Seminar 1 - Engendering Sustainable Cultural Heritage Preservation in Nigeria: Surkur Cultural Landscape as Case Study

AAG Lent 2023 Seminar 1 - Engendering Sustainable Cultural Heritage Preservation in Nigeria: Surkur Cultural Landscape as Case Study

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Sukur cultural landscape is a World Heritage Site in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Nigeria. Situated along Nigeria/Cameroon border at an elevation of 1045 m, the ancient hilltop settlement was famous for iron smelting technology, flourishing trade and a strong political institution that dates to the 16th century CE. Archaeological excavations in the area have yielded iron-smelting furnaces, shaft and bellows close around houses, pointing to a complex socio-economic relationship that existed within this area. However, in the last 13 years, the northern part of Nigeria has witnessed significant destruction from the activities of the Boko haram sect and Adamawa State is one of the states that has suffered devastating blows regarding the destruction of lives, properties, and environment.

Therefore, this study examined land-use change of Sukur using satellite imagery covering the period 2009 – 2021, analysed at a temporal resolution of 4 years. The results of the analyses showed that there is an exponential increase in the number of buildings between 2009 and 2021, and a significant change in the architecture of buildings. An increase in the amount of precipitation received in the last two years, aided by the nature of the topography of the landscape being a hilltop settlement have significantly impacted the landscape. Although community engagement has been instrumental in retaining the characteristic landscape of Sukur, adequate attention needs to be given to this area for it not to lose its integrity as one of the two cultural landscapes in Nigeria.

Dr Akinbowale Akintayo is a landscape archaeologist specialising in Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing applications in archaeology. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of York as part of the Mapping Africa’s Endangered Archaeological Sites and Monument (MAEASaM) project. In his role, Akinbowale is applying GIS and remote sensing techniques to document existing archaeological sites and identifying new ones in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

This is a hybrid event and will take place in the McDonald Seminar Room in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Downing Site, Cambridge. Register here to join online:

This talk is part of the African Archaeology Group Seminar Series series.

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