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Keywords: Heritage Sites
Geographic Information Systems
Issue Date: Jul-2013
Abstract: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has triggered a revolution in archaeological methods for collecting and keeping inventories of heritages sites and monuments. Specifically, GIS studies have in recent times produced models for site potential or archaeological resource sensitivity. However, in Nigeria, previous archaeological works have focused on excavations, settlement patterns, vegetation history and reconstruction of cultural history, ignoring the aspects of digital documentation of heritage sites, with deleterious implications for data access, preservation and planning. This study, therefore focused on the production of a GIS database of Oyo-Ile and Badagry, two important heritage sites in southwestern Nigeria, with a view to digitally preserving their respective cultural features for research, planning and development, and determining their tourism potential. The study adopted the GIS, a tool for collection and manipulation of spatially referenced data, as a model for documenting heritage sites and monuments. Fourteen sites, seven each from Oyo-Ile and Badagry – two heritage sites associated with the history of slave trade – were purposively sampled. Qualitative data were at the first instance collected through archaeological reconnaissance, oral tradition, and observation techniques. Spatial locations of cultural resources were thereafter obtained with the aid of topographical maps, aerial photographs, satellite images and handheld global positioning system (GPS). Data were analysed using spreadsheet, while cartographic representation of classified resources was developed with Arc View Software. The GIS mapping produced a digital database of all the classified resources with their spatial locations within the two heritage sites. The cultural resources of Oyo-Ile were identified and classified as rockshelters, ruins, artefacts and relics of human settlements while those of Badagry were artefacts, museums and monuments, and relics of human settlements. The resources at Badagry, unlike those of Oyo-Ile, were well preserved and packaged to serve tourism purposes. The settlement patterns of Badagry and Oyo-Ile were linear and disperse, respectively. These are indicative of the culture and political structure of each site. Findings at the two heritage sites, as supported by oral traditions are typical of ancient Yoruba settlements. However, the topography of Badagry was plain unlike that of Oyo-Ile being undulating and rocky. Also, the architecture of Badagry comprised burnt bricks while that of Oyo-Ile was mainly of mud. Badagry’s resources and architecture could be traced to its role as a slave port during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade while those of Oyo-Ile supports oral tradition that it was a well fortified empire. The Geographic Information Systems database of Oyo-Ile and Badagry Heritage sites which were classified as rockshelters, ruins, artefacts, museums and monuments and relics of human settlements, digitally preserves cultural resources of tourism significance within these sites while serving as pointers to history of the Yoruba. Thus, the database serves the purposes of documentation, preservation and research; it also provides data needed in the planning and management of the tourism resources of these sites.
Description: A Thesis in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Submitted to the Faculty of Arts in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY of the UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
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