2. Archaeological Excavation

After consultations with the Chiefs of Ahanve, two sites (TPI and TPII) were chosen for excavation on the basis of the ethnographic evidence they provided. The report here is only on the excavated unit TPI (2 x 1m; 2.10m deep; 6.43138° N, 2.77532° E), since it is the only one dated so far. TPI is a refuse mound located in a bush hitherto regarded as 'evil forest'. Excavation proceeded at spit levels of 10cm and was terminated at a sterile layer reached at 2.05-2.10m. Excavated materials were sieved through a 10mm mesh and sorted into well-labelled bags. Vessel forms were reconstructed based on rim morphology and a diameter chart. The animal remains were taken to the Museum of the Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, for identification and soil colour was determined with reference to a Munsell Colour Chart. Pieces of charcoal and charred palm kernels were sent for radiocarbon dating at the Beta Analytic Laboratory, Florida, USA. Samples were subjected to acid/alkali/acid pretreatment in which they were gently crushed/dispersed in deionized water and treated with hot HCL and NaOH before combustion.

2.1 The sediment core and palynological analysis

A 2m sediment core was obtained from the freshwater swamp (6.43195° N, 2.77475° E, 0.5m asl) in Ahanve village (Figure 1) using a Hiller corer. In the field, sub-samples were collected at intervals of 10cm and wrapped in well-labelled aluminium foil. One gram of the sub-samples was processed using the standard method of Faegri and Iversen (1989). Identification of palynomorphs (pollen and spores) was done to family, generic or species levels based on photomicrograph albums and the collection of 3600 reference slides in the Palynology Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, as well as the following publications: Erdtman (1966); Sowunmi (1973; 1995) and Salard-Cheboldaeff (1980; 1981).