Contrary to most beliefs that the trans-sahara trades were responsible for the influx of people into the Nigeria region in precolonial Nigeria, archeological findings have shown that life on the Nigeria region has be earlier to as far as 10,000 BCE. Although the emergence of complex state system has also been attributed to Western imperialism, facts point to the direction of pre-colonial state and complex political concentrations in the Nigeria region before amalgamation. Numerous excavations such as the igbo-uku bronze, the afikpo and the Chad basin region archeological sites revealed large production of tools, swords, bronze for rituals indicative of an organised society where craftmanship exists side by side subsistence farming.
That said, the first human remains discovered in Nigeria was found in Iwo-eleru shelter in 1965 through an excavation carried out by Thurstan Shaw and his team. The iwo eleru specimen has been dated to about 9000BCE with indications that human life probably has begun in the area before then.
Archeological Interest in Africa grew following historians’ postulation that the dark continent is the origin of human race and that life was domestic to Africa not through immigration of neanderthals.
The radioactive dating and study of the iwo eleru burial specimen indicated that there are slight differences between them and the neanderthals. Unlike the Neanderthals whose supraorbital projection, frontal fraction, frontal subtense and vertex radius are high, the iwo iwo eleru specimen has a high cranial breadth, high bifrontal breadth, high cranial length, low frontal subtense and low parietal subtense. These shows that the iwo eleru specimen were not migrant neanderthals but another sort of human in the evolutionary trajectory of the human specie.
The iwo eleru excavation gives credence to historical postulations that deep population substructure were extant in Africa long before migration from the Sahara or Europe. It equally demeans philosophical thought parading Africans as personages devoid of human knowledge. If at about 9000 BCE humans already possess high intelligence in the Nigerian region, it is very unlikely, those who lived in just 200 years before now are deficient.
Other Archeological sites in the Nigeria region include: Apa 1, Ifetedo, ita-Ogbolu, Afikpo, Rop in the savanna zone, Daima and other sites in the Chad basin region. All these sites point to one truth: high concentration of peoples and complex organization of societies predates western encounter in Nigeria.