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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mollusca Utilization in Prehistoric Borno: A Case of Human Preference?
Authors:Connah, Graham
McMillan, Nora F.
Periodical:Sahara: Prehistory and History of the Sahara
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:A study of stratified mollusca excavated from seven prehistoric sites in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, in the 1960s, 1978 and 1981, reveals that there were periods in the past when molluscs were brought into these settlement sites but there were also periods when this did not happen. Two of the species concerned must result from external trade so that a discontinuous distribution through time for these can be understood, but the remaining species are all local freshwater shells, of which the contained animal could have been eaten. Why should an edible resource have been ignored at some times in the past but not at other times? This paper suggests that the varying utilization of mollusca in these sites has something to tell us about prehistoric food preferences. The possibility is advanced that some foods were used only in periods of food shortage, but it is also acknowledged that food preferences are culturally determined, so that changes in such preferences in the past may indicate changes in human culture. The sites concerned (in age all belonging to periods within the last 3000 years) are Daima, Kursakata and Shilma on the firki clay plains south of Lake Chad; a site situated on the old shoreline to the southwest of those plains; and Yau, Ajere and Birnin Gazargamo in the Yobe Valley. Bibliogr., sum. in English, French and Italian.