Archaeological research, pioneered by Thurstan Shaw and Steve Daniels, has shown that people were already living in south-western Nigeria (specifically Iwo-Eleru) as early as 9000 BC and perhaps earlier at Ugwuelle-Uturu (Okigwe) in south-eastern Nigeria, where microliths were used. Smelting furnaces at Taruga dating from the 4th century BC provide the oldest evidence of metalworking in archaeology.
The earliest known example of a fossil skeleton with negroid features, perhaps 10,000 years old, was found at Iii Ileru in western Nigeria and attests to the antiquity of habitation in the region.
Microlithic and ceramic industries were also developed by savanna pastoralists from at least the 4th millennium BC and were continued by subsequent agricultural communities. In the south, hunting and gathering gave way to subsistence farming around the same time, relying more on the indigenous yam and oil palm than on the cereals important in the North.
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