LINGUISTIC, GEOGRAPHICAL AND ETHNOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
- Linguistic materials: Linguists study languages and their relationship. Linguistic materials for writing history are gathered from careful study of languages, ethnic groups, their culture and their relationships. Linguistic analysis reveals connections and similarities in the languages of the people of Nigeria. This gives us ideas about how these groups may have originated and spread across the land. It is through linguistic materials that we gather ideas about inter-group contact and relations between the various Nigerian groups at different times in history. From linguistic analysis and materials, we are able to identify similarities in spoken languages among the various Nigerian languages and how they are linked, particularly by nearness to one another.
- Geographical materials: Geographical or environmental studies reveal a lot in writing the history of people because the environment is the place where all activities of man takes place. Hence, the study of the same environment or geography gives useful information on the reconstruction of the history of people. For example, by studying geographical features like topography or relief pattern, we are able to reconstruct the history of how the people settle and the limits of their movement from place to place. Climate and rainfall patterns give ideas about the pattern of agricultural activities which sustained the people. They also show the vegetation and how easy it was to move from place to place with animals of burden or horses for war purposes. Just as how open fields (Savannah lands) to neighbours far and near make interactions easy and possible, so also does nearness to coastlands allow interactions with outsiders. History is made with these interactions. Trade goes on with these interactions. Spread of religion and other aspects of culture go on with these interactions.
- Ethnographical materials: Ethnographical simply means the systematic study of people and their culture. It reflects in the writing of a group of people and their culture. Ethnography shares a relationship with history, especially socio-cultural history. Ethnography also helps to provide history with information about people. From the study of the culture, customs and practices, of the Nigerian people, we are able to gather information for writing aspects of the history of any group of Nigerians. For example, from the terracotta found in the Nok area, we are able to find a number of remains which point to a civilization in art and craft a long time ago. They also show implements of war and agriculture by a civilized people.