gəzik ta mbangara ta kə ndahay mə mbərəm
Midden they treat+me they particle+of+specification people in community
The villagers treated me like rubbish (as I had no child)

Mase Dlanyera - 922333

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Authors of papers, chapters and books concerning or of relevance to Sukur are warmly invited to send us electronic copies for posting here.


This page offers access to a variety of sources on Sukur. First of these is a bibliography of published, archival, and World Wide Web materials relating to Sukur and its neighbors.

Second, we have attempted to provide easy access to our own and other published texts that relate directly to Sukur. The former group includes (a) papers available on this site and b) references to papers and books that are available online.

The first category includes original papers published only on this website and versions of other papers in the final form they were submitted to the editors of journals. Texts in the latter category are not facsimiles of the published works but the content differs only in minor editorial detail, pagination, and illustrations (which we have however reproduced separately wherever possible). The edited volume Metals in Mandara Mountains Society and Culture is an exception in that it is reproduced from digital proofs.

Many of the publications listed below are available directly on this site.

Introductory and General

Anthony Kirk-Greene's (1960) seminal paper "The kingdom of Sukur - a Northern Nigerian Ichabod" is available in .pdf format by kind permission of the author and the editorial board of the Nigerian Field.

In 2007-08 Sterner J. and N. David published 'The case for the Mandara Mountain International Peace Park' in the Borno Museum Society Newsletter 72/73 & 74/75: 41-50. In 2017 we updated the case for presentation to the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments and offer here the French and English versions. And, although it is now outdated, we are leaving up our post of a PowerPoint presentation converted into a .pdf file on the same topic: MandaraPark2010.pdf.

Slaving and resistance

Three documents posted in 2012 relating to Hamman Yaji, Lamido Madagali, a notorious slaver who ravaged the mountain peoples in the first fifth of the 20th century. These include:

1. Reed, Captain L.N. (translator) 1927. 'Translation of Diary of Hamman Yaji, D.A. Madagali 1912-1927.' National Archives Kaduna: Yolaprof:ACC-14.
This is our transcription from a photocopy of the original text. Another has now been published by Vaughan, J.H. and A.H.M. Kirk-Greene, (eds), 1995. The diary of Hamman Yaji: chronicle of a West African Muslim ruler. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

2. an annotated Index of the diary with information on all the peoples, places and persons mentioned, and

3. a paper by N. David (2012) 'A close reading of Hamman Yaji’s diary: slave raiding and montagnard responses in the mountains around Madagali (northeast Nigeria and northern Cameroon)' that analyzes Hamman Yaji's slaving strategies and practices and the resistance of the mountain peoples who were his prey. This also includes tables and maps.

The Hidi Midden and the history of Sukur

In 1993 N. David directed a test excavation on a large midden site located above the Hidi House at Sukur. This casts new light on Sukur history and the dating of its famous iron industry and market. The report is downloadable.

N. David 2013. 'The Hidi Midden excavation: production of space
and the construction of Sukur history'.

Sukur architecture;

Smith, A. and N. David. 1995. The production of space and the house of Xidi Sukur. Current Anthropology 36 (3): 441-71.

This paper on the Hidi residence and its socio-political implications fits well with the preceding report. It can be accessed here.

Ishanlosen Odiaua conducted a study of Sukur architecture as part of her doctoral program at the Sorbonne. This is the first substantial research involving fieldwork ever conducted at Sukur by a Nigerian. It can be accessed here. The full reference is:

Odiaua, Ishanlosen 2013. Sukur Cultural Landscape: defining earh architecture in a rocky environment. In Earthern architecture in today's world. Proceedings of the UNESCO Internationl Colloquium on the Conseration of World Heritage Earthern Architecture, Paris 17-18 2012, Paris. World Heritage Papers 36: 80-88.

The history of Smelting and Sukur's iron industry;

N. David and J. Sterner's 1995 and 1996 papers on "Constructing a historical ethnography of Sukur... Parts I: Demystification, and II: Iron and the classless industrial society" are now available for download here and here. These are essential studies of Sukur history and its remarkable iron industry and market.

N. David (ed.) 2012. Metals in Mandara Mountains society and culture. This edited volume was originally published by Africa World Press but withdrawn on account of some unacceptable illustrations. View the Contents here.

A digital version with quality illustrations is available for download as .pdf files of the cover (691KB) and the text (4.53MB).
Alternatively, download the zip file (4.16MB).

A 2010 paper by N. David on the different types of Mandara Mountains iron smelting furnaces is available here.

And a 2001 paper by David on metaphor and ritual in African bloomery iron smelting is available here. Sukur smelting was more secular and relied much less on such elements than many if not most cultures.

Cultural heritage

Other materials include a revised version of a paper on cultural heritage that includes a discussion of the Sukur cultural landscape:

David, N. and J. Sterner. 2016. 'In lieu of community archaeology? Mandara Archaeological Project (1984-2008) outreach and involvement in cultural heritage' Community Archaeology and Heritage in Africa: decolonizing practice, Peter R. Schmidt and Innocent Pikirayi (eds), pp. 224-49. London and New York: Routledge.

Judy Sterner's (2010) "Dynamics and dilemmas in the sustainable development of Sukur World Heritage Cultural Landscape (Nigeria)" can be downloaded as a .pdf file here.

The Gudur relationship

Many clans in the western Mandara Mountains claim descent from Gudur, supposedly a great religious center as far back as AD 1500. A paper by the authors of this website challenges this hypothesis:

David, N. and J. Sterner 2020. "The chiefdom of Gudur (Far North Region, Cameroon) and its Mandara Mountains diaspora: a minimalist hypothesis." It is available here and on Academia.edu at https://www.academia.edu/s/a317df5ac9?source=link.


Sukur architecture;

Smith, A. and N. David. 1995. The production of space and the house of Xidi Sukur. Current Anthropology 36 (3): 441-71.

Grinding equipment

Available online through JSTOR (Stable URL= http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0011-3204%28199506%2936%3A3%3C441%3ATPOSAT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-3) and through other organizations.

David, N. 1998. The ethnoarchaeology and field archaeology of grinding at Sukur, Adamawa State, Nigeria. African Archaeological Review 15 (1): 13-63.

Male initiation

Available online through Kluwer (http://www.kluweronline.com)

A recent and highly relevant paper by Márta Galántha, "Boys becoming men: male initiation rites in a north-eastern Nigerian village" that focuses on caste and initiation among the Fali of Jilvu, near Mubi, is also available on line but can be accessed directly here. The similarlities with Sukur are remarkable and one can say that in this institution the two societies are "the same but different", as is so often the case among Mandara montagnards.

The Margi

In addition two important publications on Sukur's Margi Dzirngu neighbors by the late James H. Vaughan are available. These are his monograph The Mandara Margi: a society living on the verge published in .pdf format in 2000 but largely written in the 1970s and 1980s, and his 2006 website with the same title. The Margi Dzirngu are those living in the area east of the Yedseram river, extending into the foothills of the Mandara mountains.



Items of costume - 921917

Items of Sukur women's costume readied for the dances at initiation..










Old Koji's storage - 921411

Pots in a lindo, a room used for storage and sometimes brewing.



































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