Isarun village in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, located along Ilesa-Akure Road having Igbara Oke as its neighbour when heading towards Akure. There are many signposts and billboards erected at the junction to show the existence of a town that is a few metres off the main road. However, Isarun is sleepy, cool and peaceful, the town is not like others as it is a testimony to the evolution and metamorphosis of human kind particularly in West Africa sub region. The people of Isarun are hospitable and conscious of the essence of the town in sociological and morphological metamorphosis of life and living in West Africa. Traditionally, this place is called Isarun Ile-Owuro, meaning, Isarun the early land.  Ancestors told the story of, and preserved evidences, which were handed over to the contemporary aristocracy by their own great progenitors. This is claimed to be independent of the story of Thurstan Shaw who flew there with a helicopter and dug up remains of Stone Age people and their articles of work in 1965 or that of Chief Obele who discovered a cave of ashes, Iho Eleru, five miles from the village in 1922.

All the various analyses and tests of what he found confirmed that Iho Eleru, Isarun is the only place in West Africa with uncontroverted evidence of human habitation at the Stone Age. Shaw’s stance is supported by the findings of scholars who commented on the skeletal properties found in Iwo Eleru in an article titled ” Mystery of a West African skull from 13,000 years ago,” published by Natural History Museum.  Humans with primitive skull features were still living in West Africa 13,000 years ago, much more recently than expected, according to the science reporter.  An international team of scientists studied man skeletal remains from Iho Eleru in Nigeria, West Africa, which was unearthed in 1965. The team was led by Prof Katerina Harvati of the University Tubingen, Germany and Professor Chris Stringer, human origins expert at the Natural History Museum, and author the new book The Origin of Our Species. The skeleton was confirmed as dating to about 13,000 years ago. However, the skull did not look like one from a recent  human, particularly those living in West Africa today, instead, it shared many similarities with African fossil skulls which date to more than 100,000 years ago. This suggests that fully modern humans Africa overlapped with more archaic forms during the last 100,000 years (modern humans, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago). On the right of the cave stands the ruins of an old wall or building where a piece of broken earthenware can be found, thicker than the modern day’s made. The broken pot at the site confirms what Thurstan Shaw and S.G.H Daniels published in West Africa Journal of Archaeology, “Excavation at Iho Eleru, Ondo State, Nigeria 1984. A peep into the cave revealed a dark hollow tunnel which surprisingly accommodates up to thirty persons. This is where the Stone Age people lived[i].

[i] August 20, 2014

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer