bamé - Storage Pits in NE Nigeria

a film by Detlef Gronenborn

[S-VHS version: Frankfurt/Main 1998  |  digitized version: Frankfurt/Main 2008]



Format: MPG
Length: 27 mins
Filesize: 77.1 MB

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Traditional storage pits are still being dug in many parts of Africa.

This film shows the construction of such storage pits in the southern Chad Basin.

These facilities are build yearly for the storage of traditional crops - sorghum and guinea corn.





Kanuri woman pounding guinea corn, north of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria (1992).


Bell-shaped storage pit, firgi plains,
Borno State, Nigeria (1994). Note clay rim foot-rest.

Two different types of storage pits may be distinguished: bell-shaped ones with a pronounced storage chamber and a small entrance, as well as cylindrical ones with a wide opening and walls supported with mats.

Bell-shaped storage pits are constructed outside of villages on clay soils. Such types of pits can be traced back until the beginning of farming in the area.



Cylindrical storage pit, north of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria (1992). Note thorn bushes as protection from animals.

This film covers the various processes of plant curement, harvest and the preparation for storage such as pounding and winnowing.

The construction of the pits and the tools used in this process are described as well as the filling of the pit and its sealing.


Tools used for digging bell-shaped storage pits, firgi region, Borno State, Nigeria (1994).

Field with storage pits and heaps of sorghum prepared for storage, firgi area, Borno State, Nigeria (1995).


Related publications:

Adejumo, B. A. / Raji, A. O. 2007 Technical appraisal of grain storage systems in the Nigerian Sudan Savanna. Agricultural Engineering International: the CIGR Ejournal 11/9, 1-12. []

Gronenborn, D.1995 Ethnoarchäologische Untersuchungen zur rezenten Herstellung und Nutzung von Mahlsteinen in Nordost-Nigeria. In: M. Fansa (hsrg.), Experimentelle Archäologie Bilanz 1994. Archäologische Mitteilungen Nordwestdeutschland Beiheft 8 (Oldenburg) 45-56.

Gronenborn, D. 1997 An ancient storage pit in the SW Chad Basin, Nigeria. Journal of Field Archaeology 24, 431-439.

Obetta, S. E. / Ijabo, O. J. / Satimehin, A. A. 2007 Evaluation of a ventilated undergraound storage for cocoyams (taro). Agricultural Engineering International: the CIGR Ejournal 9, 1-15. [].


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Letzte Änderungen / Last Changes: July 2008