The Tiv say—and archaeological sites confirm—that before the British "eruption" they lived in stockaded villages of perhaps 500 to 600 people. After the Pax Britannica became effective, they "went to the farm," establishing smaller compounds spread more or less evenly over the land. In 1950 these compounds contained from 12 to 120 people. Eightythree percent of the males in each compound were members of the patrilineage associated with the area; the other 17 percent were descendants of daughters of the lineage living temporarily with their maternal patrilineages.
Reception huts, each identified by the name of a mature male member of the compound, are arranged in a circle or an oval, their entrances facing in toward the center. Behind each reception hut is a sleeping hut for each of that man s wives. A recently married son may build his wife a sleeping hut behind his mother's hut before he has a reception hut of his own. Reception huts are circular, with conical thatched roofs supported on posts. They are open on the sides and as much as 9 meters in diameter. Sleeping huts have solid walls and are usually no more than 4.5 meters in diameter; each contains a cooking fireplace with a storage platform built above it. Granaries of several sorts are associated with sleeping huts.