The region where Benin kingdom is situated is invariably one of the youngest settlements in prehistoric times but politically influential.Universally, the age of settlements is traced using archeology of settlement.Archeology simply means remnants of what your ancestors left behind thousands of years ago which can be subjected to radiocarbon dating to give a specific date of the year they lived .This can be in form of bones/skeleton,clay pots,pieces of glass,mud houses,pipes,charcoal or shell.Hence there were people already living in Igboland and Yoruba land before the region where Benin and igala kingdoms are found today. To discuss this lets have a breakdown of the oldest archeology of settlement from the most ancient to recent.
Archeology of cultural significance
1.Igbo ukwu .....8TH-9TH century AD.
2.Ile ife ......12th century AD.
3.Benin .......14th century AD.
4.Idah.....14th century AD.
These are archeology of cultural significance. However there were evidence of human settlements in Igboland as far back as 3000BC (Afigbo, Lejja) and Iwo-eleru as far back as 13,000 years where a humanoid skull was found.
In precolonial era,due to the fluidity of movement, people moved and settled anywhere since there was no state demarcation, hence Igbo speaking people had already settled in the region of Idu (now Benin) and Idah ,with Yoruba admixture as well in those areas.
This accounts for the reason why the region of Benin and Idah(kogi) have a heavy admixture of Igbos/Yoruba in addition to the natives who arrived later..
However, the region of Benin grew into a powerful kingdom, same with Igala areas later around 15th to 17th centuries. The hostilities forced many to retreat back to where they have more of their people with similar language. The Igbo's within made a retreat backwards towards east while the yoruboid speakers moved west..
Located at the centre of a highly populous and cultural groups, the Benin people adopted alot of cultural traits from both Igbos and Yoruba, while they in turn had influence on their immediate neighbours. Benin region marks the transition between the Igbo and Yoruba cultures.

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