Photo Credit: The Benin Bronzes on display at the British Museum.
Given the historic location, archaeological excavation and research, heritage restoration and management to a key focus of EMOWAA’s work.
THE ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT
Unearthing hidden and endangered cultural codes
EMOWAA is working with a range of Nigerian researchers and academic institutions, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, MOE+ Art Architects, and international partners to carry out the most comprehensive archaeological programme ever undertaken in Benin City.
The project, which began in 2022, involves surveys of the Museum site and the wider surroundings to understand the buried archaeological features of Benin City and target further excavations.
In tandem with the archaeological project is an initiative to restore earthworks and historic monuments and develop a linear park that will enable visitors to experience aspects of the ancient city. Providing employment and training opportunities for young people in Nigeria, the archaeological project will inform curatorial narratives and future displays at EMOWAA.
Despite the catastrophic destruction of the 1897 invasion, fire and looting, the traditional culture of Benin City survives and persists to a remarkable degree. From the famous Igun Street – home of the famous brass casters – to the many shrines scattered across the centre of the city and the folk songs, stories and dances that live on into the present.
Through documenting these traditions, and talking to the contemporary communities where they survive, EMOWAA seeks to provide context and meaning to the material culture the project recovers from its excavations and studies over the coming years.