Olanrewaju Blessing Lasisi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

William and Mary, College of

Grant number

Gr. 9910

Approve Date

October 24, 2019

Project Title

Lasisi, Olanrewaju (William and Mary, College of) "Landscapes of Valor: Investigating Power and Social Space of a pre-Atlantic aged kingdom in the shaping of the Global commerce, AD 1300-1900"

OLADUNI TINA LASISI, then a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in October 2019 to aid research on “Investigating the Thermoregulatory Function, Genetic Architecture, and Evolutionary History of Human Scalp Hair Morphology,” supervised by Dr. Nina Jablonski. This research was carried out in the ancient palace of Ijebu-Ode, the capital of Ijebu kingdom. The grantee excavated fifteen units at the King’s quarters, Queen’s quarters, background forest, and Palace courtyards. These series of excavations yielded diverse range of artifacts of royalty including, beads, bronze bell anklets, knife blades, etc. Of great importance is the discovery of the first evidence of ceramic pavement in Ijebu kingdom. Two pavements were found at the palace complex; one is a carved pavement that is an effigy of a local deity, the other is a geometric pavement with astronomical alignments that might have been used as a sundial in ancient times. Overall, the research showed how the spatial layout within the palace complex is a reflection of the spatial layout of the Ijebu kingdom itself. The King’s palace complex was designed to reflect cosmic worldviews by paying attention to astronomy, and symbolically placing gardens, ritual spaces, etc. in specific cardinal points on the landscape. The entire city on the other hand also follows suit with surrounding towns deliberately designed spirally around the capital while paying homage the palace complex during the time of the year when the sun is just beginning its movement on the horizon. This research showed that behind the organization of a landscape of valor lies a well-designed and integrated architecture, ritual/religion, astronomy, politics, governance, and commerce, all of which functioned as a system.