Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationWilliam and Mary, College of
Grant numberGr. 9910
Approve DateOctober 24, 2019
Project TitleLasisi, 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"
The Ijebu kingdom is a known actor of the Atlantic trade, as a nexus between the littoral and the hinterlands of the Yoruba-Edo region of West Africa. Oral traditions, early European travel accounts, and remains of monumental architecture still visible in the landscape point to Ijebu and its capital, Ijebu-Ode, as the center of power. Archaeological surveys conducted in the 1990s revealed that a 180km-long bank-and-ditch system surrounded the kingdom. In 2016, the Ife-Sungbo Archaeological Project excavated the ditch and dated its construction to the late fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth century. My research focuses on the capital of Ijebu, a large urban center that stood in the center of the Ijebu Kingdom. During a preliminary survey in the summer of 2017, I discovered a similar but smaller (in circumference) system of ditch and bank surrounding the capital city that houses the precolonial palatial estate. Using a landscape perspective, this research explores the contours of the practice of space and the way it mirrors the practice of power politics. It investigates what these landscape signatures can tell us about the quotidian life and social stratification of Ijebu-Ode at the transition between the pre-colonial and the Atlantic period.