Tomos Llywelyn Evans

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

William and Mary, College of

Grant number

Gr. 10418

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Evans, Tomos (William and Mary, College of) "Monumental Amalgamation: An Inclusive Approach to Long-term Community Engagement with the Ìjèbú Yorùbá Earthwork System of Sungbo's Eredo"

At 100 miles in its circumference, the monumental earthwork system of Sungbo’s Eredo, southwest Nigeria, is an unprecedented architectural triumph. The Eredo is testament to the significant technological expertise, architectural knowhow, and complex socio-political dynamics of the ‘j’b’ Yor’b’ living in its vicinity, who amalgamated the monumental features of this earthwork and its surrounding landscape over centuries. Ethnocentric interpretations of the Eredo conceptualise it as part of an elite-driven ‘master plan’: the end-result of the top-down agency of powerful rulers imposed upon a landscape of passive subjects for defence and social control. This research problematizes this by exploring the long-term chronology of Sungbo’s Eredo; the diverse, competitive agencies of various collectives in its generation; and the evolving, amalgamated functions and meanings of it over the longue dur’e of its existence according to ‘j’b’ Yor’b’ ontologies and epistemologies. To investigate these little-explored aspects of the Eredo’s story, this research aims to acquire novel empirical data from archaeological excavations and survey, archival work, and ethnographic research pertaining to the Eredo landscape and its myriad contemporary shrine sites. It aims to produce interpretations of Sungbo’s Eredo that relate more closely to the ideas, philosophies, and aspirations of those who’ve long inhabited its landscape.