Abidemi Babalola


2016-2017: McMillan-Stewart Fellow

The Early Glass Working Industry at Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria

Project Description

The Early Glass Working Industry at Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria.

The project investigates the early glass working industry in Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria. Previous archaeological and historical evidences have proved Ile-Ife to be an ancient urban center, which gained prominence in the region and beyond between the 11th and 16th centuries AD. Among the articles of economic, political, and religious affluence in the city were glass beads. However, no thorough excavations had been carried out on glass beads production sites in Ile-Ife. My 2010 and 2011 – 2012 archaeological excavations at Igbo Olokun revealed a massive glass bead making industry as evident in the recovery of thousands of glass beads with lots of industrial related materials, e.g. crucibles. Initial but thorough studies of these materials formed the bases of my Ph.D. dissertation, which addresses aspects of the technology of the glass working at Igbo Olokun relating to the technique and process of production and the raw materials used and their source(s). In my fellowship project, I contine working on the glass beads and other production related material from Igbo Olokun. Analyses will provide us with a better understanding of early local glass bead production in this West African urban center. The project will also contribute immensely to our knowledge of the role of glass beads in the development of complex societies in the sub-Saharan Africa, as well as its socio-religious symbolism among Africans, African Americans, and African Diasporas.


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