Contemplating public engagement as an empowerment approach in archaeology and heritage management in Nigeria

George Emeka Agbo*, J. Kelechi Ugwuanyi (Lead Author), Uchenna H. Obieluem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In Africa, archaeology came as part of a colonial package whose aim was
to govern and understand the “natives” in the process of „civilising‟ them.
It focused on how African pasts compare to that of Europe; how far
behind Africa was. Being a tool for colonial governance, archaeology and
its related disciplines excluded communities through legislation,
methodologies and interpretation. Research, management, and use were
all legislated and heritage, consequently, became the property of the
colonial government. Independent African states inherited these
legislations with minor amendments. Currently, the exclusion is reflected
through the indifference that some communities have toward their
heritage. This apathy arises out of the colonial attitudes about religion and
racial superiority. The implication is the belief that archaeological and
heritage sites are owned by national institutions and visited by tourists.
Deriving from the tenets of „community‟ and „public‟ archaeology/
heritage, this paper argues that the patterns, forms, and ideologies
inherent in most African heritage can mentally empower communities and
(re)ignite progressive consciousness that can give communities confidence
in themselves and their abilities. It contemplates how archaeology and
heritage can help to secure „ontological security‟ and social capital to
inspire innovations that would encourage community development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-58
Number of pages16
JournalNsukaa Journal of the Humanities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


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