Archaeology of Rule

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

Nigeria; Yoruba (Ife) artist

Oni figure


H. 37 cm (14 9/16")

National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria, 13 (79.R.9)

Photo by Dirk Bakker


Kingdoms rose and fell through the course of African history, and we must rely on a variety of sources to reconstruct the histories of these states, including oral traditions, archaeology, written sources, and architectural ruins. Archaeological research has been uneven in Africa due to the lack of funding and also to the difficulties of excavating in a tropical environment. Nevertheless, remarkable finds have been made in Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and many other countries.