A joint archaeological project between Nigeria and Britain has been announced and will investigate the archaeology of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, including excavating historical remains of the city buried below the proposed site of a new museum.
Excavations at the construction site of the new Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) will begin next year and will incorporate important artefacts unearthed during the dig.
It is believed that the move will be the most extensive archaeological excavation ever undertaken in the southern Nigerian city.
The project is developed with the approval of the Benin Royal Court, the Edo State Government, and the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments. The Legacy Restoration Trust in partnership with the British Museum has secured the equivalent of £3 million (about 1.5 billion Naira) of funding to enable this archaeological project.
The new Edo Museum of West African Art initiative, led by the Legacy Restoration Trust, is focused on reuniting Benin artworks currently within international collections, as well as investigating and presenting the wider histories that these represent.
The EMOWAA Archaeology Project is a fundamental element of the early phase work for the building of the new museum, which will house the most comprehensive display in the world of Benin Bronzes, alongside other collections.