Sacred groves are ubiquitous on the cultural landscape of Ilé-Ifẹ̀ and they have been the site of most archaeological research in the ancient Yoruba city. But these studies have been driven by the view that sacred groves were places of static ritual traditions. Recovering the paraphernalia of those rituals, especially the exquisite sculptures, therefore preoccupied the pioneering archaeological research in Ilé-Ifẹ̀. In contrast, the historical trajectories that defined the evolution and transformation of these groves as dynamic cultural sites have not been undertaken. We make the case in this article that sacred groves are dynamic and meaningful sites for historical negotiation. With this perspective, we conducted archaeological study of Odùduwà Grove in Ile-Ife with the goal to understand the broad sociocultural processes that have shaped the cultural landscape of the grove across different registers of time. The archaeological evidence in Odùduwà Grove dates back to at least the fourteenth century. We focus this article on the evolution of the grove during the twentieth century with emphasis on the materiality of colonial and postcolonial modernity and its implications for rituals of royal coronation, sacrificial rites, and feasting.
Agbaje-Williams, B., Ajekigbe, P.G. & Nwosu, I.A.2015. Yoruba Pottery Collections at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago (U.S.A.). Unpublished research report available at Field Museum, Chicago.
Akyeampong, E. & Ntewusu, S.A.2014. Rum, gin and maize: Deities and ritual change in the Gold Coast during the Atlantic Era (16th century to 1850). In : Chastanet, M., Chouin, G., De Lima, D. & Guindeuil, T. (eds.), Eating and Drinking in Africa before the 20th century. Cuisines, Exchanges, Social Constructions. Afriques 20. http://afriques.revues.org/1651.
Allsworth-Jones, P.2010. Ethnoarchaeology at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Ibadan: excavation of the mound at Adesina Oja in the Archaeological Reserve. In: Allsworth-Jones, P. (ed.), West African Archaeology: New Developments, New Perspectives. Archaeopress, Oxford, pp. 139-156.
Chouin, G.2009. Forests of Power and Memory: An Archaeology of Sacred Groves in the Eguafo Polity, Southern Ghana (c. 500-1900 A.D.). Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University.
Chouin, G., Ogunfolakan, A., Poissonnier, B., Georges, P. & Roth, L.2016. Re-excavating Ife’s Town Wall at Ita Yemoo: New light on the chronology of an Early Yoruba settlement. Paper presented at the 23rd Biennial Conference of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, Toulouse, France.
Dietler, M.2001. Theorizing the feast: rituals of consumption, commensal politics, and power in African contexts. In: Dietler, M. & Hayden, B. (eds.), Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 65-114.
Eluyemi, O.1975. The role of oral traditions in the archaeological investigation of the history of Ife. In: Abimbola, W. (ed.), Yoruba Oral Traditions. Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Ife, pp. 115-156.
Gijanto, L.2014. Events and happenings: Uncommon meals and the Atlantic trade at 18th century Juffure (The Gambia). In: Chastanet, M., Chouin, G., De Lima, D. & Guindeuil, T. (eds.), Eating and Drinking in Africa before the 20th century. Cuisines, Exchanges, Social Constructions. Afriques 20. http://afriques.revues.org/1618
Ogundiran, A.2003. Chronology, material culture, and pathways to the cultural history of Yoruba-Edo region, Nigeria, 500 B.C.-A.D. 1800. In: Falola, T. & Jennings, C. (eds.), Sources and Methods in African History: Spoken, Written, Unearthed. University of Rochester Press, Rochester (NY), pp. 33-79.
Ogundiran, A.2014. The Osun-Osogbo grove as a social common and an uncommon ground: An analysis of patrimonial patronage in postcolonial Nigeria. International Journal of Cultural Property21 (2), 173-198.
Ogundiran, A.2015. A multiplex landscape: Explorations of place and practice in Osun Grove, Nigeria. In: Beardsley, J. (ed.), Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, pp. 293-322.
OgundiranA. & Ogunfolakan, A.Inventorying the Cultural and Natural Resources of Odùduwà Grove, Ile-Ife: Implications for Public Education and Sustainable Management. Presentation at the Natural History Museum, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. July 28 2015.
Otoide, L.2005. Prelude to the British “Punitive Expedition” to Benin: An analysis of the Gallwey Treaty of 1892. In: Ogundiran, A. (ed.), Precolonial Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola. Africa World Press, Trenton (NJ), pp. 525-536.