Posts tagged ‘Archaeological Association of Nigeria’


agreement between Archaeological Association of Nigeria, and Nigerian National Commission and Goethe University

Arts/media consultant Tajudeen Sowole has reported a ‘truce‘ between the stakeholders(1) in the controversy over German archaeologists’ work in Nigeria(2); the issue ‘appears to have been resolved’. I do not want to be undiplomatic, and thereby to endanger that truce; but, for the record, I do want to clarify the nature of the truce.

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According to the Archaeological Association of Nigeria (AAN), I am ‘an attack dog for the Germans’; and ‘cheap’!

The Archaeological Association of Nigeria (AAN) accused German archaeologists of looting; then the Goethe University, Frankfurt archaeologists refuted the allegations; then the AAN repeated its claims.

An attack dog for the Germans

Now, the President of the AAN, Dr. Zacharys Anger Gundu, has commented on my review of the AAN’s repeated claims…

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The AAN has repeated its allegations of Frankfurt archaeologists looting in Nigeria; but it has provided no evidence

I have the AAN’s response to the Frankfurt archaeologists’ defence.

It is an eight-page response, so this is a tl;dr post (of more than 2,500 words). I’ve included a depressing summary for those who can’t face the depressing whole; or, a reassuring summary for those who can’t be bothered with the reassuring whole.

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German archaeologists refute allegations of looting Nok culture in Nigeria

In my last post, I queried recent claims of German archaeologists looting Nigerian archaeological sites. One of those archaeologists, Prof. Peter Breunig, was kind enough to send me their letter to the Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA), which confirmed my suspicions.

So, I have uploaded the German archaeologists’ refutations of Nigerian archaeologists’ accusations of looting (DOC), and I have summarised the facts of the matter here.

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German archaeologists looting Nigerian archaeological sites, or rescuing them?

Recently, there have been reports that German archaeologists loot Nigerian artefacts; and that German corporations help.(1) They repeat five claims: first, that German archaeologists run the looting in Nigeria; second, that German corporations fund the looting; third, that corrupt state officials participate in the plunder of the country; fourth, that half of the artefacts in Nigerian museums are fakes; and fifth, that the Nigerian cultural heritage profession is unable to protect the country’s cultural resources.

Here, I will summarise all five claims, but I want to concentrate on the first, most explosive one, that German archaeologists bribe local communities for access to archaeological sites, then loot them. (Hat tip, @looted_heritage and its crowdmap; and @arttheft.)  It appears to be partly a misunderstanding, partly a misrepresentation.

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