The Archaeology of Benin :
excavations and other researches in and around Benin City, Nigeria
Graham Connah
Benin City

So much has been written about the 'Court Art' of Benin that the subject does not require a long introduction. Hardly any reputable Ethnographic Museum exists in the world today which does not have a piece or two of Benin 'bronze', wood, or ivory sculpture. Yet the origins of this art have always been a matter for speculation.

Graham Connah's book is the first attempt to probe further into antiquity in order to give depth to the study of these ancient works of art. It contains a summary of excavations previously, carried out in Benin by eminent archaeologists, in addition to Graham Connah's own sustained field work between 1961 and 1964. The author has carefully assessed all the archaeological evidence and in so doing he directs the reader towards what may be called a three dimensional view of Benin art - aesthetic, historical and scientific. The result is illuminating.

The success of this work, as will be obvious to the reader, is due to the meticulous way in which Graham Connah conducted his excavations and also to the scholarly way in which he has compiled his report. It is a great credit to a man who is already respected among his colleagues as one of the most competent field archaeologists in West Africa. I believe the book will occupy a prominent place amongst those of its kind.

The Archaeology of Benin appears at a time when Nigerian historical teaching and research has become predominantly concerned with African history before the advent of the Europeans. It is hoped, therefore, that it will be of great interest not only to those who are already familiar with the art of Benin but also to all our educational institutions, and to all those who wish to extend their knowledge beyond the works of art per se to the very foundation of the City whose civilization had so much influence on the history of West Africa.

Chief A. Y. Eke


Reference Information
Connah, G. 1975
The Archaeology Of Benin:
Excavations and other
researches in and around
Benin City, Nigeria.
Clarendon Press : Oxford

Pages - 266
(plus photographs)

ISBN - 0 19 920063 7



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