“Cross River Akwanshi: the conservation and interpretation of indigenous cultural stones”

Ivor Miller's picture
March 11, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Historic Preservation

Abstract closing date: January 15, 2018

Arrival to Calabar: March 11.

Conference: March 12-13.

University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

Travel to Íkóm for workshop/field trip on stone carving and conservation: March 14-15.

Return to Calabar: March 16.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History and International Studies and the Bassey Andah Institute for African and Asian Studies, University of Calabar; The Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) and The Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation.

            Organized by Dr. Abu Edet, Dr. Frank Enor, Dr. Ivor Miller, University of Calabar.

The Cross River Akwanshi carved monoliths, believed to be over 1,000 years old, are a key West African example of world heritage represented by cultural stones. Like other such phenomena, they are beset by problems of conservation as well as of contextual interpretation. Despite their declaration as national monuments, the Akwanshi are now being looted and destroyed at an accelerating pace, along with their natural and social setting of the Cross River rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants. In response to this unfolding emergency, we are calling together all interested scholars, heritage and museum specialists, community leaders, and representatives of government agencies to learn about the current status of the stones and the growing threats to their environment and host communities

While the Nigerian case is acute, other cultural stone sites globally are also threatened. How best can individual scholars and community leaders respond effectively? How can concerned international agencies help? We welcome scholars to present their own case studies, whether from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Through sharing current research, we aim to create a collective database to support the efforts of concerned people, institutions and relevant agencies. By gathering an international group of scholars from diverse disciplines, we will create the first trans-disciplinary study of cultural stones in Nigeria. Among the participants will be: Archeologists, historians, art historians, rock art experts, ethnographers, anthropologists, geo-scientists, conservators, computer scientists, and photogrammetrists.

Topics in Nigeria and Cameroon:

Akwanshi carved Monoliths (Bakor Communities, Cross River State)

Okwa Judicial Stools (Éjághám communities, Nigeria and Cameroon)

Royal Stones (throughout Nigeria and Cameroon)

Ékpe/ Mgbe ‘leopard’ society stones (S.E. Nigeria and S.W. Cameroon)

Yorùbá thunder stones for Sango thunder god (Yorùbáland and its Caribbean Diaspora).

Rock arts (carvings and paintings on stones and cave walls globally)

Cult stones (examples, Obasinjom, Nfam in S.E. Nigeria and S.W. Cameroon)

Topics for Conservation:

Theories and practice of spatial archaeology (GIS database applications).

Best practices for community participation.

Conservation of monoliths in museums.

Creating a global database on cultural stone conservation.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Abu Edet (edet_abu@yahoo.com / 234-803-596-7414), Dr. Frank Enor (enfrankie@yahoo.com / 234-803-060-4965), Dr. Ivor Miller (234-813-6328-912), University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

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