From next year, officials in Nigeria and the British Museum will take part in an archaeological dig to look for royal treasures in the former African kingdom of Benin. The excavation, described as the “most extensive ever undertaken” in Benin City, will begin at a site adjacent to the palace of the Oba, Benin’s traditional ruler, AFP reported.
Nigeria has said it will build a new museum at that site to exhibit looted Benin Bronzes currently displayed in American and European museums. The 10,000-square-foot museum — the Edo Museum of West African Art –is being designed by the trailblazing Ghanaian-British architect, David Adjaye and is due to open in Benin City in four years.
Benin City was the capital of Benin Kingdom, one of the most highly developed states in Africa, when it was ransacked and burnt down in 1897 by British forces. Its destruction in what became known as the Benin Expedition of 1897 led to the fall of the once successful and well-recognized Benin Kingdom located in what is now southern Nigeria.