History in stones: The OOPL Archaeological site

Archaeological sites within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta
History in stones: The OOPL Archaeological site

Over and over again, we emphasize that part of our mission at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) is to: preserve the past, capture the present, inspire the future and promote culture and tourism.

Therefore, one might say that the decision to build the first Presidential Library in Africa on this particular site in Abeokuta was fate. With OOPL’s mission to promote African culture and heritage, choosing a site with potential significance in Nigerian history and anthropology is a strange coincidence.

In the course of development work on the complex, several interesting sites were stumbled upon. Some of these sites include rocks that contained spherical dents frequently and unevenly distributed across the rocks.

A team of four archaeologists and anthropologists led by Professor JO Aleru from the department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, set out to examin these sites to determine their archaeological significance.

Principal among these are two sites located within the Wildlife Park, which are dated as far back as between 11,000 and 18,000 BC. Charcoal samples from the sites suggests that hunters and food gatherers inhabited them. The grinding hollows may be indicative of food processing or the pounding of Elu indigo dye.

In the Cactus grove, the discovered stone arrowheads may have been used for big West African forest game that has since become extinct in the region.

Whether you agree or choose to challenge these suggestions, it is safe to say that building a historical monument like the  OOPL complex among archaeological sites is a one beautiful coincidence. Typically, sites such as these that may hold archaeological or historical significance are often  destroyed or ignored. However, in the presence of an institution that understands the significance of preservation, this may be a milestone in taking archaeology in Nigeria and Africa forward.

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