Abidemi Babalola

Abidemi Babalola


Doctorate in Anthropology from Rice University
The Early Glass Working Industry at Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria
McMillan-Stewart Fellow
2016-2017 Academic Year

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola earned his PhD in Anthropology from Rice University, Houston with specialization in African Archaeology. He holds a Masters in Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  He was a pre-doctoral fellow at the University College London in Qatar (UCLQ). In the spring of 2016, Dr. Babalola was a Visiting Researcher at UCLQ. His research interests include Early Technologies, material culture and society, and Africana and African American Studies. His doctoral  research focuses on the production of a African indigenous glass at a workshop in Ile-Ife Nigeria that dates back to over a thousand years ago. His paper presentation titled "New perspectives on the archaeology of Ile-Ife, Southwest Nigeria" won the Society for Africanist Archaeologists (SAFA) graduate student paper prize in 2012.

Project Description

The Early Glass Working Industry at Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria.

The project investigates the early glass working industry in Igbo Olokun, Ile-Ife Nigeria. Previous archaeological and historical evidences have proved Ile-Ife to be an ancient urban center, which gained prominence in the region and beyond between the 11th and 16th centuries AD. Among the articles of economic, political, and religious affluence in the city were glass beads. However, no thorough excavations had been carried out on glass beads production sites in Ile-Ife. My 2010 and 2011 – 2012 archaeological excavations at Igbo Olokun revealed a massive glass bead making industry as evident in the recovery of thousands of glass beads with lots of industrial related materials, e.g. crucibles. Initial but thorough studies of these materials formed the bases of my Ph.D. dissertation, which addresses aspects of the technology of the glass working at Igbo Olokun relating to the technique and process of production and the raw materials used and their source(s). In my fellowship project, I contine working on the glass beads and other production related material from Igbo Olokun. Analyses will provide us with a better understanding of early local glass bead production in this West African urban center. The project will also contribute immensely to our knowledge of the role of glass beads in the development of complex societies in the sub-Saharan Africa, as well as its socio-religious symbolism among Africans, African Americans, and African Diasporas.

2016-2017: McMillan-Stewart Fellow

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