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From the same journal

From the same journal

Permanence, Temporality and the Rhythms of Life: Exploring Significance of the Village Arena in Igbo Culture

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Publication details

JournalWorld Archaeology
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - 2018
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)7-22
Early online date1/06/18
Original languageEnglish


The village arena (or ‘square’ or ‘Otobo’ in Nsukka Igbo) is at the physical and socio-cultural centre of Igbo life, in southeast Nigeria. It is a space where intangible Igbo cultural heritage is played out, and also serves as a virtual museum where heritage materials are kept. The arena performs its roles in two very different ways: as a sacred space hosting initiation rites and religious rituals; and as a profane space for meetings and ceremonies. Either way, these uses see the arena transition between permanency and temporality, following routines and rhythms which themselves give the practices meaning and significance, and contribute to their inscription on the landscape. This paper explores the complexities associated with these village arenas with a particular focus on their socio-cultural, political, economic and religious functions through time, as well as the way those complexities are manifest in material cultures that serve to characterize the village arena.

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    Research areas

  • Igbo, Nigeria, Village arena, permanent space, rhythmanalysis, temporary space

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