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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Introduction to the Northcote W. Thomas Project

Welcome to the Northcote W. Thomas project, where you will be able to explore part of the extraordinary collection of Northcote Whitridge Thomas (1868-1936) held at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge.

The collection encompasses over 2000 objects and historical photographs from Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The pieces you can see here were accumulated during Thomas' fieldwork in Edo Land, Nigeria during 1909-1913.

This website has been funded by the Alborada Trust to make Thomas's unique collections accessible to audiences in Nigeria and the rest of the world. It is a continuation of research conducted by Dr Ohioma Pogoson, Associate Professor at the Institute of African Studies, Universiy of Ibadan, Nigeria and a specialist in the material of what is now Edo State in South Nigeria. Dr Pogoson was a visiting fellow in Cambridge in 2012/13 and has worked with MAA to draw new attention to this important collection.

We hope this site will allow people in Edo State to further engage with this important aspect of their heritge, and raise awareness of the art and material culture of the region more widely. 

A note on the captions:

As all of the artefacts shown here originate from the Edo people in Edo State, South Nigeria, each artefact is captioned with its town or village of origin (which may have several different spellings) as well as the name of the cultural sub-group of its makers or owners.

We would welcome any inquiries or comments about the collection or what you see on the site. Please contact

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.