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Department of Archaeology



I obtained both my B.A. (in Archaeology and Tourism) and M.A. (in Cultural Resources Management) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where I was named the Best Graduating Student both times with First Class honours and a Distinction, respectively. I have a Lectureship with the University of Nigeria and am a 2021 Gates Cambridge Scholar. 

My research interests cut across (Post-)Conflict and Memory, Critical Heritage Studies, Sustainable Cultural Heritage Management, Museum Studies, and Community Archaeology, where I also have a growing number of publications and conference presentations. Outside of academia, I love food, football, politics and music.


Civil wars are anything but civil when it comes to their impact on the lives and cultural heritage of communities. Their damages also have lasting legacies. Among the Igbo people of Nigeria, names like ‘Ozoemena’ (‘never again’) and ‘Echezona’ (‘never forget’) continue to be used in reference to the 1967-1970 civil war. Decades later, my Ph.D. research is shedding light on the impacts of the ‘Biafra war’ and its legacies on the cultural heritage of present-day Igboland in Nigeria. I explore the complex interaction of conflict and intangible heritage as well as the dissonances in memorialization, canonization, representation, and silencing. This will contribute an important intangible heritage perspective and a West-African case study to the global heritage-conflict discourse.

Beyond my Ph.D., I am interested in the broader themes of research that cut across sustainable cultural heritage management, museums, community archaeology, and traditional/indigenous knowledge systems.

Key Publications

Key publications: 
  • Onyemechalu, S. J., & Ejiofor, P. F. (2023). Long-distance nationalism, diaspora mobilisation, and the struggle for Biafran self-determination in Nigeria. Ethnicities, (Online First).
  • Onyemechalu, S. J. & Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2021). Íhé Ńkètá and Òkè: concepts and practice of indigenous cultural heritage management in the Igbo cultural area of south-eastern Nigeria. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 12 (4), pp. 609-624.
  • Emeafor, O. F. & Onyemechalu, S. J. (2021) Objectivity in Museums: The Nigeria Civil War according to the National War Museum, Umuahia. The International Journal of The Inclusive Museum, 14 (1), pp. 49 – 70. 18848/1835-2014/CGP/v14i01/49-70
  • Odum, C. J., Onyemechalu, S. J. & Oji, C. C. (2020) Archaeological Investigations: Impacts and Community Expectations in Dunoka, Lejja. Ikenga International Journal of Institute of African Studies, 21 (4), pp. 15 – 32.
Other publications: 
  • Isiani, M.C., Onyemechalu, S.J., Osinem, S.C., Dimelu, S.A. and Obi-Ani, N.A. (2022), "Not all deities were transformed in Igboland: a cultural history of the Api-Opi deity", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.
  • Onyemechalu, S. (2022). C. Holtorf & A. Högberg (ed.). 2021. Cultural heritage and the future. Oxford: Routledge; 978-1-138-82901-5 paperback £34.99. Antiquity, 96(390), 1656-1658. 
  • Isiani, M.C., Obi-Ani, N.A., Akabuike, C.C., Onyemechalu, S.J., Okafor, S.P. and Dimelu, S.A. (2021), "Creativity, spirituality and society: a study in preservation of Ikenga and Ọfọ sculptures in contemporary Igbo society", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.
  • Onyemechalu, S. J. (2019) NVIVO and Technological Innovations in Research: Trends, Approaches, Limitations, and Implications for Qualitative Research. Nsukka Journal of Humanities, 27 (1), pp. 88 – 101

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 
  • Supervisor: Dr. Dacia Viejo-Rose
  • Advisor: Prof. Paul Lane

Other Professional Activities

Lecturer, Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Job Titles

PhD Student in Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Museum Studies
Socio-Politics of the Past
Heritage Management
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

sjo50 [at]


Person keywords: 
Critical Heritage Studies, (Post-)Conflict and Memory, Sustainable Cultural Heritage Management, Museum Studies, Community Archaeology
Heritage Studies
Geographical areas: