Purpose: Conventional valuation methodology has proved inadequate to capture cultural heritage value in African Commonwealth countries. The paper addressed grey valuation methodology issues in Nigeria, which was presented as a case study of an African country facing unresolved methodology. The paper identified and examined cultural heritage property types compulsorily acquired in Delta State, Nigeria between 2002 and 2011, identified the diverse compensation valuation methodology adopted by valuers, examined the factors that influenced methodology and investigated stakeholders’ perceptions of the compensation adequacy. This was with a view to providing guiding principles for appropriate compensation valuation of African heritage properties.

Design/methods: Primary data were collected through field observations of acquired heritage sites as well as three sets of questionnaire administered on community heads of eight identified expropriated communities, all the thirty-three registered firms of valuation surveyors in the study area and directors of the public acquiring agencies in Delta State. 

Findings: The study identified 33 shrines, 5 cemeteries, 3.traditional forests, 2 historical buildings, 1 sacred grove, 1 battleground and 1 palace which were compulsorily acquired and subsequently valued for compulsory acquisition in the 8 communities. The major heads of claim employed in their valuations were the value of unexhausted improvements, resettlement costs and cultural expenses. The valuation techniques adopted were direct comparison, cost of resettlement and contingent valuation. Major factors that influenced the choice of heads of claim were valuer conservatism (a resort to conventional heads), government bias for resettlement and the demand of claimants for compensation for disturbance of sacred property. Significant variation was observed between the expectations of the stakeholders on cultural valuation methodology and valuation practice. The study concluded that valuers’ approaches to cultural heritage property valuation in the study area require wider valuation basis and scope of heads of claim.

Practical implications: The paper clarifies grey areas that exist in Nigerian heritage valuation methodology and provides information needed for reviews of the valuation components of compensation laws. 

Originality/Value: This paper addresses practical methodological problems experienced in the valuation of heritage property in in African Commonwealth countries."