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THE NOK CULTURE


Encyclopedia » History
Kaduna

Nok is a village located in Kaduna State Nigeria, 160 kilometers northeast of kwoi in Jema Local Government Area. It was discovered in 1928 during a tin mining operation in the area lead by Lt-Colonel John Dent-Young.  Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 B.C. and later vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD. Its social system is thought to have been highly advanced. It is the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta. The culture eventually evolved into Yoruba Culture of Ife based on its similarities seen in the artwork from the two cultures.

         In 1932, a group of 11 statues in perfect condition was also discovered in Sokoto. And that is how status from kastina was brought to lime light, although there were similarities to the classical Nok style.

 In 1943, another series of clay figurines was also discovered by accidental mining which lead Bernard and Angela Fagg to a systematic excavations that revealed many profitable finds dispersed over the area, much larger than the original site. The number of terra cotta objects discovered in 1977, mining excavation amounted to 153 units, mostly from secondary deposits.
                                           
  Nok sculptures depict animals and humans; their function is still unknown, because scientific field work is still missing. The terracotta figures are hollow, coil built, nearly life sized human heads and bodies that are depicted with highly stylized features, abundant jewellery, and varied postures. Some of the artifacts have been found illustrating a plethora of physical ailments, including debilitating disease and facial paralysis. Other associated pieces include plant and animal motifs.
                                        
Historically, little is known of the original function of the pieces, but analysis includes ancestor portrayal, grave markers, and charms to prevent crop failure, infertility, and illness. Based on the dome-shaped bases found on several figures, they are been used as finials for the roofs of ancient structures.
   In addition, two archaeological sites, Samun Dukiya and Taruga, were found containing Nok art that had remained unmoved. Radiocarbon and thermo-luminescence tests narrowed the sculptures’ age down to between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, making them some of the oldest in West Africa. Because of the similarities between the two sites, archaeologist Graham Connah believes that "Nok artwork represents a style that was adopted by a range of iron-using farming societies of varying cultures, rather than being the diagnostic feature of a particular human group as has often been claimed."
                                    
     Conclusively, archeologists have found human skeletons, stone tools and rock paintings around the area, not to mention their main act. The inhabitants of Nok Village are known to make some of the oldest and culturally intriguing sculptures found in Africa. This has led to discoveries that the ancient culture of Nok has been around for over 2500 years. When strolling through the village your senses will be delighted to rediscover an amazing group of people culturally and socially.
 encyclopedia.logbaby.com
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Updated 6 Years ago
 

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