A brief report is given on preliminary results of a study dedicated to the Nok Culture of Central Nigeria. The Nok Culture is mainly known by its terracottas which represent the earliest figurative art in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the context of the art remains almost completely unknown. For this reason our study was focussed on settlement sites. It resulted in promising discoveries which need to be investigated in more detail in the future.
Between 2005 and 2013, new archaeometallurgical finds and features in central Nigeria resulted from several excavation campaigns conducted by the Nok research project, Goethe University, Frankfurt. This article presents the first excavation results and compares the newly generated data to the publications on the Nok iron smelting site of Taruga from 40 years ago. All newly excavated sites find close resemblance in each other in regards to dates in the middle of the first millennium BCE, furnace design, find distribution and find properties. In some cases, the finds from the Taruga valley fit in the new and homogeneous picture of Nok iron metallurgy. However, Taruga differs from the new sites in its variety of furnace design and number of furnaces.
Whereas furnace bases with a width of around one meter based on slag pits partially filled with slag seem to be the rule for all newly excavated Nok furnaces, only some furnaces at Taruga exhibit these characteristics. Furnace variability at Taruga could be explained by a longer and/or subsequent site usage through time. Modern era finds like a clay smoking pipe, the higher number of furnaces per site as well as a higher dispersion of absolute dates and the variability of furnace design could support this assumption. This paper concentrates on the archaeological context of a specific type of early iron technology in central Nigeria; ongoing archaeometric analysis of all related finds will be presented elsewhere.
The Central Nigerian Nok Culture and its well-known terracotta figurines have been the focus of a joint research project between the Goethe University Frankfurt and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in Nigeria since 2005. One major research question concerns chronological aspects of the Nok Culture, for which a period from around the middle of the first millennium BC to the first centuries AD had been suggested by previous investigations. This paper presents and discusses the radiocarbon and luminescence dates obtained by the Frankfurt Nok project. Combining the absolute dates with the results of a comprehensive pottery analysis, a chronology for the Nok Culture has been developed. An early phase of the Nok Culture’s development begins around the middle of the second millennium BC. Its main phase, in which terracotta figurines and iron production appear, starts in the 9th century BC and ends in the 4th century BC. A later phase with vanishing evidence extends into the last centuries BC. On sites dating from the first centuries AD onwards no more Nok terracotta or pottery are found; the end of the Nok Culture is thus set around the turn of the Common Era.
ON MASKS AND AUDIBLE GHOSTS: SOME SECRET MALE CULTS IN CENTRALNIGERIA1 BY ELIZABETH ISICHEI (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) Introduction This paper analyses a number of cults in and near southern Kaduna State, in what is conventionally and conveniently called Southern Zaria
www.brill.nl/jrt Prosperity Gospel: A Case Study of Benue State in North-CentralNigeria Godwin I. Akper Founding director, Institute for Public Th eolog y and Development Studies, Mkar, Benue State Nigeria; Lecturer, University of Mkar, Mkar, Benue State, Nigeria E-mail:gakper2000@yahoo
Until recently the Nigerian Nok Culture had primarily been known for its terracotta sculptures and the existence of iron metallurgy, providing some of the earliest evidence for artistic sculpting and iron working in sub-Saharan Africa. Research was resumed in 2005 to understand the Nok Culture phenomenon, employing a holistic approach in which the sculptures and iron metallurgy remain central, but which likewise covers other archaeological aspects including chronology, settlement patterns, economy, and the environment as key research themes. In the beginning of this endeavour the development of social complexity during the duration of the Nok Culture constituted a focal point. However, after nearly ten years of research and an abundance of new data the initial hypothesis can no longer be maintained. Rather than attributes of social complexity like signs of inequality, hierarchy, nucleation of settlement systems, communal and public monuments, or alternative African versions of complexity discussed in recent years, it has become apparent that the Nok Culture, no matter which concept is followed, developed complexity only in terms of ritual. Relevant information and arguments for the transition of the theoretical background are provided here.
The Transformation of CentralNigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola. Austin, Texas, usa : African University Press, 2017. 485 pp. isbn : 978-1-943533-16-9. Price not stated.
Getting Our Universities Back On Track: Reflections and Governance Paradigms From My Vice-Chancellorship . Austin
The 15th – 17th century AD was a period of sociopolitical changes throughout Yorubaland. A critical review of the traditional histories and the results of recent archaeological research in Igbomina reveal that these changes were not restricted to the central Yoruba areas but also manifested in the Yoruba periphery. Ila has been described as a major regional polity in northern Yoruba, whose early development may have followed a similar trajectory as the Old Oyo state. This paper is a report of our recent archaeological survey, excavation, and finds at Ila-Iyara, the major Ila political center occupied between the 14th and 17th centuries. Ila-Iyara exhibits evidence of large elite center, fortifications, sacred sites, iron working, and ceramic types similar to those found at Oyo, Ife, and Benin. The archaeological work in Ila-Iyara also provides further insight into the processes of socio-political development, the dynamics of changes, and the different web of interactions on the Yoruba northern frontier prior to the 18th century.