By Ike A. Offor
Some local pit diggers or excavators have made a very surprising findings while they were digging. They stumbled on what seems to be an interesting archeological find, that could open a floodgate of further findings for ancient artifacts.
The Igbo of Nigeria in West Africa were known for bronze culture known as Igbo Ukwu, which dates back to 1500BC to 300 AD and they were among the first to work with iron and bronze smelting and moulding in human history. These findings seem to be the very same iron and bronze works dating back to NOK culture or Igbo Ukwu era in early human history.
The bronze artifacts of Igbo Ukwu dates to 9th Century AD according to Wikipedia.
The Nok people of Nigeria were smelters of iron but also agriculturalists. C. Elliott describes how the culture they founded may have a deep effect upon the ancient history of Africa.
Igbo-Ukwu is notable for three archaeological sites, where excavations have found bronze artifacts from a highly sophisticated bronze metal-working culture dating to 9th century AD, centuries before other known bronzes of the region.
The first, called Igbo Isaiah, was uncovered in 1938 by Isaiah Anozie, a local villager, who found the bronze works while digging beside his home. Five bronze artifacts from the original excavation are now in the British Museum‘s collection. They include a small staff, a head of a ram, a large manilla, an intricately designed crescent-shaped vessel and a small pendant in the shape of a local chief’s head with scarification (ichi) marks on the face.
Formal excavations by the archaeologist Thurstan Shaw in 1959 at the request of the Nigerian government, resulted in the discovery of two other sites, Igbo Richardand Igbo Jonah, containing the remains of an ancient culture. Later, these were excavated as well. Artifacts have included jewelry, ceramics, a corpse adorned in what appears to be regalia, and many assorted bronze, copper, and iron objects. Some of these contain materials that are evidence of a long-distance trading system extending to Egypt.
Radiocarbon dating placed the sites to 850 AD, which would make the Igbo-Ukwu culture the earliest-known example of bronze casting in the region. The craftsmen were working centuries before those who made the more well-known Ife bronzes. The archaeological sites in southeastern Nigeria are associated with the Nri-Igbo. The three sites include Igbo Isaiah (a shrine), IgboRichard (a burial chamber), and Igbo Jonah (a cache). Artifacts found in these sites have shown that by the 9th century AD, the Igbo-Ukwu people had established a complex religious system and an economy based on agriculture and trade with other African peoples as far as the Nile valley.
The NOK culture covered the entire region of West Africa, and Igbo Ukwu, which covers the entire South Eastern Nigeria. Anambra, where these youths made this finding is a perfect area where likely artifacts of great archeological values could be found. So, it is most likely that what these youths stumbled upon could be of a great archeological value.
It could as well be newer and not as old as the olden days NOK culture iron works or the Igbo Ukwu bronze archeological findings. But whatever it is, it is something that needs further studies by the professional archeologists from within Nigeria and beyond.
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