Nok culture was the earliest complex society and culture founded in Nigeria, at the Jos Plateau, named after the town it was discovered. It was discovered in the 1930s during a tin mining excavation. The civilization started around 900 B.C. Nok culture was a transitional culture from the stone age food gathering to iron age food cultivating.

Artistic Tradition

The population sculpted in terracotta. About 200 figurines were unearthed. The figurines are miniature or life size. Most were miniatures, with the smallest measuring 4 inches height. The tallest was 45 inches. They are dated 790 BCE. Figures would be adorned with large beaded jewlry, indicating leadership with complex political system and king providing patronage. It is believed that the sculptures might have been carved in wood and then fired in clay.

Iron Smelting

By 500 B.C., the Nok territory was smelting iron  Whether the population discovered the process independently or imported the process is debated heavily among archaeologist.

About 200 A.D, the culture dissapeared.

Related Article: Timeline of African History

Works Cited

Davidson, Basil. Africa History, Themes and Outlines, revised and expanded edition. New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 20, ISBN 0-684-82667-4.

Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine. The History of African Cities South of the Sahara. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005, pp. 43-45, ISBN 1-55876-303-1

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