By Chuk E. And Collin J.
Our ancient civilization is Nok. Nok culture existed from about 500 BCE to 200 CE across a 300-mile stretch of the Benue Plateau region. Because they lived during this time period. interestingly, they made a transition from the Neolithic age, to the Iron Age. This culture existed in a town in Central Nigeria, north of the Niger and Benue rivers, also known as the Benue plateau. It was also near the Jos Plateau. With this location, they were near a body of water, yet the climate was very hot.
Some of the advanced cities located in the Nok culture include Nok, Abuja, Jos, and Kaduna, all located in the country Nigeria All of these still exist today, either as cities or villages. Not much is known about how and why they developed.
There were many different types of advanced work, and people had different jobs such as, burning clay, sculpting terra cotta figurines, making pottery, or even working with stone and/or iron. They could often reshape the iron into weapons, plows, or even military equipment.
They were monotheistic, meaning they believed in one supreme God. Although, their God punished those who violated tradition with crop failures and accidents, he would reward the faithful with harvests and children. Also note that the snake is a popular religious symbol of rebirth for many tribes across Africa.
Advances in Technology
The Nok were an extremely advanced society, with one of the most complex judicial systems of the time, and the earliest producers of life-sized terracotta in the Sub-Sahara. Archaeologists have also found stone tools, rock paintings and iron implements, including fearsome spear points, bracelets, and small knives.
iron is a metal found in rocks. The Nok discovered that by heating certain rocks, they were able to "smelt" iron. Iron is a very useful substance.
It is a known fact that the Nok’s judicial system pre-dates the western judicial system. The Nok people created classes of courts used for adjudicating cases from minor civil cases, such as family disputes and false allegations, to criminal cases such as stealing, murder and adultery. The people believed that every crime attracts a curse which was capable of destroying whole family and therefore must be uncovered to avoid the consequences. The suspect was brought before an open court for traditional oath taking, which involved standing between two monoliths facing the sun, the most supreme god called Nom. The suspect then swore to tell the truth. Cases that cannot be resolved in the open court are taken to the high court which sits within an enclosed shrine. The court was presided over by the Chief Priest and various clan heads. Anyone found guilty was fined goats and chicken for sacrifice to the gods and local wine for the chief priest. The town would then declare a day of celebration on which the people would thank the gods for their graces in successfully resolving the issue and averting doom for the people.
Their system of writing is still unknown today
This artifact also represents their ability and clay-making skills. This culture was very focused on their clay figurines and pottery. Even their early terra cotta show the signs of an advanced culture. Much of the research done on this civilization was based off of their clay inventions, such as the pottery above.
This artifact also shows what the Nok civilization was known for. Besides their skills with clay, they were also big on using stone and iron to make tools,weapons, etc. they were one of the first civilizations to widely use stone and iron for tool-making. With stone and iron, they became one of the first early societies with advanced technology.
This artifact is also one of many clay figurines made by the Nok civilization. Because it is modeled after an animal of some kind, it does not seem to have the same amount of detail that they put into human figurines. This May or may not represent a religious figure.
Primary Source: Map of Africa
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