Nok

By Chuk E. And Collin J.

Background Information

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.

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Artifact #1

This first artifact is one of hundreds of terra cotta, or clay, figurines. This society is mainly known for the hundreds of sophisticated clay figurines they've made. They have very good quality for how old they are, and the details are very precise. The size of their figures range from small and detailed to life-size. Their purpose is still unknown, wether they were religious figures, or they represented past leaders.

Information

Advanced Cities

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.

Social Structure

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.

Religion

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.

Government

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

Conclusion

Around 500 B.C.E, a small civilization emerged in the Benue Plateau Valley known as the Nok civilization. Not too much is known about these people or their culture. They were not as wealthy as the civilizations in Europe and Asia. They had lives of farming and sculpting. The artifacts that have been found show that they used iron tools to plow and farm the land, and as the oldest-known iron-based culture of West Africa, the they left behind impressive and surprisingly sophisticated terra cotta sculpture and ironwork. The vast abundance of their artifacts, ranging from large scale sculpture to jewelry. With all of this, they were highly skilled and technologically advanced.

Primary Source: Map of Africa

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MLA Cites

"Nok culture." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

"Antiquity Journal." Antiquity Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014. P

"The Nok of Nigeria Archaeology Magazine Archive." The Nok of Nigeria - Archaeology Magazine Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

"United State returns 11 cultural artifacts to Nigeria." Pilot Africa News. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

"South-Africa-Stone-Tools." Anthropologynet. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

"The People of Nok - World History For Kids - By KidsPast.com." The People of Nok - World History For Kids