Nok

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Nok

 

an archaeological culture that was widespread from circa 900 B.C. to the second century A.D. over what is now northern and central Nigeria. It is named after the site of the first finds, discovered in 1931, in the village of Nok, southwest of the town of Jos. Especially significant were the terra-cotta heads of a very pronounced African racial type. Ranging in size from several centimeters to life-size, the heads are noted for their sharp, almost grotesque expressions, vigorous modeling of the typified bulks, and distinct and strong modeling of the main facial features. The portraits display a certain similarity in style to the sculpture of the Yoruba, which permits the assumption that the Nok culture originated with the ancestors of the modern peoples of western Sudan. Other finds include sculpted representations of animals (an elephant’s head, a figurine of a crouching monkey) decorated with various designs, ornaments made of pearl, fragmerits of vessels, and polished stone axes and adzes that evidently were used for working with wood. Also of great interest are the fragments of iron artifacts that, in the opinion of the British archaeologist B. Fagg, date from the earliest stage of ironworking in Africa.

REFERENCES

Ol’derogge, D. A. Iskusstvo narodov Zapadnoi Afriki v muzeiakh SSSR. Leningrad-Moscow, 1958.
Mirimanov, V. B., and G. A. Chernova. Iskusstvo Afriki. Moscow, 1964.
Mirimanov, V. B. “Nakhodki v doline Nok.” In the collection Afrika eshche ne otkryta. Moscow, 1967.
Fagg, B. E. B. “The Nok Culture in Prehistory.” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, 1959, vol. 1, no. 4.
Fagg, W. Nigerian Images. London-New York, 1963.