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9th century Igbo-Ukwu bronze ceremonial staff head
9th century Igbo-Ukwu bronze ceremonial staff head
Igbo-Ukwu is located in Nigeria
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 6°1′N 7°1′E / 6.017°N 7.017°E / 6.017; 7.017
Country Nigeria
State Anambra
LGA Aguata
 • King His Royal Highness Igwe Dr. Barr. Martin N. Ezeh (Idu II)[1]
Population (2007)
 • Total 79,317
 • Ethnicity Igbo 99%
 • Religion Christianity, Odinani
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Igbo-Ukwu (Igbo: Great Igbo) is a town in the Nigerian state of Anambra in the southeastern part of the country. The town is made up of seven villages, called Obiuno, Ngo, Akukwa, Umudege, Ezihu, Ezigbo and Etiti.[2]

It was in Igbo-Ukwu that Uchenna Nwosu founded the Apex Medical Center.[3]

Archaeological significance[edit]

Human and ram's head pendants from Igbo-Ukwu in the British Museum

Igbo-Ukwu is notable for three archaeological sites, where excavations have found bronze artifacts from a highly sophisticated bronze metal-working culture dating perhaps to the ninth or tenth century, 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 artefacts from the original excavation are now in the British Museum's collection.[4] 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 tribal chief's head with tattoo 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 Richard and 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 around the tenth century or earlier, 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), Igbo Richard (a burial chamber), and Igbo Jonah (a cache).



Alice Apley writes about the work:

"The inhabitants of Igbo-Ukwu had a metalworking art that flourished as early as the ninth century. Three sites have been excavated, revealing hundreds of ritual vessels and regalia castings of bronze or leaded bronze that are among the most inventive and technically accomplished bronzes ever made. The people of Igbo-Ukwu, ancestors of present-day Igbo, were the earliest smithers of copper and its alloys in West Africa, working the metal through hammering, bending, twisting, and incising. They are likely among the earliest groups of West Africans to employ the lost-wax casting techniques in the production of bronze sculptures. Oddly, evidence suggests that their metalworking repertory was limited and Igbo smiths were not familiar with techniques such as raising, soldering, riveting, and wire making, though these techniques were used elsewhere on the continent."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rothmans, William (25 February 2014). "Igwe Eze Calls On FG To Expand Roads". Orient Newspaper. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Fidesnigeria (5 May 2013). "Tension Grips Igboukwu* Leadership Crisis, Gunmen Hold Town Hostage". Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Uchenna Nwosu. Wrapped Soil. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781477173831. 
  4. ^ British Museum Collection [1]
  5. ^ Apley, Alice. "Igbo-Ukwu (ca. 9th century)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°01′N 7°01′E / 6.017°N 7.017°E / 6.017; 7.017

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo-Ukwu — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

95 news items

Daily Times Nigeria

Daily Times Nigeria
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:22:30 -0800

Although a national museum now operates in Igbo-Ukwu, but the Igbo-Ukwu museum opened years before the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM) station started in the town, which is part of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra ...
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:22:30 -0800

The Igbo-Ukwu museum in Anambra state is supposed to be one of the leading museums in Nigeria, but all is not well with the treasure house – on account of years of neglect and pilfering of its conent of its priceless artifacts. Agozino Agozino, who ...
Sat, 13 Jun 2015 00:41:15 -0700

They included the Nok culture or Terracotta, the Igbo-Ukwu culture, the classical Ife sculptures and the Benin court arts, representing the pre-historic section. In the ethnological section, which covered other ethnic group, had, masquerades, figurines ...
Pulse Nigeria
Mon, 11 May 2015 07:26:15 -0700

As a Nigerian student, you must have heard of the popular Igbo Ukwu Bronze discovered in the great Igbo Ukwu town. Igbo-Ukwu (Great Igbo) is a town in the Nigerian state of Anambra, made up of seven villages. The archaeology of Igbo-Ukwu revealed ...
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:56:15 -0700

The pomp and pageantry that attended the grand finale of the five-day New Yam Festival (Iri Ji Ndi Igbo) in Igbo Ukwu on Saturday, 30 August spoke eloquently of the Igbo's rich cultural heritage. The festival which started at the palace of the ...
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 20:18:24 -0700

The Odogwu of Ibusa and Director of Centre for Igbo Studies of the University of Nigeria, Nnsuka, Dr Tony Nwaezeigwe, who corroborated the submission of the Igbo-Ukwu monarch on the efforts Dr Mbanefo at promoting Nigeria's tourism industry, culture ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 23:12:13 -0700

The paramount ruler of Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Martin Ezeh, has declared that the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians by insurgents will not split the country. He predicted that the country will come out of ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 22:53:41 -0700

The Paramount ruler of Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Martin Ezeh, has urged the Federal Government to step up action to rescue over 200 girls abducted in Chibok village by the Boko Haram sect. According to the ...

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