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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.

81 news items

Daily Times Nigeria

Daily Times Nigeria
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:11:15 -0700

The Igbo Ukwu and Nri Museum are the most significant, as an ancient town in Igbo land with abundant cultural artifacts. Also, the Odinani Museum which was formally run by the University of Ibadan, as a research centre, attracts many foreign visitors ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:45:00 -0700

The paramount ruler of Igbo Ukwu kingdom in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Martin Ezeh, has urged politicians, who contested and lost at the just concluded general elections to accept defeat like President Goodluck Jonathan in ...

Leadership Newspapers

Leadership Newspapers
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:30:00 -0700

According to him, “The establishment of the National Gallery of Arts marked an important landmark in the history of Nigeria's artistic development recorded since the Nok period, through the Ife, Benin and Igbo-Ukwu civilisations to the present ...

The Guardian Nigeria

The Guardian Nigeria
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 17:29:20 -0700

From wall painting to sculpture, stone carving, ceramics, Igbo-ukwu pottery and the rest of them. Life in my city event takes place within Enugu. I want to think it has replaced what AKA used to be. I have forgotten how many of us were in AKA, but the ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 19:10:24 -0700

... □ Staff and students talk of Dr. Uzozie's efforts to turn NOCEN into University of Education. BY EMEKA ONWUDINJO. Universities, polytechnics and colleges of education all over the world are acclaimed as centres of excellence where the best brains ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 16:14:43 -0700

You see a fountain and an image of a Fulani woman using her calabash to throw water into the swimming pool permanently. My photographer has covered the Igbo Ukwu festival, the Ofalla festival in Onitsha as well as others as far as Benin Republic.
Premium Times
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 14:17:09 -0700

The APC said it wondered why the reader cards that recorded 80 per cent during its test run on March 7 in Igbo Ukwu Ward 1, could fail to work in the Saturday election. It, therefore, called for proper independent investigation into the massive ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:15:00 -0700

Also saluting Buhari's victory, the paramount ruler of Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambara State, Igwe Martin Eze, described the duo of President Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari as statesmen whose ...

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