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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 Igob-Ukwu that Uchenna Nwosu founded the Apex Medical Center.[3]

Archaeological significance[edit]

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. 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."[4]

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. ^ 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.
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20 news items

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 ...
Daily Sun
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:35:30 -0700

Igwe of Igbo-Ukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr. Martin Ezeh has sympathised with the Synagogue Church of All Nations over collapse of the church's Guest House, which claimed scores of lives in Lagos. According to the royal ...
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:56:15 -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 ...
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 18:41:15 -0700

Shaw significantly won the hearts of the Igbo people, by his work in revealing their rich ancient heritage; as well as his stubborn insistence in retention of those artefacts in Nigeria, as a sacred trust for the Igbo-Ukwu and Nri people, effectively ...

Nigerian Tribune

Nigerian Tribune
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:00:21 -0700

The port of call of the NTDC boss in Ugbo Ukwu community in Anambra State for the celebration of this year's Iri Ji Ndi Igbo was the Igbo-Ukwu palace to pay homage to the Idu II of Igbo-Ukwu, HRH Idu (Dr.) Martin Ezeh. HRH Ezeh while reacting to the ...
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 03:41:15 -0700

... Onunaekwuluora: The Legacy Of Professor Thurstan Shaw documents his revelation of the rich ancient heritage of the Igbos and his stubborn insistence in retention of the artifacts dating as far back as 9 AD in Nigeria, as a sacred trust for the Igbo ...
Nigerian Observer
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 08:22:30 -0700

Ajayi also said that the number-plates could be obtained through the same offices or through direction from the unit offices in Onitsha, Nnewi, Nteje, Ihiala, Oraifite and Igbo-Ukwu. There are syndicates that specialise in the sale of ready-made ...
The Guardian
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:26:15 -0700

Presently, the NCMM manages and oversees over forty-five museums and outlets spread across the country. These include museums in Abeokuta, Aba, Akure, Asaba, Benin, Calabar, Esie, Enugu, Ibadan, Igbo-Ukwu, Ile-Ife, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, ...

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