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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.

142 news items

Pulse Nigeria
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:43:52 -0700

Today we talk about Igbo-Ukwu bronze artifact. They are the oldest bronze artifacts known in West Africa and were manufactured centuries before the emergence of other known bronze producing centers. The Igbo-Ukwu bronzes amazed the world with a very ...


Sun, 24 Jan 2016 11:17:17 -0800

It is in recognition of this that the Federal Government in Nigeria granted approval for the hosting of an annual National New Yam Festival in Igbo- Ukwu to promote the culture and tradition of Ndigbo and new yam festival. The festival takes place at ...

Pulse Nigeria

Pulse Nigeria
Mon, 11 May 2015 07:32:19 -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 17:59:40 -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

Daily Sun
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 22:37:30 -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 ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:05:47 -0700

The popular Ugo Festival in Igboukwu community, Aguata Local Government of Anambra State was essentially established to uphold Igbo culture and tradition. Thus when recently the 2014 edition of the festival was held, researchers, Igbo historians ...


Wed, 12 Oct 2011 16:05:25 -0700

IGBO–Ukwu is an ancient city of Igboland, located at a place, 30 kilometers South-East of Onitsha in the present Anambra State of Nigeria, lying between latitude 50 and 70 North of the equator and longitude 60 and 70 east on the Greenwich Meridien.

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 20:25:33 -0700

This is the case for the Igwe of Igbo-Ukwu, His Royal Highness, Igwe (Dr) Martin Ezeh in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, who recently cried out in an emotion-laden voice for the federal and state governments to come to the rescue of his ...

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