The pottery of the Nigerian Nok Culture.

  • Author: Gabriele Franke
  • Topic: 2000 to 10,000 BP,Metallurgical studies,Pottery studies
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Despite the worldwide prominence of its terracotta figurines, the Nok culture of central Nigeria dated to the first millennium BCE has remained largely unknown, especially its settlements, social organization, economic basis, duration, and regional distribution. However, the artistic uniformity of the terracottas as well as archaeological evidence of early iron metallurgy at Nok sites excavated in the 1960s by Bernard Fagg may be an indication of growing social complexity that developed into the great West African kingdoms of the first millennium CE. Since 2009, Prof. Peter Breunig, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, has started a long-term research project, funded by the German Research Foundation. Central to the first phase of three years is the development of a chronological framework. The analysis of the Nok pottery excavated at various sites is an important part in establishing such a chronology, and is the subject of my dissertation project. I will present here the interim results of my work, focusing on the different decoration techniques and motifs. Based on several new radiocarbon dates from the 2009 excavations, I will look for variations over time that would form the basis of a chronology.

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