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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nok Village

                                                 As you approach Nok Village this comes into view
Nok Village in the Jaba Area of Kaduna State is the site of the first finds of terracotta objects in 1928. It is a tourist haven. Hugely historical, archeologists have found human skeletons, stone tools and rock paintings around this area, not to mention the main act. The inhabitants of what is now called Nok Village were known to make some of the oldest and culturally intriguing sculptures found in Africa.

Nok terracotta were scattered at various depths throughout the Sahel grasslands, causing difficulty in the dating and classification of the mysterious artifacts. Luckily, two archaeological sites, Samun Dukiya and Taruga, were found containing Nok art that had remained unmoved and highly valued on the international art market.

The terracotta figures are hollow, coil built, nearly life sized human heads and bodies that are depicted with highly stylised features, abundant jewellery, and varied postures. When strolling through the village your senses will be delighted to rediscover an amazing group of people culturally and socially. 

Weapons of war, terracotta heads of man and animals are abundant as you realize your dream is actually a reality. Nok village is a great place to take your family and be able to learn together about Nigeria’s amazing past.

With its exquisite and precious antiquities as well as tales such as this, it is easy to understand why foreign tourists and scholars flood Nok. Several Archeologist including German researchers, Professor Peter Bronnick and Dr. Nikol Robb have worked at Nok for a month . 

The Nok Museum have great potentials endowed with 10 archaeological sites under Nok, and can easily boasts of the greatest collections of artifacts.” with the host of a mini-gallery, where priceless antiquities are kept.

I and a group of friends set out of Abuja and headed to Nok, Kaduna. The arrangement was to see the museum, check out the caves, hike Kagoro hills and see the Matsirga waterfalls.  it was a smooth trip and quick too. We arrived and were met by a curator who took us around the mini museum and gave us an introduction to the history of Nok art and culture. 
                                                             the museum

According to him, the first major Nok archaeological discovery was made  in 1928, (as stated above) at a tin-mining operation in the Nok Village. It was a terracotta head of a monkey found. 
                                                                    Stone Age 

This was taken to miner museum in Jos and remained a unique object until 1943 when another terracotta head was found in Nok. These finds gained the attention of a British Colonial Administator, Bernard Fagg who was stationed in Jos.

Bernard Fagg

Bernard Fagg studied Classics, Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Cambridge. Various discoveries were made from  the Nok Village, Jema, Taruga in the FCT, and in Niger State and even as far as Katsina-Ala in Benue State. 
                                                               grinding stone

The name “Nok Culture” was given by Bernard Fagg due to the discoveries of the first terracotta figurines in Nok, Kaduna.

The terracotta figurines do not reside in Nigeria due to “security reasons” and the fact that some of these figurines cannot withstand the flight down to Nigeria. 

Tourists from around the world have taken the pains to take a trip into the rural enclave to see, firsthand, the globally acclaimed site of Africa’s first civilization and perhaps the spot where life sized terracotta carvings were first discovered. 

Textbooks have been written about Nok culture that serve as a source of cultural instruction and inspiration for thousands of Nigerian students and their counterparts from around the African continent.

From the museum we were taken to Benard Fagg's compound and we had lunch there. 

We borrowed Bernard Fagg's table for lunch

                                         selfie with the local kids
We brought our own food along, we even shared with the locals, especially the children. 
We checked out the caves, but that will be in my next blog post. 
                                         Bernard Fagg's house
                                         gazebo (I was posing for a photo beneath the gazebo)
                                                 kids waving us goodbye

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