This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Igbo-Ukwu" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
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
 • KingIgwe (His Royal Highness) Martin N. Ezeh (Idu II)[1]
 • Total79,317
 • Ethnicity
Igbo 99%
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)
National languageIgbo

Igbo-Ukwu (English: Great Igbo) is a town in the Nigerian state of Anambra in the south-central part of the country. The town comprises three quarters namely Obiuno, Ngo, and Ihite (an agglomeration of 4 quarters) with several villages within each quarter and thirty-six (36) administrative wards. It is also bordered by Ora-eri, Ichida, Azigbo, Ezinifite, Amichi, Isuofia, Ikenga and some other towns.[2]

Archaeological significance

Main article: Archaeology of Igbo-Ukwu

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 to 9th century AD, 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 artifacts from the original excavation are now in the British Museum's collection.[3] 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 local chief's head with scarification (ichi) 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 to 850 AD,[4] which would make the Igbo-Ukwu culture the earliest-known example of bronze casting in the region. 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). Artifacts found in these sites have shown that by the 9th century AD, the Igbo-Ukwu people had established a complex religious system and an economy based on agriculture and trade with other African peoples as far as the Nile valley.


Artifact of Igbo ukwu

Main article: Archaeology of Igbo-Ukwu

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 (originally known as Igbo-Nkwo), 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]



In Igbo-Ukwu, the dry season is muggy and partially cloudy, and the climate is warm all year round. The wet season is oppressive and overcast. The average annual temperature fluctuates between 64°F and 85°F, rarely falling below 56°F or rising over 88°F.[6]

The difference in temperature in Igbo-Ukwu is so little throughout the year that talking about hot and cold seasons isn't really helpful.[7]

See also


  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". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  3. ^ British Museum Collection
  4. ^ Thurstan Shaw, Those Igbo-Ukwu radiocarbon dates: facts, fictions, and probabilities, Journal of African History, 1975
  5. ^ Apley, Alice. "Igbo-Ukwu (ca. 9th century)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  6. ^ "Igbo-Ukwu Climate, Weather By Month, Average Temperature (Nigeria) - Weather Spark". Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  7. ^ "Simulated historical climate & weather data for Igbo-Ukwu". meteoblue. Retrieved 2023-08-12.

6°01′N 7°01′E / 6.017°N 7.017°E / 6.017; 7.017