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Ikom Monoliths

Cross River State, Nigeria


Nigeria is a beautiful place with amazing landmarks and cultural monuments. The Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths are unique to Cross River State in Nigeria. The Akwasnshi/Atal, as the monolith is called among the Ejagham people of Cross River, is distributed among over thirty communities. The Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths were added to the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. A monolith is a large single upright block of stone, especially one shaped into or serving as a pillar or monument.

In each community, the stones are found in circles, sometimes perfect circles, facing each other standing erect, except where they have been tampered with by weather or man. In some cases, the stones are found in the center of the village or in the central meeting place of the village elders, as in the case of Alok and Agba communities.


In Etinan and Nabrokpa communities, the stones are located in an area of uncultivated forest outside the villages. The majority of the stones are carved in hard, medium-textured basaltic rock, a few are carved in sandstone and shelly limestone. The common features of the monoliths are that they are hewn into the form of a phallus ranging from about three feet in height to about five and half feet and are decorated with carvings of geometric and stylized human features, notably two eyes, an open mouth, a head crowned with rings, a stylized pointed beard, an elaborately marked navel, two decorative hands with five fingers, a nose, various shape of facial marks.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity


The stone monoliths of Alok Ikom bear a form of writing and a complex system of codified information. Although they seem to share the same general features, each stone, like the human finger print, is unique from every other stone in its design and execution.


The geometric images on the monoliths suggest that their makers possessed more than a basic knowledge of mathematics, not only because they are geometric, but also because of the obvious implication that there were computations and numbers on the layout of the stones.


Comparison with other similar properties


The Ikom monoliths with their geometric inscriptions could be compared to the rock Arts of Tanzania. The meanings of the codified symbol are known to only the artists. These are also associated with their origin, which is like most rock art works in Africa. Ikom monoliths could be West Africa's answer to United Kingdom's Stonehenge.


They are similar in arrangement and ordering to the Stone circuits in the Gambia, but unique in their complexity of design and interpretation.


Story by https://twitter.com/AfricaStars2

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