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UNIT 6: Order and Early Societies

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Igbo-Ukwu: Archaeology and Early States

Sometimes, archaeology and ethnography (the study of modern people in their natural settings) can provide evidence that forces scholars to rethink the nature of the past. Such was the case when a site in the forest region of Nigeria, Igbo-Ukwu, was discovered to contain the remnants of a complex, settled, agricultural society.

In the past, scholars believed that such societies had been absent from African forest regions. They also believed that centralization of some kind or another needed to accompany the development of complex societies. This segment uses Igbo-Ukwu to demonstrate that complex societies did not have to be centralized.

Indeed, a combination of archaeological evidence and the study of modern Ibo peoples in Nigeria led scholars to believe that the people of Igbo-Ukwu ordered their society through a system of self-governing villages headed by family leaders. Instead of the highly stratified social hierarchy of centralized kingdoms or city-states, the social order of Igbo-Ukwu emphasized common goals and group achievements. The discovery of Igbo-Ukwu has provided yet another model by which scholars understand how ancient people ordered their worlds.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Dirk Bakker, BRONZE BOWL FROM THE IGBO UKWU SITE (n.d.). Courtesy of Dirk Bakker.

Dirk Bakker, BRONZE BOWL FROM THE IGBO UKWU SITE (n.d.). Courtesy of Dirk Bakker.


Dirk Bakker, BRONZE BOWL FROM THE IGBO UKWU SITE (n.d.). Courtesy of Dirk Bakker.

Dirk Bakker, PENDANT, BRONZE, FROM THE IGBO UKWU SITE (n.d.). Courtesy of Dirk Bakker.



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