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The name given to the archaeological manifestation of a very early Iron Age settlement on the southern and western slopes of the Jos Plateau in Nigeria. Attention was first drawn to the Iron Age archaeology of this area by the recovery during mining operations of numbers of fine pottery human figurines, some of them life-sized. The detailed and accomplished modelling pays particular attention both to attributes such as beads, stools etc, and also to physical peculiarities or deformities. The associations of these figurines have been demonstrated through the excavation of settlement sites, notably Taruga, dated between the 5th and 3rd centuries be. Here, shallow pits with low surrounding walls served as furnaces for the smelting of iron and were associated with domestic pottery and fragments of characteristic Nok figurines. Unfortunately, the local predecessors and successors of the Nok settlements remain unknown, although it is possible that the clay figurines of Ife may be traced to a Nok stylistic ancestry.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied