Development of Niger Valley people (credit: AncientAfricanHistory.com) 1. Ounjougou (9400 BC) - early on pottery2. Dabous (8000 BC) - largest old petroglyphs3. Gobero (7550 BC) - oldest graveyard, early on aqualithic culture4. Dufuna (6500 BC) - second oldest dugout canoe5. Tassili N"ajjer (6000 BC) - beforehand boats, trained cattle, horses6. Oued Mertoutek (3000 BC) - at an early stage writing7. Lower Tilemsi valley (2500 BC) - oldest tamed millet 8. Dahr Tichit (2000 BC) - at an early stage city 9. Lejja (2000 BC) - oldest iron smelting10. Nok (1500 BC) - at an early stage iron smelting, terracotta statues
Niger valley Civilization The Niger Valley describes the 2,597-mile Niger River"s watershed and also its environs, a vast region spanningthe lush Delta an ar of southern Nigeria, north to the dried highlands of southerly Algeria, and west come the lush highlands of Guinea. Contradictory to well-known belief, this region of West Africa has been populated for tens of hundreds of years. The Niger Valley, in particular, lies south of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, where excavators recently discovered the world"s earliest early modern-day humans (300,000 BC), and north that Iwo Eleru, Nigeria, whereby 13,000-year-old human remains have actually been found.And despite widespread ignorance that West african history, over there is an abundance of historical evidence and written accounts obtainable to aid us map the breakthrough of this region"s progressed ancient and also medieval civilizations. At an early stage Niger Valley cultures were the an initial to practice ceremonial burials, domesticate millet and also smelt iron, and also were amongst the firsts come write, do pottery, domesticate cattle, and use boats for travel. Their markets and strong trading networks offered rise to rich empires and city-states who stone, earthen and walled urban were pundit hubs that the middle ages world. beforehand PotteryArchaeologists indigenous the college of Geneva dated ceramic sherds found at the Ravin du Hibou website at Ounjougou, Mali to 9400 BC, make them among the earliest ceramics in the human being (only pottery found in Sudan, Japan, China and also Siberia,
The Dabous Giraffes in Niger (8000 BC) (credit: Bradshaw Foundation)
which are normally dated to 10,000-12,000 BC, are supposedly older). Situated in the sink of Yamé (west that the within Niger Delta), the ancient, so-called Ounjougou culture lived where the Dogon world reside today. And comparable to their current use that ceramics to boil grains and cereal, archaeologists posit the the old pottery was offered for the exact same purposes. World"s Largest old PetroglyphsThe Tenere Desert in Niger is home to end 800 old rock carvings the depict humans and also animals, including the largest ancient petroglyphs in the world. At Dabous, about 150 miles north the Agadez, lie comprehensive rock carvings of life-size giraffes, the biggest of i m sorry is 18 feet lengthy (adult giraffes are usually 15-20 feet tall). Excavators date the petroglyphs come 8000 BC, one era when the Tenere Desert was likely greener (as further described below) and more hospitable because that both giraffes and also humans. At an early stage Aqualithic and also Pastoral Civilization; oldest Graveyard Farther southern at Gobero, also in Niger"s Tenere Desert, archaeologists from the university of Chicago uncovered the stays of an advanced civilization that dates to 8000 BC and continuously lived in this site for practically 5,000 years (so-called "Kiffian Culture"). This site offers one the the earliest instances of domesticating cattle and also practicing ceremonial burials, through the earliest graveyard in the world. Moreover, numerous old harpoons, fish hooks and also pottery v wavy lines, which archaeologists generally associate v pre-historic populations that greatly fished, were amongst the earliest artefacts identified at the site. Over there were additionally the 8,250-year-old remains of catfish, tilapia and also hippos, additional evidencing the the climate was as soon as much much more humid 보다 today.
Pottery shard with wavy present (8000 BC) (credit: Paul Sereno)
One of plenty of harpoons uncovered at Gobero (8000 BC) (credit: Paul Sereno)
The Dufuna Canoe (6500 BC) being hoisted the end of the ground; currently housed in ~ the national Museum at Damaturu, Nigeria (credit: Peter Breunig)
Second earliest Known watercraft in the WorldHeavy fishing and also riparian searching led beforehand Niger Valley people to boating over 8,500 years ago. Among the oldest boats ever discovered anywhere in the world, the so-called Dufuna Canoe (6500 BC), was partially found by a Fulani cattle herdsman digging a well close to Dufuna, Nigeria. This site is not far from the Komadugu Gana River, a tributary of Lake Chad, i beg your pardon would have actually beenmuch larger in that era. Measure up 27.6 feet long, the Dufuna Canoe is nearly 3 times the size of and carved in a much more sophisticatedmanner 보다 the so-called Pesse canoe, i beg your pardon was found in the Netherlandsand is believed to it is in the only watercraft older than the Dufuna canoe. The Dufuna discovery demonstrates old Nigerians" beforehand use the advanced an innovation and possibly maritime trade. at an early stage Depictions of Boats and Domesticated Cattle
Rock art depicting boats and domesticated livestock at Tassili N"Ajjer, Algeria (6000 BC) (credit: Gruban)
Depictions of boats additionally appear about 6000 BC in Saharan rock arts at Tassili N"Ajjer in southerly Algeria, i beg your pardon hosts roughly 15,000 old rock drawings, some dating together far back as12,000 BC, however most dating to 6000 BC. Such boats show up alongside the photos of civilization usingbows and arrows, saying boats may have been offered for searching or early on naval warfare. current studies have likewise shown the the Sahara may alternative between 20,000-year wet and also dry cycles, so the desert would have actually been replete v rivers and also lakes throughout the time the rock paintings were drawn. The plenty of depictions that longhorn trained cattle, which feed turn off grass, provide further evidence that this desertwas as soon as green. Together rock paints of humpless, longhorn livestock predate all others outside Somalia (i.e. Laas Geel) and aregenerally thought about by archaeologists to represent the domesticated Bos Taurus species. Together depictions demonstrate thatdomesticated cows were existing in Africa as early on or previously than in Asia. Early on AgricultureWest Africa is residence to the world"s oldest proof of tamed millet, attesting to the region"slong background of agriculture. Dating ago 4,500 years, the grew millet was established by university College London archaeologistsat a website in Mali"s reduced Tilemsi Valley and is century older 보다 examples found elsewhere in Africa and also Asia. Farther west, excavators identified an ext evidence of domesticated millet dating to 2000 BC atDahrs Tichit and also Walata in southern Mauritania and also hundreds the miles away in Birimu, Ghana, which mirrors the an excellent extent the neolithic farming in West Africa. In addition to millet, early people in this an ar widely cultivated rice. And recent analyses the rice genomes make it clear that African grew rice (Oryza glaberrima) was trained independently from the much more globally popular oriental rice (Oryza sativa). Researchers also pinpointed the inner Niger Delta (i.e. The section of the river between Timbuktu and also Djenne-Djenno) together the most likely birthplace of african rice at least 2,000 year ago, withthe oldest evidence from ancient city of Djenne-Djenno in Mali. Such findings break longheld misbeliefs that African rice was derived from eastern rice carried to West Africa much later on in history.
A Nok terracotta frostbite (195 BC)
Oldest iron Smelting and also Early Terracotta & copper SculptureAncient Niger Valley civilizations widely practiced advanced metallurgy and also sculpting. In Lejja, a town in the Niger Delta an ar of southerly Nigeria, archaeologists have radiocarbon dated iron-smelting furnaces to 2000 BC, making castle the oldest in the world. Proof of stole smelting and terracotta ceramic have additionally been discovered north of the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers in Nigeria, whereby the so-called Nok culture thrived as early as 1500 BC. In the Taruga valley alone, 13 old iron smelting furnaces, along with ancient iron tools and weaponry have actually been identified. And also in Taruga, Samun Dukiya, Jos, Sokoto, and Nok in particular, numerous intricate terracotta statues have been uncovered, part dating together far earlier as 1000 BC--centuries enlarge than any known Greek sculpture. The Nok statues depict men and women put on ornate costumes and also jewelry--some ~ above horseback, rather in symbolic and also abstract gestures and also poses. At some point the popular of sculpting inclay gave way to iron and also bronze. In ~ numerous archaeological sites in south-east Nigeria, such as Igbo-Ukwo, there space hundreds of instances of 1,200-year-old, intricate bronze sculptures using progressed methods the Europeans walk not learn until the 1500s.
Terracotta statue of a woman (200 BC) (credit: Siyajkak)
Terracotta statue the a guy (200 BC)
Bronze ship in the shape of a conical shell, uncovered at Igbo-Ukwu (800) (credit: Ochiwar)
Bronze ornament found at Igbo-Ukwu (800) (credit: Ochiwar)
Famous Ife heads made of brass and also designed in a naturalistic format (1300s) (credit: Trustees the the brother Museum)
In addition to iron and bronze, sculpting in other steels such together copper, lead, zinc and also alloys such as brass (copper/zinc) gained popularity throughout medieval times, especially in the industrial cities the the lower Niger Valley. Large-scale production of metallic sculptures and also other objects like farming and hunting tools and weaponry, fueled the growth and influence the the cook Yoruba city of Ife and the Edo city that Benin. In this part of the Niger Valley, in particular, metalworking was considered to it is in a ritualistic practice and also blacksmiths were very valued and also honored professionals.
Major cities in the Niger sink (credit: AncientAfricanHistory.com)
Medieval Cities and the rise of Empires Other old agrarian and industrial Niger valley towns grew into rich centers that trade as result of their strategy location in between the mineral mines come the south and the salt mines in the Sahara. When some major cities, particularly Kano, Katsina and also Zaria in Hausaland, kept their independence, other major cities were linked under the very first documented realms in the Niger Valley, many notably Wagadu or Ghana (700-1240), Benin or Edo (1000s-1897), Mali (1235-1670) and Songhai (1464-1591). In fact, pottery from Egypt and as far away as China were found while excavating the Wagadu resources city of Gao--a testament to its significant trade networks (archaeologists at various other sites, such as Yikpabongo in north Ghana (the modern-day country, not to be perplexed with the Ghana Empire), have actually even discovered evidence the the medieval use the bananas and pine, which space not native to the Niger Valley). The wide range of this an ar was well recorded throughout the medieval world. Although originally called "Wagadu" by establishing Emperor Kaya Maghan (700), the much more widely known name, "Ghana", comes from Iraqi scholar Ibrahim al-Fazari (777), who referred to as it the "land that gold." Al-Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Hamdani (893-945 AD), a Yemeni geographer and historian, also described Ghana as having the "richest yellow mines on earth."
Mansa Musa, emperor the the Mali Empire, ~ above the Catalan Atlas (1375)
Al Bakri, a historian and also geographer indigenous Cordoba (former caliphate in Spain), likewise said, "On every donkey-load that salt the King the Ghana levies one golden dinar once it is carried into his country and two dinars as soon as it is sent out out." and also Mali Emperor Mansa Musa ns (1280-1337) to be famously depicted with a gold crown and also coin in the Catalan Atlas (possibly created by Iberian cartographer Abraham Cresques in 1375) and is widely thought about the wealthiest historic number in the world. Despite their mineral wealth, Niger Valley cities would come to be even an ext famous for their huge collections and trade of academic books, particularly Timbuktu, which was explained by Malian scholar, Mahmud Kati (1468-1552), in his Tarikh al Fettash as a city with"solid institutions, political liberties, purity that morals...courtesy and also generosity towards students and also scholars" -- making the an international intellectual mecca unparalleled in the middle ages world.
Stone ruins of Gao, a resources of the Wagadu empire (900) (credit: Mamadou Cisee, Shoichiro Takezawa)
Stone damages of Kumbi Saleh, the very first capital of the Wagadu realm (700) (credit: Serge Robert)
Mosque of Tichit, Mauritania (1100) (credit: Ville de Tichitt, Mauritanie)
Medieval rock buildings in Tichit (1000), a major Soninke city the was cleared up by 2000 BC and was component of the Wagadu, Songhai and also Mali empires (credit: Ville de Tichitt, Mauritanie)
Gate the the initial earthen wall surface encircling Kano, Nigeria (1000)
Gates the the original earthen wall that encircled Zaria, Nigeria (1000)
Reconstructed gateway come Gidan Rumfa, the emir"s royal residence in Kano (1475)
A liven street in front of medieval buildings in Kano, Nigeria (founded in 999)
second Oldest college (outside the the Nile Valley)
University of Sankore, v the middle ages city the Timbuktu in the background
Timbuktu is additionally the site of the world"s 2nd oldest university (excluding ancient Nile valley temples), developed in 989 together the University/Mosque that Sankore Madrasah. In ~ its height, the college enrolled 25,000 students and also housed as much as 700,000 books--more than anywhere else in the middle ages world. Contradictory to famous belief, the above pyramid-like structure is do of cut stone (not mud brick), covered with a dirt stucco that is periodically stripped and renewed--a exercise that keeps the internal cool during the day and warm in ~ night.
Medieval manuscripts native the Djenne Library (credit: Sophie Sarin)
Largest middle ages Libraries; early Literary IndustryTimbuktu and other Niger Valley urban such as Gao, Kano and Djenne stayed intellectual and literary hubs for centuries, attractingscholars from almost everywhere the world. In ~ their elevation (1200-1700), such urban were widely known for their big collections that mathematical, astronomical, religious, poetic, legal and administrative texts, including over 700,000 that have been revealedin recent years. Timbuktu"s literary culture and industry, in particular, room thoroughly explained in medieval literature. Mohammed al-Wazzan al-Zayati (aka Leo Africanus), who saw Timbuktu in 1509, wrote that "Many manuscripts...are offered . Such sales are more rewarding than any type of other goods." In the Tariqh al-Sudan (1600), a book that chronicles the city"s history, Timbuktu is defined as "a refuge that scholarly and righteous folk, a haunt that saints and ascetics, and also a meeting place for caravans and also boats." Indeed, Mansa Musa ns purchased publications here and also eventually constructed the good Mosque the Timbuktu in 1326.A bulk of the so-called "Timbuktu manuscripts" and other regional books were written in the 1300s-1600s in West african Ajami script, which has actually been used because at least the 11th century to write in details West afri languages, including Kanuri, Hausa, Fulani, Wolof and Yoruba. Although derived from the Arabic script, the 2 scripts differ in certain respects.