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Annika Schmidt
Revealing the Hidden - pXRF Multi-Element Analysis of Nok Culture Features (Central Nigeria)

282 Seiten, Dissertation Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt/Main (2019), Hardcover, D4

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

The Nok Culture of Central Nigeria is known for its sophisticated terracotta figurines initially described in the 1950s by the British archaeologist Bernard Fagg. Since 2009, the Nok Culture has been the subject of research at the Goethe University Frankfurt within the scope of a long-term project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). This book is the outcome of a PhD thesis that involved pXRF analysis of features associated with the Nok Culture, namely stone-pot-arrangements and pit features.

Stone-pot-arrangements are considered to be burials, indicated by arranged and modified stones associated with complete pots and, in a few cases, a necklace made of stone beads. However, the absence of bones and other skeletal remains meant that their interpretation as burials was unresolved. The interpretation of pits or pit-like structures, of various shapes and sizes, also remained inconclusive.

Employing pXRF analysis succeeded in revealing traces of a decomposed body, supporting the hypothesis of stone-pot-arrangements being interments. Together with the analysis of pits, new ideas about the formation and use of Nok sites were advanced. These culminated in a 'patchwork model' that assumes a repetitive cycle of utilising land for farming, settlements and burials, followed by abandonment and subsequent re-visiting and re-use of the formerly abandoned land.