Ikom monoliths

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The Ikom monoliths are a series of volcanic-stone monoliths from the area of Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria. They are estimated to have been made between 200 and 1850 AD.


Numbering about 300 in total, the monoliths are between 0.3 and 1.8 metres (1 and 6 feet) high, and are laid out in some 30 circles located around Alok in the Ikom area of Cross River State. The monoliths are phallic in form and some feature stylized faces as well as decorative patterns and inscriptions. The forms represent a yet undeciphered ancient writing, a complicated means of storing coded data, and visual communication.[1][2] This writing is often believed to be an ancient form of nsibidi,[3] which would prove its ancient origins.

Conservation risk[edit]

Exposure to extreme weather conditions have put these monoliths at risk of erosion and deterioration. Also, the monoliths are in an area where even those staying by it do not know that they are actually very good tourist attractions. They were recently added to the World Monuments Fund's list of sites in danger and are being considered for inclusion onto UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.

Monoliths in museum collections[edit]

A medium-sized example of an Ikom monolith with human facial features can be found in the British Museum's collection.[4]


External links[edit]