The Ikom monoliths are a series of volcanic-stone monoliths from the area of Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria. Allison estimated that the monoliths may have been engraved between the sixteenth and twentieth century CE.
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.
Since Cross River was divided, it now belongs to Akwa Ibom State. The monoliths are phallic in form and some feature stylized faces as well as decorative patterns and inscriptions.
Although the carvings have not been deciphered, researchers and linguists believe that the inscriptions may represent a form of writing and visual communication.
UNESCO described the stone monoliths as sharing the same general features just like the human fingerprint but is unique from other kinds of stone from its design and execution.
The geometric images on the monoliths also suggest that their makers possessed more than a basic knowledge of mathematics, not only because they are geometric, but also because of the obvious implication that there were computations and numbers on the layout of the stones.
The monoliths were added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of sites in danger in 2008.
The Ikom monoliths with their geometric inscriptions could be compared to the rock Arts of Tanzania.
The meanings of the codified symbol are known to only the artists. These are also associated with their origin, which is like most rock artworks in Africa. Ikom monoliths could be West Africa’s answer to United Kingdom’s Stonehenge.
They are similar in arrangement and ordering to the Stone circuits in the Gambia, but unique in their complexity of design and interpretation.
In 2020, Ikom monoliths were found by U.S Customs and Border Protection to be coming in to Miami International Airport under fraudulent documents. The artifacts are being returned to Cameroon.
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