Legend has it that the individuals of Sierra Leone in Africa first uncovered lots of of extraordinary stone figures whereas working their land or looking for diamonds. Found underground or inside caves, they’ve come to be often known as Nomoli figures.
Regardless of being recognized to Africanists, there’s little details about the true origins and function of those enigmatic statues. This has paved the best way for a plethora of curious conspiracy theories associated to extraterrestrial exercise and big reptilian humanoids which counsel that the Nomoli figures date again so far as 19,000 years.
Nomoli figures on show on the British Museum. (John Atherton / CC BY-SA 2.0 )
African Legends Surrounding the Nomoli Figures
The Nomoli figures type a part of a number of historical legends, significantly in southern Sierra Leone . Some declare that these Nomoli figures have been as soon as angels who lived within the Heavens. Nonetheless, as a consequence of their dangerous conduct, God punished them by turning them into people and sending them to Earth.
These enigmatic sculptures are mentioned to have served as a symbolic representations of those fallen angels , a reminder of their banishment from the Heavens and their subsequent life on Earth as people. Such beliefs demonstrated the deep religious and cultural significance of the Nomoli figures, which proceed to fascinate and intrigue students and fanatics alike.
One other legend dictates that the statues represented the previous kings and chiefs of the Sierra Leone area, and that the native Temne individuals would carry out ceremonies throughout which they might deal with the stone figures as in the event that they have been the traditional leaders. The Temne have been finally displaced from the world when it was invaded by the Mende, and the traditions involving the Nomoli figures have been misplaced.
Whereas this type of mythology might present some perception into the origins and functions of the stone collectible figurines, no single legend has been definitively recognized because the supply of the Nomoli figures. At present, some natives in Sierra Leone view the statues because the bringers of good luck , meant as guardians. They place the statues in gardens and fields within the hope of bountiful harvests. In some circumstances, in occasions of dangerous harvest, the Nomoli statues are supposedly ritualistically whipped as punishment.
Element of one of many Nomoli figures on the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium. (Ji-Elle / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Bodily Options of Nomoli Figures from Sierra Leone
There’s an excessive amount of variation within the bodily properties and look of the various Nomoli statues. Carved from completely different supplies, together with soapstone, ivory and granite, a number of the Nomoli figures are small, with the bigger ones reaching heights of 11 inches (28 cm). They differ in colour, from white to yellow, brown or inexperienced.
The Nomoli figures are predominantly human, with their options reflecting a number of human races. Nonetheless, a number of the figures are of a semi-human type – hybrids of each people and animals. In some circumstances, the statues depict a human physique with a lizard head or vice versa.
Different animals represented embody elephants, leopards and monkeys. The figures are sometimes disproportioned, with the heads being giant in comparison with the physique measurement. One statue depicts a human determine driving on the again of the elephant, with the human showing to be a lot bigger in measurement than his mount.
Is that this a illustration of historical African legends of giants, or merely a symbolic depiction of a person driving an elephant with no significance given to their relative measurement? One of many extra widespread options of the Nomoli figures is that of a big frightening-looking grownup determine accompanied by a toddler.
Carved Nomoli determine from Sierra Leone. (Science Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
“Outrageous” Theories: Mysterious Nomoli Figures & Historical Aliens
The dearth of clear details about the Nomoli figures has impressed a variety of conspiracy theories to clarify their historical past. “In actual fact, a number of the claims about these are actually outrageous,” defined a baffled Kathy Curnow in an artwork historical past lecture posted by the Palmer Museum of Art . Some pseudo-historians have said that the Nomoli figures date again so far as 17000 BC, hypothesizing they show the existence of historical giants and even extraterrestrial contact.
There are even articles which affirm that when one of many statues was reduce open, a small, completely spherical metallic ball was discovered inside, which might have required subtle shaping expertise in addition to the flexibility to create extraordinarily excessive melting temperatures.
These researchers have concluded that the metallic spheres have been manufactured from each chromium and metal, an odd discovery on account of the truth that the earliest recognized manufacturing of steel occurred round 2000 BC. If the relationship of the statues again to 17000 BC have been to be correct, how wouldn’t it attainable that the creators of the Nomoli statues have been utilizing and manipulating metal as much as 15,000 years beforehand?
Asserting that the Nomoli figures would have required excessive melting temperatures for his or her creation, or that they contained metal manipulated into completely spherical balls , these theories have even prompt that they have been constructed by a extremely advanced past civilization and even ancient aliens . In following this line of hypothesis, they argue that the invention raises fascinating inquiries concerning the origins and intentions behind the development of the Nomoli statues, together with their timeline and significance to their makers.
Left: Nomoli determine with opening containing metallic ball. Proper: X-ray of statue earlier than it was opened, displaying metallic ball inside. ( Project Avalon )
You Can’t Date Stone: Issues with Relationship the Nomoli Figures
Regardless of in depth analysis and scholarly investigation, a definitive rationalization for the origins, development and performance of the Nomoli statues stays elusive. Regrettably, the absence of concrete proof has opened the door for pseudo-historians to proliferate their unverified theories on-line, resulting in a surfeit of deceptive info.
Based mostly on stylistic comparisons, archaeologist John Atherton and historian Milan Kalous estimated that the Nomoli figures, which have been first talked about in European accounts within the mid-Fifteenth century, truly dated again to concerning the seventh or eighth century AD. Nonetheless, not everybody agrees on the relationship and, for those who’re to imagine all the things you learn on the web, estimates have dated the figures to a while between 500 BC and 17000 BC. As Curnow confused, “you possibly can’t date stone.”
Whereas the Nomoli figures are different in form and sort, they’ve a uniform look that signifies a typical function, which however stays unknown. Curator Frederick Lamp asserted that the figures have been part of Temne tradition and custom, however that upon invasion by the Mende within the mid 1500s, the custom was misplaced because the villages have been displaced to different areas.
With so many questions and uncertainties, we might by no means have definitive solutions as to the relationship, origins and function of the Nomoli figures. For now, they continue to be an impressive illustration of the traditional African civilizations that preceded people who now dwell in Sierra Leone.
High picture: A detailed-up of one of many Nomoli figures on the British Museum. Supply: John Atherton / CC BY-SA 2.0
By M R Reese