Unearthing the lost city of heliopolis (igbo okwu) the lost celestial capital of the gods of egypt and dravidian india

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Author: Professor Catherine Obianuju Acholonu
Institutional Affiliation: Director, Catherine Acholonu Research Center, Abuja, Nigeria.
In 1950, Thurstan Shaw, a British Archaeologist excavated Igbo Ukwu, the bastion of ancient Igbo
civilization and unearthed what could easily fill an entire museum from only three pits. Igbo
Ukwu goods proved to be an enigma because it had no relationship with any other goods excavated in
other parts of Nigeria or Africa. To add to the puzzle, it was found to relate more to India and this was
stated in all studies done at the time. Since 1990, Professor Catherine Acholonu has been conducting field
and library research on African Pre-history. In the process she has discovered that ancient Africans wrote
inscriptions on stone, pottery and metal, and that most of the items found in Igbo Ukwu carry symbols
also found in ancient Egypt, India and throughout the Middle East. Based on these Acholonu took her
research team to Igbo Ukwu to conduct interviews and found out that random ‘excavation’ of buried
metal, pottery and piles of beads have been going on for as long as the town has been in existence
(continuing even after Shaw’s excavation), yet no one within living memory knows who left them. She
concluded that Igbo Ukwu is standing on a lost city of time immemorial – a Pre-Historic civilization!

(More of Acholonu's write ups and relevant images from her researchon diverse related topics are to be found on the official website of Catherine Acholonu ResearchCenter: www.carcafriculture.org)

Catherine Acholonu Research Center, Abuja, Nigeria

PMB 5197, Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria

email and web: ikomgram@yahoo.com; www.carcafriculture.org





The Catherine Acholonu Research Center is announcing the completion of its third and
concluding ground-breaking volume of the Adam Trilogy, under the title -

  1. The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam – Unearthing Heliopolis/Igbo Ukwu - The Celestial City of the Gods of Egypt and India.

The first two volumes were -

2. The Gram Code of African Adam, Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations (2005)
3. They Lived Before Adam: Pre-historic Origins of the Igbo – The Never-Been-Ruled (2009).


They Lived Before Adam won the 2009 International Book Awards in USA under the Multi-

Cultural Non-Fiction category. It also won two Awards at the 2009 Harlem Book Fair in New
York and was presented/aired thrice on C-Span Book TV in July and August, 2009 in USA.1


The Catherine Acholonu Research Center has been carrying out break-through cultural,

linguistic and anthropological research since 1990 on African Pre-History. Most of its findings,
published under various titles have brought new, ground-breaking information to change
globally accepted, but erroneous notions that indigenous Africans had no history, no form of
writing, no organized technology and no part in the making of human civilization.
In 2005, the Catherine Acholonu Research Center published the first in what it calls The
African Adam Series, under the title The Gram Code of African Adam – Stone Books and Cave
Libraries: Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations. That book won for Dr.
Catherine Acholonu, the award of Professor of African History and Philosophy from Pilgrims
University and Theological Seminary, Africa Campus, Aba, Nigeria. The Gram Code was an
attempt at understanding African Rock Art and traditional symbols as means of expression,
communication and information storage. Co-authored with Dr. Ajay Prabhakar, an Indian
software technology engineer, the 480-page book was an analysis of pre-historic inscriptions on
the ancient monoliths, located in the forests and village-squares in Ikom local community in
Cross River State, Nigeria. It was also an analysis of cave art, paintings and inscriptions located
in North, West, East and Southern Africa. Our findings and conclusions based on these
studies and analyses, were that Pre-Historic Africans used cave art and rock inscriptions as
means of expression, communication and information storage, most of which were
embedded in ritual practices of indigenous peoples. Our findings were presented at several
international forums in Nigeria and abroad. In partnership with the United Nations Forum of Arts
and Culture, the Catherine Acholonu Center nominated Ikom monoliths of Cross River State for
listing in the World Monument Fund Watch List of endangered sites. The monoliths were sub-
sequently listed in the 2008 WMF Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites2, and since then
the monoliths have generated and gained greater global and local interest, so much so that that
they are now listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Website as displaying ancient inscri-
ptions of mathematical and archaeological symbols and an unknown writing system, all thanks to
the research findings and publications of the Catherine Acholonu research team. Our work is the
first serious study of African Rock Art as a writing system and the first publication of an

elaborate study on the subject.

The success of The Gram Code buoyed our researchers to the potential immanent on the
African continent and in indigenous African artefacts, local symbols, rituals and of course the
folk traditions and folklore that have been preserved with them through the ages. Accordingly in
our second book They Lived Before Adam: Pre-Historic Origins of The Igbo, The Never-Been-
Ruled (2009) co-authored with Ajay Prabhakar and Eddy Olumba, we took a closer look at the
oral traditions of Nigerian peoples, comparing them with written traditions from other parts of
the world.3 We also conducted deeper comparative analyses of words and expressions from
various continents which were found to be cognates of Igbo language. This was necessary
because, as noted in The Gram Code4, we had found similarities between Ikom monoliths
inscriptions and Sumerian Proto-Cuneiform, but also with Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Dravidian
Malayalam. We had actually discovered an unknown inscription made up of parts of known
inscriptions from several ancient languages, such as those already mentioned. This unknown
inscription, which was very akin to Dravidian Indian Malayalam writing system, was found, not
only on the monoliths, but especially on the Igbo-Ukwu archaeological finds made by British
archaeologist Thurstan Shaw in the 1950s5. In fact it was thanks to matching inscriptions/
symbols which we found both on the Igbo Ukwu bronzes and on the monoliths that we were able
to break the code of the monoliths. This implied that the monoliths and the bronzes of Igbo
Ukwu might have a common origin/culture or range of meanings.
Our studies revealed that one particular form of writing found on the bronzes of Igbo
Ukwu involves using the curves of a serpent to form letters. This form of orthography was
known in very early times in India, and was called Snake Science 6. It was also known that the
Phoenicians were taught Snake Science writing by Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, and that
the most basic letters of the Phoenician alphabet (the mother of the Greek Alphabet) were written
in the form of the curves of a serpent, e.g. the Phoenician letter theth, which stands for the name
of Thoth and for his sacred number – nine – is written like a serpent curling itself up. These
discoveries raise questions as to the link between Igbo Ukwu and Egypt as well as with India.
The presence of elements from the Indian Malayalam, Phoenician and Egyptian elements and
writing systems in Igbo-Ukwu and on the monoliths, draw an undeniable connection between
ancient Nigeria and India, Phoenicia, the Middle East and with Thoth’s Egypt.
This discovery began to open a new perspective on African history, providing a window
into the question posed by Thurstan Shaw, the British archaeologist who excavated Igbo Ukwu
sixty years ago as to why the artefacts excavated at Igbo-Ukwu were Indian in style, imagery and
craftsmanship.7 It became obvious that there was a Pre-historic cultural and historical link
between Igbo Ukwu, India and Egypt in particular and the Middle East in general.8
In They Lived Before Adam, our researchers pursued these questions, and in The Lost
Testament, we answered them. We also answered the million dollar question posed by Thurstan
Shaw which no one has been able to answer since he excavated Igbo Ukwu, namely, Who was
the royal personage buried at Igbo Ukwu whose bones were found lying in the midst of a
whooping 110,000 coloured carnelian-beads, and who wore a copper crescent crown or a tiara, a
whirling sun disc on both sides of the temple, and also a copper breast-plate? Our discovery in
this regard, which will forever change modern history, will not be revealed in this paper, but can
only be read in our book – The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam: Unearthing Helio-
polis/Igbo Ukwu – The Celestial City of the Gods of Egypt and India. We also pursued the
question of Igbo origins, because in all our studies, we had consistently encountered foreign
words of similar sounds and meanings with Igbo words, in most of the languages and cultures
we studied from various continents such as Asia, Europe, Middle East and the Americas. This
phenomenon is called cognate by linguists. Cognates are proof of language relationship,
common origin of languages, or borrowing from one language by another, possibly across vast
distances. 9 As such, our discovery of Igbo cognates in languages spoken on several continents of
the globe suggested that Igbo was likely originated from some Mother Language of humanity, or
that she was herself that Mother language.

Another area of concern was the puzzle of Igbo Ukwu and the enigmatic artefacts found
there, which according to Thurtan Shaw, are Indian in style. Igbo Ukwu was a puzzle which no
one could solve because it was not in any way related to any other civilization in or around
Nigeria. Igbo Ukwu bronzes stood alone in method of manufacture, technique and style, yet
Thurstan Shaw’s dating of Igbo Ukwu placed it close to Ife and Oyo as belonging to a period
dating from 800 to 900 AD.10 This dating created more problems for the study of Igbo History
because the Igbo Ukwu excavated goods had no relationship with any known Igbo historical
experience, and yet Shaw’s dating placed it too close to contemporary history, thus discouraging
the mythological approach to its analysis. Yet the events that produced the artefacts of Igbo
Ukwu clearly belonged to time immemorial, for no one within living memory knew anything
about buried artefacts in the city, nor who made them and for what purpose! None of the
folklore of the Igbo said anything about those artefacts buried in Igbo Ukwu. It is important to
mention that The Lost Testament was co-authored with an Emeritus Professor of Theoretical
Physics Alex Animalu of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Professor Animalu has co-authored a
number of articles with the research team of the Catherine Acholonu Research Center, published
in the African Journal of Physics. He claims that our analyses of Igbo Ukwu geometric symbols
and their relationship to Egyptian pyramids is making a highly persuasive case for an African
revolution in Theoretical Physics.11
To solve the puzzle of Igbo Ukwu, our research team went to Igbo Ukwu to conduct
interviews. On reaching there, we made a very shocking discovery. We were made to understand
that ‘finding of buried treasure’ had been going on in Igbo Ukwu as long as anyone could
remember. And that the finds were usually sold to buyers from Northern Nigeria. Some of our
informants 12 remembered their parents and grandparents finding treasure (usually in the form of
grooved pottery, piles of strung and unstrung beads, bronze and copper goods) while digging for
a cistern or digging graves. We discovered from the natives that every house and farmland in
Igbo Ukwu was standing on buried treasure. This of course meant that the town was standing on
a LOST CITY, and a lost city meant A LOST CIVILIZATION! Thurstan Shaw had actually
discovered a lost city and a lost civilization in the African rain forest, and had kept this most
revolutionary piece of History to himself! As Shaw claimed in his book Unearthing Igbo Ukwu
(see above), one of ruins he excavated was a temple with over three thousand tiny pots for votive
offerings and a dried cistern that supplied the temple with spring water. A temple with such an
enormous amount of offerings suggested a city with a vast spiritual influence, comparable with
that of Delphi if not larger.
Was it a cover up or a human error that Thurstan Shaw failed to tell the world what he
found when he excavated Igbo Ukwu over sixty years ago – that indeed a city and a lost
civilization lay buried in the forests and villages of Igbo Ukwu? Whether a mistake or a cover-
up, our discovery also meant that Shaw’s dating could no more be trusted.

Wrong and false dating of Nigerian artefacts have been the norm since the dawn of
Archaeology in Nigeria. As a matter of fact the British colonialists had also found ten step
pyramids in the area of Nsukka, each the size of a single storeyed building, when they first
arrived in Igbo land!13 Certainly it was not an accident of History, but a well orchestrated plot
aimed at extinguishing Igbo links with Egyptian civilization, that the pyramids which were
located in the village of Abaja in Nsude town, near Nsukka in Northern Nigeria disappeared
without a trace and without any official entry being made of them in any archive or historical
record by the otherwise very meticulous British anthropologists, colonialists and missionaries. 14
Since the discovery of the Nsude pyramids, black and Afro-centric scholars all over the world
have seen them as the long sought-after missing link to a Black African origin of Egyptian

Returning to the issue of the Indian Snake Science writing taught by Thoth to the
Phoenicians, we conducted a comprehensive study of the Igbo Ukwu inscriptions in our third
book The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam – Unearthing Heliopolis/Igbo-Ukwu – The
Celestial City of the Gods of Egypt and India. What we found, as recorded in The Lost Testament
was that Igbo Ukwu was indeed a lost city of mythology. Our comparative analysis of Igbo
Ukwu inscriptions with those of most ancient Middle Eastern languages easily revealed very
close links, so much so that one is tempted to conclude that Igbo Ukwu might have been the
mother of these other writing systems.15 The obvious question was, who taught whom?
To answer this question was also to ask, who was the creator of the lost civilization and
the lost city buried in Igbo Ukwu and to what period did it belong? To track down a West
African civilization outside living memory, one had to look into the mythologies of West
Africans, but also beyond West Africa, because civilizations and cities were never private
ownerships – they usually made their impact far beyond their borders, and often seeded other
cities and civilizations when their life-spans come to an end. The mythologies of the Yoruba (as
recorded in Ifa)16, the Bini/Benin (index 3) and of the Igbo (see index 3) 17all confirmed that
there was an ancient city with world-wide influence that was situated in Eastern Nigeria. They
confirm that this city was constructed in the period of the Deluge (Archaeologists have dated the
Deluge to 11,000 B.C. according to recent discoveries).18 The Igbo called this city Biafra. The
Benin called it the Holy City of Uhe in Idu Kingdom, while the Yoruba called it Ife. All the
mythologies under reference say that the city was constructed by a god called Eri (in Igbo), Idu
(Igbo/Bini), Obatala (in Yoruba). We found that the oldest epic of the Dravidian Indians,
Ramayana, written by Valmiki insisted that Rama was a king in Atlantis who was induced by
filial rivalry to abandon his kingdom, and that he retreated into the deep forest and built there a
city in the middle of the rainforest where annual harvest festivals were held to honour the
ancestors . It was a city of international renown and the festival was attended by masters from
around the world.19 In They Lived Before Adam, we identified this Annual Harvest Festival as
Ahiajoku the Igbo New Yam festival dedicated to honouring the ancestors, based on similar
claims in Nigerian mythologies about the landmarks marking the location of this forest city.
All three mythologies of Nigerian tribes named above, say that a Post-Deluge city
was raised up in the African rain forest through an artificial land-reclamation project
whereby the god in question piled up sand from the sea onto an otherwise swampy terrain
of the area. Igbo Nri mythology says the project was connected with Omambala River (now
called Anambra River, a tributary of the River Niger) which then used to flood the whole area.20
The mythology says that the god who undertook this land reclamation project did so by raising a
plateau – a hilly terrain with a flat surface – and then built on it a Holy City of international
renown, a forbidden city which only the gods and the priests could enter. Great Benin says that
this city was the only inhabited place in the Post-Deluge world, because every other part of the
world had been submerged by the Deluge. It further maintained that after the world dried up, it
was repopulated from this Holy City from where groups of colonists were sent forth by the
resident gods to repopulate the earth!
These Nigerian myths are confirmed in the highly sought after but only recently released
esoteric book, The Emerald Tablet of Thoth, The Atlantean, supposedly written on stone by
Thoth, the Egyptian god of letters and of Wisdom and Knowledge. 21 In The Emerald Tablet,
Thoth reveals his life history and his origins in the sub-continent of Atlantis before the Deluge.
The book tells of the events leading onto the inundation of the world by water, the sinking of
Atlantis and the instruction by God that Thoth should save a remnant of the Atlantean
population in an Ark and carry them to “the Land of Khem” and there begin a new civilization.
Thoth narrates how he “flew” off in the Ark and landed it in “the land of the hairy Barbarians”
and there built a city with the workforce of the natives. Igbo Nri mythology confirming The
Emerald Tablet maintains that the god Eri arrived in Igbo land in the time when the land was
under water and swampy; that he flew into Igbo land, then populated by cave men (autochthons)
in a flying ship (the Ark), raised a plateau over the waters, and there began the Nri system of
professional priesthood. He taught the natives agriculture, metal-working and basic technologies
as well as commerce. Angulu Onwuejeogwu 22 and Lawrence Emeka23 in two separate studies
on the subject, confirmed that this god, who was called Eri, conquered the people’s resistance
through his mystical powers. In The Emerald Tablet Thoth actually boasted that he used mystical
powers to overcome the resistance of the natives and that he thereafter dwelt among them and
inaugurated a civilization which gave the Khemites an edge over all other humans at the time.

Edgar Cayce, America’s sleeping prophet gave readings confirming that mythological
Egypt was an off-shoot of Atlantis, and that cave-men were its original inhabitants.24
In They Lived Before Adam, we amassed plenty of evidence, based on similarities of character
and deeds between the various gods mentioned in the mythologies we were studying, that indeed
the god entity whom the Yoruba called Obatala, the ancestor of the Igbo nation, was the same
person whom the Egyptians called Khem, the founder of Khemet (Egypt), the Bini called Idu
and the Hebrew Bible called Ham. This entity was known as Rama/Yama among the Indians
and as Osiris by the Greeks and latter-day Egyptians. As Kush, this god was the founder of
Hindu Kush – another name for India, as well as the Ethiopian and Sumerian civilizations.
The discovery of the identity of this god and his role in the global dissemination of an indigenous
African culture that created the Ikom monoliths, Nok and Igbo Ukwu, with Igbo Ukwu as its
capital was fundamental. Indeed Egyptian and other global mythologies had noted that a hero
“whom a local African god had made immortal” had travelled round the world bringing writing
and civilization 25. The name of this world hero was Kush. Kush was the founder of both the
Nubian civilization, the Egyptian civilization and the Hindu Kush civilization of India. Later
civilizations called him Rama, but the word Kush actually emanated from an ancient Nigerian
word Akwa Nshi/Kwa Nshi (Egyptian Ikwush - a name for the Sea Peoples who were followers of
Kush and latter settled in the Aegean26). Akwa nshi was the name of the monoliths of Ikom and
of the dwarfs (Igbo Nwa Nshi) who wrote them27. Cayce said that just before the sinking of
Atlantis, this hero had some writings made on stone and hidden in forests to preserve
Atlantean knowledge. Those stone writings were, as revealed through linguistic analyses and
through historical records, the monoliths of Ikom. 28
When we made these connections, we were also able to see the Indian style of the Igbo
Ukwu artefacts from a new light. We were thus induced to study Indian mythologies as recorded
in the world-famous epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Ramayana, authored by Valmiki,29
it is written that Rama was a king in Atlantis who left the continent because of filial rivalry
which caused him to go into exile in the jungle for several years. In the jungle, he built a city in
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