Nsude Pyramids: A Cursory Look at one of the Forgotten Historical Structures Built by Ancient Igbos

The Egyptian and Sudanese step pyramids easily come to mind in discussions related to ancient architectural feats. However, both countries are not the only older cultures that built such structures according to records.

Pyramids have been seen in other ancient settlements, and one of them is in Igbo land. They can be found in Udi, a community in Nsude town, Enugu State.

It is believed that similar structures could have been erected across many Igbo communities in the past too. The first pictures were reportedly taken in 1935 and were credited to G. I. Jones, an anthropologist. However, the first person to discover the structures after years of abandonment is Luke Walter.

According to research, the Nsude Pyramids has similarities with the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, Egypt.

What is the Purpose of the Pyramids?

It is suggested that they probably served either of the two purposes below –

i. Surveillance

Here, some people believe they served as some form of surveillance post for the communities which built them. 

ii. Religion

It is also believed in some corners that wherever they are built, it signifies the residence of the Ala, an Igbo God. Hence, reverence is to be observed wherever the structures are erected in Igbo land at the time.

How are Pyramids Built?

The jury is still out on the exact method deployed in the construction of bigger pyramids in Egypt. However, we do know that the constructions required a quarry and tools for cutting stones or resizing them. 

Also, you have to account for the means of ferrying the stones to the construction site as well as leveling the location for laying of foundation. It is also noted that Gypsum played a vital role in the building of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. This means that the ancient Egyptians found a way to utilize this mineral for construction purposes despite lack of modern equipments.

Unlike the Egyptians, ancient Igbos are said to have used clay and hardened red mud to construct theirs. It is also pertinent to note that Gypsum can be found in some parts of Igbo land, including Enugu State.

According to a Vanguard report – 

“…the pyramids were first constructed in the topmost altitudes of the community’s boundary villages at Umuaka and Ugwuto: while only one large pyramid stood at Umuaka part of the community overlooking Ngwo and parts of Nkanu land, a set of 10 pyramids—standing five-a-side on two rows—was located at Ugwuto, overlooking Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area.”

The Pyramids are reported to be at least 40 – 45ft in circumference. Judging from the analysis above, one can insinuate that the Pyramids probably served more as a surveillance post. 

In the past, Igbos didn’t erect giant edifices for worship – at least, no evidence has shown that till date. But, we do know that they worshipped different Gods and had a central obeisance to “Chukwu” – the creator of all things.

Current State of the Pyramids?

At the moment, they are a shadow of themselves. Most of them have been destroyed by the passage of time and lack of maintenance. The community in which they are located have stated that all efforts to get the Government to restore them has fallen on deaf ears. This is sad though because the same structures is yielding revenues for Egypt through Tourism.


  1. Seems this ancient old site is fast fading. Really cool to learn that the same technology existed vastly not as we are meant to believe. I now know if 7 countries with pyramids and I’m sure there are more.

    Liked by 1 person

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