The Nok Civilization
The Nok was an African civilization that flourished during the first millenium BCE before fading into obscurity in the 100s CE. They played an important role in the development of the more known Yoruba and Benin cultures that followed the Nok.
The Nok are perhaps most famous for their distinctive terra-cotta figures. They were the first African civilization to smelt iron, though probably introduced to the technique from trade with Mediterranean cultures. Unfortunately, not much is known about the Nok. They had the bad judgement to live in what became modern Nigeria, a notoriously difficult place to do archaeological study.