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Great Zimbabwe

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  Quote Fula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Great Zimbabwe
    Posted: 25-May-2012 at 10:00

Riddle of Great Zimbabwe

by Roderick J. Mcintosh

"When Portuguese traders first encountered the vast stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe in the sixteenth century, they believed they had found the fabled capital of the Queen of Sheba. Later travelers surmised that the site's impressive stone structures were the work of Egyptians, Phoenicians, or even Prester John, the legendary Christian king of lands beyond the Islamic realm. Such misguided and romantic speculation held for nearly 400 years, until the excavations of British archaeologists David Randall-MacIver and Gertrude Caton-Thompson early in this century, which confirmed that the ruins were of African origin."

 

"The largest ancient stone construction south of the Sahara, Great Zimbabwe was built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries by the ancestors of the Shona, one of Zimbabwe's many Bantu-speaking groups. The ruins cover nearly 1,800 acres and can be divided into three distinct architectural groupings known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex, and the Great Enclosure. At its apogee in the late fourteenth century, Great Zimbabwe may have had as many as 18,000 inhabitants. It was one of some 300 known stone enclosure sites on the Zimbabwe Plateau. In Bantu, zimbabwe means "sacred house" or "ritual seat of a king." An important trading center and capital of the medieval Zimbabwe state, the city controlled much of interior southeast Africa for nearly two centuries."

 
"Given the sheer scale of Great Zimbabwe compared to its precursors, archaeologists have been at a loss to explain its sudden appearance on the southern African landscape. Interpretation of the site poses a particular problem because it was stripped of nearly all its in situ cultural material during the nineteenth century by treasure seekers and those who, believing the site to be of foreign construction, wished, in the words of turn-of-the-century excavator Keith M. Hall, "to free it from the filth and decadence of the Kaffir [South African] occupation."
 
Any thoughts on the origins or the purpose Great Zimbabwe?
 
 


Edited by Fula - 25-May-2012 at 10:01
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2012 at 20:33
I'd be interested to know why the Zimbabweans were the only ones in the region who built a walled stone city. Perhaps they heard about the castles in Europe and the Middle East, or maybe one of their rulers visited Ethiopia?
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2012 at 19:17
Can you tell us more please Fula? I enjoy reading your posts and learning new things about Africa
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  Quote Fula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2012 at 13:49

Wikipedia has some good information about Great Zimbabwe concerning trade with China and other artifacts found at the site...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe

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  Quote Fula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2012 at 13:51
 
One of the eight soapstone bird sculptures found at Great Zimbabwe
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-May-2012 at 19:02
Is that a lizard on the side of the sculpture? It's probably just coincidence, but it reminds me of the carvings at Catalhoyuk
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  Quote Fula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2014 at 12:17
Brief discussion on Great Zimbabwe
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  Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2014 at 19:48
Originally posted by Fula

Wikipedia has some good information about Great Zimbabwe concerning trade with China and other artifacts found at the site...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe



I found this very interesting. Throughout history, the forms of buildings have (more often than not) been influenced by contact with other cultures. I wonder if this was the case here. And contact with which culture? Circular forts and castle walls were common in Europe from the Stone Age, but I've never seen one like this in Africa.
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  Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Feb-2014 at 08:35
Guy in that video mentioned Bumbusi and other places similar to Great Zimbabwe.

Here something about other similar archaeological sites with ruins of stone buildings:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambandyanalo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapungubwe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khami

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naletale

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziwa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danamombe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumbusi_National_Monument

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toutswemogala_Hill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingombe_Ilede

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibuene

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manyikeni

So it seems that the Great Zimbabwe was indeed just one part of a larger whole:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/919/

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At least this area seems to be the extent of Zimbabwe-style stone architecture:




Edited by Domen - 23-Feb-2014 at 09:33
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