The Archaeology of Mapela Hill, south-western Zimbabwe

Michelle House will present the Department of Archaeology seminar by giving a talk summarising the conclusions of her Masters research.  The talk is entitled, "The Archaeology of Mapela Hill, south-western Zimbabwe".

 The Middle Iron Age in southern Africa has long been associated with the development of class distinction and state formation. However, most research focus has been on K2 and Mapungubwe in the Middle Limpopo Valley, the presumed first state capitals of the region. Mapela Hill is a site located outside the Middle Limpopo in south-western Zimbabwe. Preliminary excavations at the summit of the hill by Peter Garlake in 1968 has resulted in archaeologists drawing contrasting conclusions about the position of Mapela in the development of complexity in the region. This study has used a combination of analyses in order to classify the material cultural objects recovered at Mapela Hill. The results showed that Mapela Hill was occupied by the same groups as at K2 and Mapungubwe Hill, contains vast revetment stone walling, successions of thick solid dhaka hut floors and an abundance of traded glass beads; attributes which collectively signify state formation in the region. These results call for more research at less well-known sites in the region as a progression towards refining frameworks for the development of state formation in the Shashe Limpopo River Basin.

Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2017 - 13:00
Venue: 

Teaching Studio B3.10, Department of Archaeology, Upper Campus, UCT

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