Exploring Networks of Interaction in Southern Zambezia during the Early Second Millennium A.D: A case study at Mtanye, South Western Zimbabwe.

Mr Jordan Scholfield will be present the findings from his Masters research at the Department of Archaeology seminar, with a talk entitled, "Exploring Networks of Interaction in Southern Zambezia during the Early Second Millennium A.D: A case study at Mtanye, South Western Zimbabwe".


Jordan received his B.Sc. degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with majors in Biology and Geography and acquired a third major in Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. Additionally he  acquired his B.Sc. Honours in Archaeology from the University of Cape Town. He is currently a second year Masters (M.Sc.) student at the University of Cape Town. His interests lie within networks of interaction, symmetrical archaeology, mobility, socio-material development and change as well as the formation of group identities.


Networks of interaction as well as community formation, has been widely researched within Southern Zambezian archaeology of the early second millennium A.D. Despite this, research into these communities is often asymmetrical with objects delegated a passive role in the formation of not only networks of interaction but also socio-material development. Further, research tends to focus on society as the source of action in these processes. Using the site Mtanye, the aim of this study is to create a relational ontology in which agency is distributed among heterogenous entities. Moreover, this study attempts to demonstrate how networks of interaction shaped this community. Mtanye is a Leopard’s Kopje phase 2 site with stratified Transitional K2 and Mapungubwe deposit and is described in the literature as a periphery commoner site located on flat land. This site has further been placed into the wider conventional narrative as being evidence for the expansion of the Mapungubwe state. In order to recreate the networks of interaction that were present at Mtanye, Actor-Network Theory informed in part by the ethno-historical record was enlisted. The results of this study show that Mtanye has hill occupation, stone walling and access to prestige goods; characteristics conventionally not ascribed to periphery commoner sites. Further, the results of this study suggest it is more prudent to view the socio-material development of Mtanye, not in terms of the political or economic expansion of a hegemonic power but rather as a product of heterogeneous networks of interaction. This study may further provide a framework for understanding socio-material development and networks of interaction during the early second millennium A.D. in Southern Zambezia.


Mon, 05 Aug 2019 - 13:00

Teaching Studio, Room 3.10, 3rd Floor of the Beattie Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus UCT