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Symbols in Stone: Unraveling the mystery of Great Zimbabwe

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... Some of these strategies may be relevant to Zimbabwean archaeology, but there are also several factors that militate against their successful implementation. Published material that can easily be consumed by the general public comes mainly in the form of guidebooks written in simple style to easily communicate research results (Adams, 1991;Cooke, 1974;Garlake, 1974;1982b;1982c;1988;Hubbard & Burrett, 2012;Huffman, 1987;Soper, 2006;Walker, 1996). It can however, be argued that such guidebooks are meant primarily for the visiting publicthe touristas they are mainly found at the sites on which they are based and at the national museums. ...
... This may entail writing smaller versions of larger theses or compendiums and books. Guidebooks by Garlake (1973) and Huffman (1987) on Great Zimbabwe provide a useful example for such an approach in the late 1970s and 1980s. This type of publication, however, has not been followed up until recently (Hubbard & Burrett, 2012; see also Burrett & Hubbard, 2011;2014). ...
Article
This paper discusses the public perceptions of archaeology and the information that archaeologists produce in Zimbabwe. There have been accusations that archaeologists in various parts of the world research for themselves. The products of archaeological research are often presented in academic jargon only accessible to those in the profession. Archaeological research in developing countries has been criticized for having limited involvement, if any, with the local communities in which it is conducted, and fails to address development issues that are important and much more relevant to the concerned societies. The paper discusses the extent to which these accusations are justified in Zimbabwe, focusing on the perceptions that local communities have on archaeology, archaeologists, archaeological remains, archaeological research, and institutions dealing with archaeological cultural heritage in that country. It also discusses why it seems difficult to put into practice some of the suggestions that have been made in the past on how to engage with the public. The paper argues that, although there have been efforts to change the situation, southern African archaeology in general and specifically its practice in Zimbabwe remains largely a preserve of the initiated. It concludes by recommending that writing on archaeological issues be accessible and that research issues should have social relevance. Awareness of local communities in research, outreach activities to schools, and the benefits of archaeological resources for local communities, are crucial means by which the value of the discipline can be appreciated by the public.
... It is associated with the first gold and imports, as well as with changes in pottery, class 4a, which developed out of the Gumanye pottery. Once Great Zimbabwe took firm control of the long distance trade, now via the Sabi valley, the site grew into an impressive urban center, covering 720 ha and housing an estimated 18,000 people, with about 25,000 m 2 of walled enclosures, which segregated the elite from the commoners, while the ruler was, in addition, elevated on the hill, as had been the case at Mapungubwe (Garlake 1973;Huffman 1986Huffman , 1987Summers 1971). ...
... Tangri 1990:293-304, Rosie 1937. See now also Tiley 2004, Huffman 1987 Egyptian sculpture in his African material. He describes the form of a Zulu warrior (p. ...
Article
The long-standing friendship between Andrew Lang (1844-1912)1 and Henry RiderHaggard (1856-1925)2 is surely one of the most intriguing literary relationships ofthe Victorian era.3 Lang was a pre-eminent literary critic and his support forHaggard’s earliest popular romances, such as King Solomon’s mines (1885) andShe (1887), helped to establish them as leading models of the new genre ofimperial adventure fiction.4 Lang and Haggard co-authored The world’s desire(1890)5 and the ideas of Lang, who was also a brilliant Classics scholar, can beseen in many of Haggard’s works. There are some significant similarities betweenthe two men: both were approximate contemporaries who lived through the mostaggressive phase of British imperialism, both were highly successfully writers whoearned their living by their pens, both wrote prolifically and fluently on a wide range of subjects,6 both were largely self-educated, both were interested in thesupernatural, both had had unhappy experiences in love at first but later maintainedlong-lasting marriages, and both were men with powerful faculties of imagination.There are, of course, significant differences also: Lang was a gifted intellectualwho had won a fellowship at Oxford, a Homeric scholar, a poet with a gift forirony and humour, and one of the earliest exponents of the new science ofanthropological mythology; Haggard was less well educated and more seriousminded,he preferred action to ideas, was personally involved in the extension ofBritish rule in Southern Africa,7 and had a close experience of African tribal life.This article sets out to investigate the relationship between these two men, and toassess the extent to which Lang’s classical and anthropological thinking shaped thenarratives of Haggard, especially those set in his imperialistic fantasy of theAfrican continent.
... Dicho monumento, cercano a Fort Victoria, en el actual Zimbabwe, es una estructura de piedra muy sofisticada y con un acabado perfecto. Actualmente se interpreta como perteneciente al siglo XIII d.C., con su momento de máximo esplendor en el siglo XV d.C. y de origen autóctono (Renfrew y Bahn, 1991: 408;Huffman, 1987;HoU, 1996). Pero no siempre ha sido así; en el pasado se tejió en tomo suyo toda una mitología sobre su construcción, atribuida a las más diversas gentes, excepto a los antepasados de la población contemporánea. ...
Article
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This article approaches a topic little considered until recently in archaeological practice. It refers to a series of examples from different geographical and temporal contexts (Great Zimbabwe, Nazi Germany, the Saamis, etc.) as a sample of the variety of forms in which xenophobia and racism have affected archaeological practice. It points out the actual situation of Archaeology in Europe which is not free of difficulties in the face of the revival of nationalistic, xenophobic and racist movements. It questions the responsibility of the archaeologist submerged in this socio-political reality. Este artículo ofrece un acercamiento al estado de la cuestión de un tema poco tenido en cuenta hasta hace poco en la práctica arqueológica. Se hace referencia a una serie de casos procedentes de distintos contextos geográficos y temporales (Gran Zimbabwe, la Alemania nazi, los saamis, etc.) como muestra de la variedad de formas en que el sesgo xenófobo y racista se ha manifestado sobre la práctica arqueológica. Se presta especial atención a la situación actual de la Arqueología en Europa, no exenta de dificultades ante el surgimiento de movimientos nacionalistas, racistas, xenófobos y se plantea qué responsabilidad le corresponde al arqueólogo inmerso en esta realidad socio-política.
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This file is the entire book manuscript, with a few uncorrected bits here and there. It would have been too expensive to publish as a hard copy. The book is an introductory guide and streamlined history (and prehistory) of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, famous for its elephants and other wildlife. There are 10 chapters, a lengthy bibliography, and many color illustrations
Chapter
The last few years of widespread protest and activism initiated by young Black South Africans within a project of decolonization have been critical for the larger context of social justice in the post-apartheid democracy. Importantly student activism has reminded not only higher education, but the country more widely, that the challenges in the ‘new’ democracy need to address the complex intersections of racial capitalism and patriarchy, the long heritage of the violences of colonization and continued white, male and Eurocentric dominance and privilege. Young people have deployed a powerful intersectional and decolonial discourse that brings the inequalities of race, gender, sexuality, age, dis/ability to centre stage through a range of creative, performative modalities that also engage the body, affect, materiality and subjective experience. Significantly, these efforts reinvigorate a role for a critical, feminist and community psychology in the acknowledgement of the psychosocial demands of social change. The chapter argues that the proliferation of what I term performative activism and activist performance by young people through both activist and artistic interventions provide an important example of what Boonzaier and van Niekerk (2019) term ‘modes of engagement, research, dialogue and reflexive practice that espouse principles of an emerging decolonial feminist community psychology’ in the introduction to this volume. Drawing on a proliferation of such activism and art over the last few years in South Africa, which specifically engage materiality, bodies and affect, I argue for the generative impact of such disruptions to current orthodoxies and practices in higher education and in patriarchal racial-capitalist inequalities and injustices more generally. Through these examples, I explore the way in which transgression, bodies and the ‘taking of space’ is deployed to disrupt, disturb and destabilize normative patterns of intersectional gender and sexual inequality, injustice and violence in South African higher education and society more broadly. Such examples will also be drawn on to unpack the way in which counter-hegemonic identities, practices and performances claim public space to disturb continued marginalisations and exclusions. The chapter argues that a critical, decolonial feminist community psychology is already there/here, and urges in line with Haraway (2016) to ‘stay with the trouble’ by acknowledging, promoting and learning lessons in dialogue with the activist and artistic actions and imaginaries of young South Africans.
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In most of Africa, archaeological charcoal samples are often used to establish chronology through radiocarbon dating, but are rarely used to address why people may have selected specific wood taxa for particular purposes. The use of charcoal in palaeo-ethnobotanical and palaeoecological studies has been given little attention, but it can be used for vegetation studies and use of woods for purposes such as iron smelting, construction and domestic hearths. Previous excavations at Great Zimbabwe produced large samples of charcoal at specific activity sites and at different depths, thus giving perspective of time. This study is an enquiry into charcoal assemblages dated to the Late Holocene from the Great Zimbabwe. An extensive modern vegetation reference collection of charcoal from Great Zimbabwe was established and then used in the identification of archaeological charcoal samples. The analysis has provided a more detailed picture than previously available, of socioeconomic utilisation of wood at Great Zimbabwe. Anthracology has enhanced our knowledge of woody vegetation selection during the ancient Great Zimbabwe. From this study it was concluded that there was long-distance movement of wood particularly from those taxa with good construction qualities such as Spirostachys africana and Colophospermum mopane.
Article
In recent years, southern African archaeological and historical studies have been experiencing a fruitful process of re-engagement, following decades in which the two disciplines appeared to be moving further and further apart. This paper aims to contribute to and reignite one of the fiercest and most fascinating debates conducted between historians and archaeologists of southern Africa in the last four decades concerning the meaning and functions of Great Zimbabwe. In the spirit of recent interdisciplinary endeavours, it proposes a new hypothesis about the cultural meaning and functions of the most notable artefacts found at Great Zimbabwe, the soapstone birds, by consulting a sizable but under-used corpus of written historical sources, namely published and archival Portuguese documents concerning the political and religious systems of the Mocaranga from the beginning of the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries.
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