An archaeological identity of the Nambya state in north-western Zimbabwe is attempted by interrogating available oral accounts to determine how monumental stone structures in the region contributed to the development of the historical landscape. The research employs concepts of ‘listening’ to inform the archaeology connected with the state, which is also recalled in the recent histories of the Nambya people. Chronometric dating indicates that the Nambya state developed earlier than previously thought, and a review of the oral accounts indicates very close connections with Great Zimbabwe. It may have been an offshoot of the expansion of the Zimbabwe Culture on the Zimbabwe plateau during the fifteenth century, like the Mutapa state (1400-1900 AD). The clustering of monumental stone structures in north-western Zimbabwe is best informed by oral accounts, which show how royal capitals or palaces, and by extension, state power, shifted from one place to another.