Mapungubwe reconsidered: A living legacy: Exploring beyond the rise and decline of the Mapungubwe state
The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape is one of the profound treasures of southern Africa's social and archaeological history, appropriately declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2003. Contained within this landscape is indispensable information on precolonial state formation, social hierarchies, architecture of stone-walled towns, mineral processing and intercontinental trade. And yet, the Mapungubwe state rose, towered over its environs, and then declined - long before European colonial incursions. What exactly were the social dynamics in this polity? What technologies did it utilise? How did it relate to neighbouring communities and to societies further afield? Indeed, why was this 'civilization' unable to sustain itself? Mapungubwe Reconsidered: A Living Legacy contributes to the body of knowledge about Mapungubwe, straddling such issues as the relationships between humans and the environment, management of mineral endowments and the form and impact of southern Africa's global intercourse in this historical period. Beyond these issues are profound social constructs about state legitimacy, quality of leadership, social stratification, gender relations and the consequences of material self-gratification. The book combines methodologies of archaeology, political science, economic history and international relations to weave, in a unique way, a storyline that enriches current knowledge on the history of southern Africa.