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Outline the history of excavation and interpretation at great Zimbabwe. What does this history tell us about colonialist ideolog - Essay Example

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History of excavation and interpretation at great Zimbabwe Great Zimbabwe, located very near to the presently known Masvingo, is recognized as one of the top known African archeological sites in Sub-Saharan domain. Its origin dates back to 1300 B.C. It is a huge stone- walled establishment that used to cover some 78 ha and was a house to nearly 18000 people…
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Download file to see previous pages This archeological site is famous as the place where south- African dry- stone architectural mastery reached its peak. By 1250-80, lucid stone walling were set up at Great Zimbabwe to create enclosures and platforms to support mud- and pole buildings (Phillipson, 2005, pp.52-53). The existence of Zimbabwean culture to the Western World was reported in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese travelers, although existence of Great Zimbabwe itself was not disclosed until Carl Mauch found stone ruins in Great Zimbabwe in 1871. Carl Mauch, like many other Europeans was of the idea that the biblical city of Ophir and stone buildings such as that of Great Zimbabwe had been built during the time when king Solomon went on to exploit the country’s gold reserves(Hall,1905, pp.295-300). This “exotic hypothesis” had long been in the minds of excavators coming to Rhodesian districts of south-Africa in search of the so-called ‘King Solomon’s Mines’, even the excavators from Rhode’s BSA Company that colonized Zimbabwe in 1890 had embraced this idea. Some were of the belief that the ruins were constructed by the Phoenicians, Arabians or the Egyptians. This “exotic hypothesis” was challenged by a professional archeologist named David MacIver in 1905. MacIver dated Great Zimbabwe’s medieval periodical origins by forming a stratigraphical connection of the stone walls with those of imports from China and Eastern Asia in the fourteenth to sixteenth century AD. This interpretation was completely contradictory to that of the “exotic hypothesis” and formed the integral part of his “essentially African” interpretation. It was however outright rejected by the public. The debate regarding the origins of culture of Zimbabwe involves political emotions as well as scientific verification, and criticisms to the “exotic hypothesis” are also not strong enough (Huffman & Vogel, 1991, pp.61). This project is an attempt to account the history of the excavations in Zimbabwe through ages and how colonialist ideologies have come into play with emphasis on present political scenario and institutional changes taking place in Zimbabwe now to make it a better place to live in. History of Excavation in Zimbabwe Ever since there has been European settlement in southern parts of Africa since the very beginning of the sixteenth century; innumerable expeditions have taken place to search the wealth of the lost civilizations in the remotest of the interiors. However, all such expeditions have invariably ended without any success. This is quite a testimony to the power of well continued fables of lost cities and lost treasures. It was in 1871 that Carl Mauch, a spirited, energetic and successful explorer found the Great Zimbabwean ruins for the first time. The theory he proposed became the anthem of the many explorers exploring the ruins of Rhodesian Zimbabwe. Mauch, through various compelx calculations and an imaginative mind noted that the splinters of wood from the forests were very similar to the wood in his pencil both being cedar, thereby indicating only one possibility that this massive stone building was built by none other than the great Queen of Sheba. It was for Mauch only that the vague ideas of a mysterious lost city could be drawn on a map for the very first time. In 1890, the British South Africa Company was captured by Mashonaland and Great Zimbabwe became a victimized possession ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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