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City of Mapungubwe, South Africa

Mapungubwe Hill

10th - 13th century

Nothing remains of the buildings of this iron age city which sat on the meeting of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers and was the capital of a large kingdom spread across what is now South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

From archaeological remains, it appears that the city was a complex of stone walls separating buildings made of stone and wood. It appears to have been a hierarchical society, with the main political elites living on the Mapungubwe Hill, and less important residents spread across the city below.

When the site was rediscovered in 1932, the white minority South African government kept its existence quiet, as it provided evidence of a wealthy and sophisticated Khoi/ San civilisation existing in the region long before white people arrived.


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