The Lost Ancient City Of Mapungubwe

The Lost Ancient City Of Mapungubwe

Africa has its fair share of lost mysterious Civilizations which we will now be exploring in Earth Chronicles.Mapungubwe Civilization

We’ve spent considerable time studying the lost realms of Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley as well as Mesoamerica, and we now turn our attention to the lost realms of the African Continent beginning with the Ancient Lost City Of Mapungubwe located in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

Origins Of Mapungubwe Civilization

Dating back circa 1075-1200 AD, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe as thought to have begun as a Hunter gatherer settlement at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers.

With its earliest roots being traced to what is termed the Leopard’s Kopje ‘K2 Culture’, the Hunter-gatherer community would eventually evolve into Southern Africa’s first modern City State with the establishment of a settlement at Mapungubwe Hill.

Trade in Gold with Arab traders from the East African Coast is thought to have provided the impetus for changes in the Hunter-gatherer Culture as traded goods like Gold and beads replaced Cattle as a measure or wealth.

This change resulted in the emergence of Southern Africa’s first Aristocracy which grew out of the class system that was borne out of the new trade-based economic system.

For the first time in Southern Africa, an Aristocracy was separated from the general population by taking up residence on the sacred hill at Mapungubwe.

New skills in pottery and Goldsmiths with high value Golden objects including the famous Rhino and Gold Scepter found in the separate Royal burial grounds at Mapungubwe hill.

Sadly, the History of Mapungubwe was both unacknowledged and deliberately distorted by South Africa’s previous Apartheid regime which attempted to propagate the lie that the site was not the work of Africans.Mapungubwe Civilization

The site’s African origin has since been placed beyond dispute, and it remains one of Africa’s most significant sites especially where the evolution of African culture is concerned.

To date, the reasons for Mapungubwe’s decline are unclear as the site was abandoned around 1200.


All in all, it can be said that Mapungubwe is the most important Ancient site in Southern Africa because it established a Proto-Culture for a class-based  Society built on wealth obtained from trading.

This new type of African Society was led by an emergent Aristocracy, and would be the model of subsequent Iron-Age African Civilizations starting with Great Zimbabwe.

Today Mapungubwe holds the Honour of being a World Heritage Site.

Enjoy the informative Mapungubwe documentary below and keep it locked for more Lost Africa entries…One!


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