13. Ancient Stone Ruins Coming to Life

Ancient Stone Ruins Coming to Life
18 August 2019
By Eben van Tonder


We are looking at the people who occupied the stone ruins of the Magaliesburg.  Our aim is to understand how they processed meat.  We again start very broadly.  These were Iron age and late stone age communities.  “The Iron Age spans nearly two thousand years, from the Early Iron Age (ad 200–900), via the Middle IronAge (ad 900–1300) to the Late Iron Age (ad 1300–1820), which ended with colonialism (Huffman 2007; 2012a). The era is associated with the beginning of crop agriculture, metalworking, pottery making, and settled life.”  Two models, introduced in the early 1980s, broadened our understanding of this time period namely the Central Cattle Pattern (CCP) and the Zimbabwe Pattern (ZP). (Fredriksen and Chirikure, 2015)

The CCP model is principally associated with
Nguni and Sotho-Tswana speakers, and the settlement
pattern represents a ‘cultural package’ restricted
to groups of Eastern Bantu speakers sharing
certain distinct features (see Huffman 2001;
2012b, 124). A typical organization consists of an
arc of houses around a central cattle corral.

TheZimbabwe Pattern (ZP) is seen to have developed
from the CCP, and may be represented through
the same kind of concept, but with a different result.
Paul Lane (2005, 31) notes that the ZP has no historical
analogue and that all known examples therefore
are archaeological. However, Huffman (2011, 38)
has recently pointed out that Venda society presents
a twenty-first-century version. The main sources of
analogy come fromsixteenth-century Portuguese documents
and elements of recent Shona and Venda
ethnography. The ZP has a more restricted spatial
and temporal distribution than the CCP. And, unlike
the CCP, which is associated with both elite and
commoners, the ZP was restricted to elite settlements,
while commoners retained a basic CCPsettlement layout.
A key difference between the two models is that
the cattle enclosures in the ZP have been removed
from elite areas and replaced by a court or assembly
area. This is seen to reflect an increased emphasis on
political decision-making.Huffman (2011, 37) lists five
components that each Zimbabwe capital needed to
function: a palace, a court, a compound for the leader’s
wives, a place for commoners, and a place for guards
(see also Huffman 2014).






Per Ditlef Fredriksen and Shadreck Chirikure Beyond Static Models: An Evaluation of Present Status and Future Prospects for Iron Age Research in Southern Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Available on CJO 2015 doi:10.1017/ S0959774314001115  (FredriksenChirikureBeyondStaticModels)