We are going to present what is considered the largest and most important archaeological site found in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Great Zimbabwe, which gives its name to the current country. A site of about 7 square kilometers where there are hundreds of stone structures built without mortar, including some towers and long walls. Some constructions that would be built between the 11th and 15th centuries, when the powerful Munhumutapa empire developed here, which reached its splendor due to the fact that it extracted gold from the mines of the territory, with which It was traded in very distant areas, since in fact in these lands of South Africa remains of objects brought from Arabia or China have been found among its archaeological remains.
Great Zimbabwe Archaeological Ensemble
We have already said that the remains of numerous stone buildings are preserved, but the most striking are those located in the upper area, the so-called “acropolis” recalling that of Athens. That is precisely where the Conical Tower stands, 11 meters high, the Elliptical Building and the Wallthat surrounds this entire area. A wall that reaches up to 9 meters high at certain points along its route.
However, given their location and characteristics, these buildings and walls did not have a defensive function, but rather it was a place that was the headquarters of thepower of this commercial empire that took advantage of the course of the Zambezi River to reach the Indian Ocean.
There is evidence of its existence since the 15th century, when the Portuguese colonizers and navigators arrived here, describing it with admiration for its imposing stone architecture without mortar or cement to bind it together. However, as a site it was not rediscovered until explorers arrived here in the 19th century. And later, at the beginning of the 20th century, the first archaeological excavations were carried out, which brought to light an imposing construction complex.
All of it is divided into three different areas. On one side is the Hill Ensemble, in the lower part the Valley Ensemble and the Great Fence is described with its own identity. Only in the Great Wall or Wall, both inside and in the vicinity, some three hundred structures have been excavated that correspond both to modest dwellings and to the remains of what was the king's palace. This is located relatively far from the center and is a much more elaborate and complex structure than the rest.
In short, although researchers have excavated and studied it from the many ceramic remains found, the truth is that there are still many enigmas to be solved regarding the Great Zimbabwe. For example, because such imposing constructions were abandoned. What is certain is that its voluminous presence is a source of pride for Africans, who associate it with itspower of yore, when they were independent of the white man. So much so that it gave this country its name after its independence and a bird appears on its flag, which is a sculpture that appeared in these ruins.