If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Cognitive Archaeology and Imaginary History at Great Zimbabwe

David Beach
Current Anthropology
Vol. 39, No. 1 (February 1998), pp. 47-72
DOI: 10.1086/204698
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/204698
Page Count: 26
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Cognitive Archaeology and Imaginary History at Great Zimbabwe
Preview not available

Abstract

The archaeology of Great Zimbabwe in southern Africa is well developed, but supporting evidence from other disciplines is scanty and often suspect. Consequently, the interpretation of many features of the city that flourished ca. 1200–1500 is difficult. Thomas Huffman's well‐known reconstruction of the site's cognitive archaeology relies upon misunderstood documents, dubious oral traditions, and inappropriate comparisons to arrive at a picture of a city that was essentially static in its use of space for at least two centuries. An alternative interpretation is offered that draws upon Shona historical and anthropological sources and, explicitly, imagination to show how political processes within a Shona dynasty could have affected the building of the central part of the city. This model does not pretend to explain every feature of the site, nor does it claim to be more than one of several possible models of its kind. Nevertheless, it corresponds far more closely to the workings of Shona society, as it is known to us from history, than Huffman's.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
1
    1
  • Thumbnail: Page 
2
    2
  • Thumbnail: Page 
3
    3
  • Thumbnail: Page 
4
    4
  • Thumbnail: Page 
5
    5
  • Thumbnail: Page 
6
    6
  • Thumbnail: Page 
7
    7
  • Thumbnail: Page 
8
    8
  • Thumbnail: Page 
9
    9
  • Thumbnail: Page 
10
    10
  • Thumbnail: Page 
11
    11
  • Thumbnail: Page 
12
    12
  • Thumbnail: Page 
13
    13
  • Thumbnail: Page 
14
    14
  • Thumbnail: Page 
15
    15
  • Thumbnail: Page 
16
    16
  • Thumbnail: Page 
17
    17
  • Thumbnail: Page 
18
    18
  • Thumbnail: Page 
19
    19
  • Thumbnail: Page 
20
    20
  • Thumbnail: Page 
21
    21
  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26