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K. Kris Hirst

Great Zimbabwe

By June 7, 2013

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Great Zimbabwe is the best known archaeological site dated to the Zimbabwe culture of the late African Iron Age.

Architectural Detail at Great Zimbabwe
Architectural detail, Great Zimbabwe. Photo by Nite_Owl

Nearly 80 acres of masonry buildings and enclosures make up Great Zimbabwe, buildings which were built beginning in the 12th century AD by Zimbabwe culture people stacking courses of shaped local stone--the buildings are mortarless. The structures at Great Zimbabwe are massive, and the architectural details, including conical towers and embedded designs like the one above, make it a fascinating place to visit.

The history of Great Zimbabwe is also fascinating: there is an abundance of archaeological evidence of connections with the medieval trade port of Kilwa Kisiwani and other Swahili coast towns, and thus access to trade goods throughout the Near and Far East.

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