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Chifumbaze Complex



The Chifumbaze complex is a widespread Iron Age culture, covering much of southern and eastern Africa. The earliest Chifumbaze sites are located near Lake Victoria, about 500 BC; the persistent pottery styles are considered to last until about the tenth century AD. The terra cotta Lydenburg head is an example of the distinctive Chifumbaze pottery style.

The Chifumbaze people were primarily pastoralists, herding cattle, although they also hunted game and probably grew crops including millet and sorghum. They relied on iron working, producing nearly all of their tools by manufacturing them. The extent of the culture roughly parallels the extent of modern Bantu language, and so archaeologists generally believe that the Chifumbaze complex sites were built and occupied by Bantu speakers and thus representing the 'great Bantu migrations'.

The archaeologist most closely associated with Chifumbaze is David W. Phillipson.

This glossary entry is a part of the About.com Guide to the African Iron Age, and part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Common Misspellings: Chifamblaze
Buhaya (Tanzania), Chifumbaze (Mozambique), Lydenburg (South Africa), Toutswe (Botswana).

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