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Archaeologies of Listening$
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Peter R. Schmidt and Alice B. Kehoe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056241

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056241.001.0001

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Local Narratives, Regional Histories, and the Demise of Great Zimbabwe

Local Narratives, Regional Histories, and the Demise of Great Zimbabwe

(p.131) 7 Local Narratives, Regional Histories, and the Demise of Great Zimbabwe
Archaeologies of Listening

Innocent Pikirayi

University Press of Florida

Archaeologists struggle to understand the demise of Great Zimbabwe because of poor appreciation of local and regional histories of the southern Zimbabwe plateau, post-fifteenth century. Listening to some of these extant regional histories and living narratives is key to understanding developments around Great Zimbabwe from the sixteenth century onwards. The focus in this chapter is on two sites, Boroma, a toponym east of Great Zimbabwe, and Chizhou Hill, some 80 kilometers to the north. In sixteenth-century Portuguese accounts, "Burrom" (Boroma) is presented as a prince in charge of a 'fortress' whose location coincides with Great Zimbabwe. Local narratives and indigenous histories collected from villagers near Chizhou Hill, as well as documented written sources, connect the site to the resettlement of the area by migrants from the Mutapa State in northern Zimbabwe. Combined, both sites attest to a complex process leading to the demise of Great Zimbabwe and its culture from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Keywords:   Great Zimbabwe, Boroma, Local narratives, Regional histories, Indigenous history

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