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The Terrace Builders of Nyanga. By Robert Soper. Weaver Press, Harare, 2006, 88 pp. ISBN 978779220501. Price US$ 24.95.

The Terrace Builders of Nyanga. By Robert Soper. Weaver Press, Harare, 2006, 88 pp. ISBN... Book Review `The ruined stone structures of Nyanga and neighbouring districts represent probably the largest complex of ancient building in southern Africa' (p. 1). In this book, the author sets out the accumulated knowledge of the prehistoric Nyanga landscape, in particular the agricultural works for which the landscape is justifiably famous. For a variety of reasons, which will be outlined below, I regard this book as more important than Robert Soper's earlier and more comprehensive monograph on the Nyanga area (SopeR 2002). The book is offered as a less technical and `more palatable' (p. v) account of the extensive research that was conducted by the author between 1993 and 1999. The first chapter introduces the salient facts about the agricultural complex concisely and simply, addressing many of the so-called "mysteries" in the area in a sober and forthright fashion. He definitively states that the ruins are of indigenous African origin, that the builders were the ancestors of the local people (though not originally Shona), that the various structures were built for domestic or agricultural purposes, and that the rumoured slaves and gold mines never were. Interestingly he notes that the stonework is of a greater skill and intricacy http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

The Terrace Builders of Nyanga. By Robert Soper. Weaver Press, Harare, 2006, 88 pp. ISBN 978779220501. Price US$ 24.95.

Journal of African Archaeology , Volume 5 (2): 343 – Nov 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/1612-1651-10098
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Review `The ruined stone structures of Nyanga and neighbouring districts represent probably the largest complex of ancient building in southern Africa' (p. 1). In this book, the author sets out the accumulated knowledge of the prehistoric Nyanga landscape, in particular the agricultural works for which the landscape is justifiably famous. For a variety of reasons, which will be outlined below, I regard this book as more important than Robert Soper's earlier and more comprehensive monograph on the Nyanga area (SopeR 2002). The book is offered as a less technical and `more palatable' (p. v) account of the extensive research that was conducted by the author between 1993 and 1999. The first chapter introduces the salient facts about the agricultural complex concisely and simply, addressing many of the so-called "mysteries" in the area in a sober and forthright fashion. He definitively states that the ruins are of indigenous African origin, that the builders were the ancestors of the local people (though not originally Shona), that the various structures were built for domestic or agricultural purposes, and that the rumoured slaves and gold mines never were. Interestingly he notes that the stonework is of a greater skill and intricacy

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Nov 1, 2007

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