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Richard Nicklin Hall.

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GREAT ZIMBABWE

MASHONALAND, RHODESIA



Price ios. 6d. net. With seventy illustrations.

THE
ANCIENT RUINS OF RHODESIA

BY

W. G. NEAL and R. N. HALL

SECOND AND ENLARGED EDITION

LONDON: METHUEN & CO



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation



http://www.archive.org/details/greatzimbabwemasOOrich




THE CONICAL TOWER, ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE, GREAT ZIMBABWE



GREAT ZIMBABWE

MASHONALAND, RHODESIA

AN ACCOUNT OF TWO YEARS' EXAMINATION

WORK IN 1902-4 ON BEHALF OF THE

GOVERNMENT OF RHODESIA



BY

R. N. HALL, F.R.G.S.

CO-AUTHOR WITH \V. G. NEAL OF " THE ANCIENT RUINS OF RHODESIA'



WITH AN INTRODUCTION



PROFESSOR A. H. KEANE, LL.D., F.R.G.S.



WITH TWO HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, AND PLANS



METHUEN & CO.

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

LONDON




^






First Published in 1905



CONTENTS

Dedication . .... Page xiii

Preface . . . . . . . xv

Introduction, by Professor A. H. Keane, ll.d., f.r.g.s. . xxxi

CHAPTER I

Arrival at Great Zimbabwe — First Impressions — View from

Acropolis Hill I

CHAPTER II

Mystic Zimbabwe — Sunday Morning and Midnight in an Ancient

Temple — Sunset on the Acropolis . . 12

CHAPTER III
A day at Havilah Camp, Zimbabwe . . . 31

CHAPTER IV

Zimbabwe District — Chipo-popo Falls — Frond Glen — Lumbo Rocks
— "Morgenster" Mission — Wuwulu — Mojejeje, or Mystic Bar
— Suku Dingle — Bingura's Kraal — Motumi's Kraal — Chipfuko
Hill — Chipadzi's Kraal . . . 51

CHAPTER V
Zimbabwe Natives — Natives and the Ruins — Natives (general) . 80

CHAPTER VI
Relics and Finds, Great Zimbabwe, 1902-4 . ... 102

CHAPTER VII

Notes on Ancient Architecture at Zimbabwe — Introduction —
Durability of Walls— Dilapidations — Makalanga Walls — Re-
mains of Native Huts found in Ruins — Passages — Entrances
and Buttresses . . . . 135



, 5o



JAN 8 1962



vi CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII

Notes on Ancient Architecture at Zimbabwe {continued) — Drains —
Battering of Walls — Soapstone Monoliths and Beams — Granite
and Slate Beams — Cement — Dadoes — Built-up crevices — Holes
in Walls other than Drains — Blind Steps — Platforms — Ancient
Walls at a Distance from Main Walls — Caves and Rock Holes

Page 1 68
CHAPTER IX

The Elliptical Temple — Plan — Construction, Measurements —
Summit and Foundations of Main Wall — Chevron Pattern —
Ground Surface of Exterior . . . 193

CHAPTER X

The Elliptical Temple {continued) — Main Entrances . . .216

CHAPTER XI
The Elliptical Temple (continued) — Enclosures Nos. 1 to 7 . . 225

CHAPTER XII

The Elliptical Temple (continued) — Sacred Enclosure — Conical

Tower — Small Tower — Parallel passage . ... 237

CHAPTER XIII

The Elliptical Temple (continued) — The Platform — Enclosures
Nos. 9 to 15 — Central Area — Platform Area — Inner Parallel
Passage — South Passage — West Passage — North-East Passage
— Outer Parallel Passage . . . . . 251

CHAPTER XIV

Acropolis Ruins — South-East Ancient Ascent — Lower Parapet —

Rock Passage — Upper Parapet — Western Enclosure . . 276

CHAPTER XV
Acropolis Ruins (continued) — The Western Temple . . . 297

CHAPTER XVI

Acropolis Ruins (continued) — Platform Enclosure — Cleft Rock
Enclosure — The Platform — Balcony Wall — Little Enclosure —
Winding Stairs — Upper Passage — East Passage — Buttress
Passage — South Enclosures A, B, and C— South Cave — South
Passage — Central Passage . . . . . 310



CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER XVII

Acropolis Ruins {continued) — Eastern Temple — Ancient Balcony —
Balcony Enclosure — Balcony Cave — "Gold Furnace" Enclosure
— Pattern Passage — Recess Enclosure — North Plateau — North
Parapet ..... Page 323

CHAPTER XVIII

Acropolis Ruins {continued) — North-West Ancient Ascent — Water-
gate Ruins — Terraced Enclosures on North-West Face of
Zimbabwe Hill — South Terrace — Ruins on South Face of
Zimbabwe Hill — Outspan Ruins . ... 344

CHAPTER XIX

" The Valley of Ruins " — Posselt, Philips, Maund, Renders, Mauch
Ruins, and South-East Ruins . . ... 363

CHAPTER XX

" The Valley of Ruins " {continued) — No. 1 Ruins — Ridge Ruins —

Camp Ruins Nos. 1 and 2 . . ... 398

CHAPTER XXI

Ruins near Zimbabwe — East Ruins — Other Ruins within the

Zimbabwe Ruins' Area . . ... 420

Notes and Addenda . . . ... 433

Index . . . . ... 451



LIST OF PLATES



Conical Tower, Elliptical Temple, Great Zimbabwe . Frontispiece

The late Mr. Theodore Bent, f.r.g.s., explorer of Great Zimbabwe in

1 89 1, author of The Rained Cities of Mashonaland . . . xiii

Coin of Byblos, Phoenicia, showing Conical Tower . . . xxxvi

Wooden Bowl with Zodiacal Signs, found near Zimbabwe . . xxxvi

Cylinder with Rosettes found at Phoenician Temple of Paphos in Cyprus xxxviii
Soapstone Cylinder, with Rosettes, found near Zimbabwe . . xxxviii

" Fuko-ya-Nebandge " . . . . . . xl

Model of Temple . . . . xl

" To Great Zimbabwe " . . ... 2

Havilah Camp, Great Zimbabwe . . ... 2

View from Acropolis, showing Elliptical Temple in the Valley, Zimbabwe . 10
Conical Tower and Platform (from north), Elliptical Temple, Zimbabwe . 16
The Balcony, Eastern Temple, Acropolis. The parapet wall of Balcony

is built upon the suspended boulder . . . . . 16

Carrying debris from the Elliptical Temple . . . . 36

A noontide shelter at the Elliptical Temple . . . . 36

The Camp Messenger . . . ... 46

Labourers at the Elliptical Temple . . ... 46

The Chipo-popo Falls, near Zimbabwe . . 56

Rapping the Moje-je-je, or "Mystic Bar," Zimbabwe . . . 56

Finger Rock, Morgenster, near Zimbabwe . . . . 62

I-Baku (the cave) at Chicagomboni, where Adam Renders, the rediscoverer

of Great Zimbabwe, lived from 1868 to 187 1 . . . .62

The Bird Rock, near Zimbabwe . . . . . 6S

View on Motelekwe River . . . * . 68

A Makalanga, Zimbabwe . . . ... 80

The Camp Watchman . . . . • . . 80

Makalanga " Boys " fencing, Zimbabwe . . ... 84

Motumi and Mongwaine, Zimbabwe . . ... 84

Makalanga mother and child, Zimbabwe . . ... 88

The Mogabe Handisibishe, chief of the Zimbabwe Makalanga . . 88

Makalanga women and girls at the Mogabe's Kraal, Great Zimbabwe . 96
Soapstone Beams, with Birds, Zimbabwe . . ... 102

Front, side, and back views of Soapstone Bird, Zimbabwe . . .106

Soapstone Bird on Beam, discovered at Philips Ruins, Zimbabwe, in 1903

(three views) . . . . ... 10S

An old wall crossing over the foundation of a still older wall, Zimbabwe . 152
Binding of the summits of two separate walls . . . . 152

Exterior of Drain, Elliptical Temple . . . . . 170

Monoliths on the Platform, Acropolis . . . . . 170



x LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

South-east Wall, with Chevron Pattern, Elliptical Temple, Great Zimbabwe 198
Chevron Pattern, East Wall, Elliptical Temple . ... 204

North-east Wall, with Chevron Pattern, Elliptical Temple, Great Zimbabwe 206
North-west Entrance, Elliptical Temple . . . .

Entrance to Passage, No. 10 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple
Exterior of North Entrance, Elliptical Temple, Zimbabwe. Discovered
1903 . . . . .

Summit of South-east Main Wall, Elliptical Temple .
West Entrance from interior, Elliptical Temple
Nos. 3 and 4 Enclosures and West Main Wall, Elliptical Temple
West Entrance, No. 7 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple

South Wall of No. 7 Enclosure, showing part (to left) reconstructed,
Elliptical Temple . ...

Visitors' Ladder to summit of Main Wall, Elliptical Temple .
The small Conical Tower, Elliptical Temple
The Parallel Passage (from south), Elliptical Temple
The Parallel Passage (from north), Elliptical Temple
South Entrance to Parallel Passage, looking south, Elliptical Temple
Part of Platform Area, looking west, showing drain from No. 10 Enclosure,
Elliptical Temple .....

South Wall, with Pattern, No. 11 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple
Joint between original and reconstructed walls, Nos. 11 and 12 Enclosures,
Elliptical Temple .....

South-east interior of Elliptical Temple, looking N.N.E., and showing ex-
cavations, 1902-4 . . ...

Circular Cement Platform, with Steps, and carved Soapstone Beams, dis-
covered 1903, Elliptical Temple . . .
Entrance to Inner Parallel Passage from South Passage, Elliptical Temple
East Wall, with Pattern, No. 11 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple
Inner Parallel Passage, looking east, Elliptical Temple
Zimbabwe Hill, or Acropolis. View from Havilah Camp
A turn in the Passage of the South-east Ancient Ascent, Acropolis
View from South-east Ascent, Acropolis . . . .

Lower Entrance to Rock Passage, South-east Ascent, Acropolis
View down Rock Passage, South-east Ancient Ascent, Acropolis
Entrance to Covered Passage, Western Temple, Acropolis
Summit of West Wall of Western Temple, Acropolis, showing small tower
and monoliths . . . . .

West Entrance to Parallel Passage, Western Temple, Acropolis
Buttress Passage, Acropolis . . ...

The Cleft Rock, from north side, Acropolis

Natural Archway, Central Passage, Acropolis

View of the Platform from main West Wall of Western Temple, Acropolis

Dentelle Pattern on Platform, Western Temple, Acropolis

Bottom of Winding Stairs, Western Temple, Acropolis

West Entrance to South Cave, Acropolis . . . .

Exterior of main East Wall, showing Dentelle Pattern, Eastern Temple,
Acropolis . . . . . .

Sunken Passage (looking east), Eastern Temple, Acropolis
East Entrance to Pattern Passage, Acropolis



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Pattern Passage, Acropolis, looking east . . .

West Wall, Recess Enclosure, Acropolis . . . .

The Recesses at Recess Enclosure, Acropolis

Sunken Passage, section of North-west Ascent, Acropolis

Herring-bone Pattern, Water Gate, Acropolis

Rounded end of Wall on west side of Maund Ruins, showing steps to Platform

Valley of Ruins . . . . ■

North-east Wall, Maund Ruins, Valley of Ruins
Slate Beam in Recess of Entrance, Philips Ruins, Valley of Ruins .
The Passage, looking south, Mapaku Ruins, near Zimbabwe .



Map of Rhodesia

General Plan of Zimbabwe Ruins

Plate I.— Relics

Plate II.— Relics .

Plate III. — Relics .

Plan of Elliptical Temple

Plan of Acropolis Ruins



XI

PAGE
338
340
340
346
346

3S4
384
430
430



IO4
Il6
122
194
278



LIST OF DIAGRAMS AND PLANS IN THE TEXT



Great Zimbabwe Reserve
Section of Floors, No. 15 Enclosure
Arabian Glass
Arabian Pottery

Section of Floors, No. 6 Enclosure
South and North Entrances to No. 7 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple
North-west Entrance, Elliptical Temple .
North or Main Entrance, Elliptical Temple
West Entrance to Parallel Passage, Elliptical Tempi
Section of Eastern Temple, Acropolis
Plan of Eastern Temple, Acropolis
Outspan Ruins
Posselt Ruins
Philips Ruins
Maund Ruins
Renders Ruins
Mauch Ruins
South-east Ruins
No. 1 Ruins
Ridge Ruins
Camp Ruins, No. 1
,, ,, No. 2

East Ruins

Ruin near Chenga's Kraal
Mapaku Ruins



16



7
103

128
131
134
164
217
219
247

324
326

359
367
376

384
387
393
397
401
411

415
418
421
427
429




THE LATE MR. THEODORE BENT, F.K.G.S.

EXPLORER OF GREAT ZIMBABWE IN [891, AUTHOR "l " llll RUINED CITIES OF MASHONALAND'



THE VOLUME IS DEDICATED
TO THE MEMORY OF

THE LATE THEODORE BENT, F.R.G.S.

EXPLORER OF GREAT ZIMBABWE, 1 89 1

AND AUTHOR OF

"THE RUINED CITIES OF MASHONALAND "



PREFACE 1

IN preparing this detailed description of the ruins of Great
Zimbabwe — the first given to the world in modern times
— the author has aimed at permitting the actual ruins them-
selves to relate their own story of their forgotten past un-
weighted by any consideration of the many traditions,
romances, and theories which — especially during the last
decade — have been woven concerning these monuments.

The only apology offered for this apparently lengthy Pre-
face is the mention of the fact that the operations at Great
Zimbabwe were carried on for six months after the text of
this volume had been sent to the publishers in England.
The Preface, therefore, thus affords an opportunity of bring-
ing down the results of these operations to a recent date.

RUINS' AREA

The recent examination of the district surrounding the
ruins now shows the Ruins' Area to be far larger than either
Mr. Theodore Bent (1891) or Sir John Willoughby (1892)
supposed. Instead of the area being confined to 945 yds.
by 840 yds., it is now known to be at least 2 miles by
i£ miles, and even this larger limit is by no means final, as
traces of walls and of walls buried several feet under the
veld have been discovered, not only in Zimbabwe Valley,
but in the secluded valleys and gorges and on the hillsides
which lie a mile and even two miles beyond the extended

1 The major portion of this Preface was read before the British Association at
Cambridge, August 17, 1904.



xvi PREFACE

area. Huge mounds, many hundred feet in circumference,
with no traces of ruins, covered with large full-grown trees
and with the remains on the surface of very old native huts,
on being examined have been found to contain well-built
ruins in which were unearthed small conical towers, gold
ornaments, a few phalli, and in one instance a carved soap-
stone bird on a soapstone beam 4 ft. 8 in. high, which is more
perfect and more ornate than any other soapstone bird on
beam yet found at Zimbabwe. The examination of such
spots and of all traces of walls which lie at the outer edge
of the extended Ruins' Area would, even with a larre rancr
of labourers, occupy almost a lifetime.

Mr. Bent spoke of Zimbabwe as a " city," and recent dis-
coveries show the employment of this title to be fully justified,
for not only is the Ruins' Area vastly extended, but the for-
merly conjectured area can now be shown by recent excava-
tions to have been much more crowded with buildings than
could possibly have been seen in 1891. For instance, 2,300 ft.
of passages have recently been discovered within the heart
of the old Ruins' Area buried some feet under the silted soil
below the veld in spots where the siltation is rapid, the exist-
ence of which structures had been altogether unsuspected.
In some instances the native paths, used by visitors inspect-
ing the ruins, crossed these passages from 3 ft. to 5 ft. above
the tops of the passage walls. The enormous quantity of
debris, evidencing occupations in several periods, scattered
over both the old and the extended area, is simply astonish-
ing, and judging by the value of " finds " made during the
recent work, it seems quite possible that further exploration
would, in the intrinsic value of relics as relics, largely reim-
burse the expense of its continuance, while securing the
opening up of fresh features of architecture and probably
some definite clues as to the original builders of the numerous
periods of occupation respectively ; would bring an immense
addition to scientific knowledge, while the more important



PREFACE xvii

ruins themselves, having been cleared of silted and imported
soils and wall debris, are now ripe for the further examina-
tion for relics.

BURIAL PLACES OF THE OLD COLONISTS

The secluded valleys, and also the caves in hills, for a
distance of six miles, and in some cases as far as ten miles,
from Zimbabwe have been systematically searched in the
hope of discovering the burial place of the old gold-seekers.
The neighbourhood of Zimbabwe contains several extensive
ranges of granite hills each enclosing many secluded and
Sinbad-like valleys and gorges, where natives state white men
had never previously entered. Such spots on the whole of the
Beroma Hills to the east of Zimbabwe, the south end of
the Livouri Range to the west, the Bentberg Range to the
south, and several hills in the Nini district, as well as several
parts in the Motelekwe Valley, have been systematically
searched without avail, though there are in certain of these
secluded places traces of walls and artificially placed upright
stones and other signs of human presence which require
some explanation. The siltation of soil from the steep hill-
sides of many of these most romantically situated valleys has
been very extensive. These searches could only be carried on
after veld fires had swept the district of the rank grass which
here grows to a height of 12 ft. Mr. Bent and other writers
have shown that the old Arabians religiously preserved their
dead, burying them in secluded spots at some considerable
distance from any place of occupation. The writer is not
without hope that these burial places may yet be found.
The population of Zimbabwe at several different periods
must have been immense, and, judging by the remains found
near some of the oldest types of ruins in other parts of the
country where the amount of gold ornaments buried with
each corpse ranged from 1 oz. to 72 oz., the discovery of such
places in the Zimbabwe district would yield important
b



XV111



PREFACE



results, especially as, for many reasons, Zimbabwe un-
doubtedly appears to have been the ancient metropolitan
capital and the centre of gold-manufacturing industry of the
original and later Arab gold miners, and the place so far has
yielded the richest discoveries of gold in every form.

The writer is now perfectly assured that no burial places
of the original builders will be found under the interior of
the Elliptical Temple or within 30 yds. of the exterior. Holes
have been sunk at regular intervals within the temple and
immediately outside the walls, and boring-rods have been
systematically employed, and the position and lie of the
formation rock ascertained throughout, so that sections and
levels have been made of the soil and rock under the temple.
All the results gained from each hole and boring are re-
corded. But beyond discovering buried foundations at the
higher level, only virgin soil, never before disturbed, was
gone through. French and German archaeologists who visited
Zimbabwe during the operations confirmed what British
scientists have affirmed, that no burials of people of Semitic
stock would be found within or near to any building so
frequently in use as the great temple must have been. The
severe restrictions with regard to cleanliness and sanitation,
especially as to the dead, are among the most notable
features of the old Semitic nations.

ABSENCE OF INSCRIPTIONS
No ancient writing has been discovered, though close
attention has been paid to all stones and pottery likely to
bear it, and notwithstanding that the interiors of some of the
more ancient portions of the ruins have been cleared down
to the old floors where, if any existed, they might reasonably
have been expected to be found. Post-Koranic lettering
was found on highly glazed pottery, also on glass, but all
such specimens are of a fragmentary character ; but experts
such as Mr. Wallace Budge, the Head Keeper of Egyptian



PREFACE xix

and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum, state that
the glass and other "finds" of pottery are not older than the
thirteenth or fourteenth century of this era. Other pottery
thickly covered with dull-coloured glazes — mainly purples,
greens, and browns — is thought to be somewhat older than
that on which the lettering was found. Still, as such a very
large portion of what may be considered as the more ancient
of the ruins remains to be examined, it may yet be possible
to unearth older specimens of Arab writing.

TWO PERIODS OF GOLD MANUFACTURE
Gold in a manufactured form is found on the lowest and
original floors of the most ancient portions of the Zimbabwe
ruins. In several ruins this was found as thickly strewn
about the cement floors as nails in a carpenter's shop. Gold
ornaments discovered at this depth, in some instances from
3 ft. to 5 ft. below any known native floors, were always
found in association with the oldest form of relics yet
unearthed at Zimbabwe. Such gold articles are of most
delicate make, and are doubtless of an antique character, and
expert opinion recently obtained in England confirms this
conclusion.

But there are other gold articles which are ruder in design
and make, and these by no means are entitled to claim such
antiquity. In fact, expert opinion declines to recognise them
as being in any sense ancient ; for instance, beaten gold of
irregular shape showing the rough hammer marks of some
very crude instrument, and with holes round the edges of
such plates very rudely cut — or rather torn — and placed in
imperfect rows altogether in a haphazard style. This form
of gold plates is identical in every detail with the copper
sheathing with which it is always found associated. The same
remarks apply equally to the gold beads also found with this
class of plates which betoken crude workmanship, as well as
to the iron instruments decorated with small gold knobs.



xx PREFACE

With regard to the location of the later -period gold
articles there is ample evidence that these are of very old
native origin. Such ornaments are commonly met with on
the floors of, or in close proximity to, the old native huts
of the types of Nos. 2 and 3 (see Architecture, s.s. Native Huts
found in Ruins, pp. 154, 155, post), and also in the cement
huts with small radiating walls on levels several feet above
any ancient floorings. In every instance such gold orna-
ments are found in association with articles of old native
make — such as double iron gongs, copper sheathing, and
copper assegai- and arrow-heads.



ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

NORTH ENTRANCE

In 1902 the floor of the North Entrance to the temple
was exposed to a depth of 5 ft. below the surface, as shown
in Mr. Bent's book (p. 106), while a flight of steps in perfect
condition leading up to the entrance from the exterior was
discovered at a depth of 9 ft. below the old surface. This
entrance, showing a bold conception and admirable construc-
tion, is now considered as one of the principal show features
at Zimbabwe. Further, it is the oldest form of entrance
and steps as well as the finest of any yet discovered in
Rhodesia. A quantity of gold was found on the floor and
steps of this entrance, which were once covered with fine
granite cement, also a few true phalli.

PARALLEL PASSAGE

This has been cleared throughout to a depth of at least
3 ft., and in one place 7 ft. Cement floors were exposed,
and these were found to be divided into small catchment
areas with a drain from each passing outwards through the
main wall. Five additional drains were discovered in this



PREFACE xxi

passage. Here were found eight ornate phalli, a portion of a
gold bangle, some beaten gold and gold tacks of microscopic
size, and fragments of carved soapstone beams.

SACRED ENCLOSURE

This was cleared out to a depth of 4 ft. throughout its
whole area, and a few phalli of unmistakable form were
found, and old granite cement floors and steps were un-
covered. Explorers and relic hunters had worked in this
enclosure, and had double trenched it from end to end.

A remarkable discovery was made here of distinct traces
of granite cement dadoes, 7 ft. high, round the interior faces
of the walls of this enclosure. In some other enclosures the
remains of dadoes can still be seen.

The small conical tower in this enclosure has during the
last ten years been seriously damaged by the large trunk of
a tree pushing over the summit of the cone. Photographs
of this small tower taken in 1891 show that it was then
almost intact.

PLATFORM AREA

This open area, lying to the west and north of the Conical
Tower and the Platform, corresponds to the open areas
immediately in front of the altars in old Grecian temples.
This was Mr. Bent's opinion, and possibly it answered at
Zimbabwe a similar purpose of accommodating the wor-
shippers. The area, some 120 ft. by 60 ft, has been cleared
out of large trees, and of about 6 ft. of soil throughout, and
floors — both cement and clay — were disclosed, also a fine
circular structure of excellent granite cement, and ascended
by two steps. On and close to this structure were found
fragments, mainly bases, of carved soapstone beams of slender
appearance, also some phalli and gold. This platform lies
slightly off the north line between the Conical Tower and
the Main North Entrance.



xxii PEEFACE

Some of the walls surrounding this area on the west and
north sides, once considered to be ancient, can now be seen
to cross over very old native clay huts and native copper and
iron -smelting furnaces. The soil contained some phalli,
which had been converted by the natives into amulets, also



Online LibraryRichard Nicklin HallGreat Zimbabwe, Mashonaland, Rhodesia; an account of two years' examination work in 1902-4 on behalf of the government of Rhodesia → online text (page 1 of 39)