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Title: Great Zimbabwe, Mashonaland, Rhodesia - An account of two years' examination work in 1902-4 on - behalf of the government of Rhodesia
Author: Hall, Richard Nicklin
Language: English
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                            GREAT ZIMBABWE
                         MASHONALAND, RHODESIA

                    WORK IN 1902–4 ON BEHALF OF THE
                        GOVERNMENT OF RHODESIA

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

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


                             METHUEN & CO.
                         36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

                       _First Published in 1905_


  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                                                             1

                              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—Mojejèje, 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—Remains of Native Huts
      found in Ruins—Passages—Entrances and Buttresses               135

                             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                                     168

                              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

                             CHAPTER XVII
  Acropolis Ruins (_continued_)—Eastern Temple—Ancient
      Balcony—Balcony Enclosure—Balcony Cave—“Gold Furnace”
      Enclosure—Pattern Passage—Recess Enclosure—North
      Plateau—North Parapet                                          323

                             CHAPTER XVIII
  Acropolis Ruins (_continued_)—North-West Ancient
      Ascent—Watergate 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 1891, author of _The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland_         xiii

  Coin of Byblos, Phœnicia, showing Conical Tower                  xxxvi

  Wooden Bowl with Zodiacal Signs, found near Zimbabwe             xxxvi

  Cylinder with Rosettes found at Phœnician 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 débris 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 1871         62

  The Bird Rock, near Zimbabwe                                        68

  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)                                             108

  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

  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                             216

  Entrance to Passage, No. 10 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple           216

  Exterior of North Entrance, Elliptical Temple, Zimbabwe.
      Discovered 1903                                                220

  Summit of South-east Main Wall, Elliptical Temple                  222

  West Entrance from interior, Elliptical Temple                     222

  Nos. 3 and 4 Enclosures and West Main Wall, Elliptical Temple      228

  West Entrance, No. 7 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple                  234

  South Wall of No. 7 Enclosure, showing part (to left)
      reconstructed, Elliptical Temple                               234

  Visitors’ Ladder to summit of Main Wall, Elliptical Temple         238

  The small Conical Tower, Elliptical Temple                         238

  The Parallel Passage (from south), Elliptical Temple               246

  The Parallel Passage (from north), Elliptical Temple               248

  South Entrance to Parallel Passage, looking south, Elliptical
      Temple                                                         250

  Part of Platform Area, looking west, showing drain from No. 10
      Enclosure, Elliptical Temple                                   250

  South Wall, with Pattern, No. 11 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple      258

  Joint between original and reconstructed walls, Nos. 11 and 12
      Enclosures, Elliptical Temple                                  258

  South-east interior of Elliptical Temple, looking N.N.E., and
      showing excavations, 1902–4                                    264

  Circular Cement Platform, with Steps, and carved Soapstone Beams,
      discovered 1903, Elliptical Temple                             266

  Entrance to Inner Parallel Passage from South Passage, Elliptical
      Temple                                                         266

  East Wall, with Pattern, No. 11 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple       268

  Inner Parallel Passage, looking east, Elliptical Temple            268

  Zimbabwe Hill, or Acropolis. View from Havilah Camp                276

  A turn in the Passage of the South-east Ancient Ascent, Acropolis  284

  View from South-east Ascent, Acropolis                             284

  Lower Entrance to Rock Passage, South-east Ascent, Acropolis       286

  View down Rock Passage, South-east Ancient Ascent, Acropolis       286

  Entrance to Covered Passage, Western Temple, Acropolis             300

  Summit of West Wall of Western Temple, Acropolis, showing small
      tower and monoliths                                            300

  West Entrance to Parallel Passage, Western Temple, Acropolis       308

  Buttress Passage, Acropolis                                        308

  The Cleft Rock, from north side, Acropolis                         312

  Natural Archway, Central Passage, Acropolis                        312

  View of the Platform from main West Wall of Western Temple,
      Acropolis                                                      314

  Dentelle Pattern on Platform, Western Temple, Acropolis            314

  Bottom of Winding Stairs, Western Temple, Acropolis                316

  West Entrance to South Cave, Acropolis                             316

  Exterior of main East Wall, showing Dentelle Pattern, Eastern
      Temple, Acropolis                                              328

  Sunken Passage (looking east), Eastern Temple, Acropolis           328

  East Entrance to Pattern Passage, Acropolis                        338

  Pattern Passage, Acropolis, looking east                           338

  West Wall, Recess Enclosure, Acropolis                             340

  The Recesses at Recess Enclosure, Acropolis                        340

  Sunken Passage, section of North-west Ascent, Acropolis            346

  Herring-bone Pattern, Water Gate, Acropolis                        346

  Rounded end of Wall on west side of Maund Ruins, showing steps to
      Platform, Valley of Ruins                                      384

  North-east Wall, Maund Ruins, Valley of Ruins                      384

  Slate Beam in Recess of Entrance, Philips Ruins, Valley of Ruins   430

  The Passage, looking south, Mapaku Ruins, near Zimbabwe            430

       •       •       •       •       •

  Map of Rhodesia                                                  xxxii

  General Plan of Zimbabwe Ruins                                       8

  Plate I.—Relics                                                    104

  Plate II.—Relics                                                   116

  Plate III.—Relics                                                  122

  Plan of Elliptical Temple                                          194

  Plan of Acropolis Ruins                                            278


  Great Zimbabwe Reserve                                               7

  Section of Floors, No. 15 Enclosure                                103

  Arabian Glass                                                      128

  Arabian Pottery                                                    131

  Section of Floors, No. 6 Enclosure                                 134

  South and North Entrances to No. 7 Enclosure, Elliptical Temple
                                                                163, 164

  North-west Entrance, Elliptical Temple                             217

  North or Main Entrance, Elliptical Temple                          219

  West Entrance to Parallel Passage, Elliptical Temple               247

  Section of Eastern Temple, Acropolis                               324

  Plan of Eastern Temple, Acropolis                                  326

  Outspan Ruins                                                      359

  Posselt Ruins                                                      367

  Philips Ruins                                                      376

  Maund Ruins                                                        384

  Renders Ruins                                                      387

  Mauch Ruins                                                        393

  South-east Ruins                                                   397

  No. 1 Ruins                                                        401

  Ridge Ruins                                                        411

  Camp Ruins, No. 1                                                  415

   〃    〃    No. 2                                                  418

  East Ruins                                                         421

  Ruin near Chenga’s Kraal                                           427

  Mapaku Ruins                                                       429



                        THE VOLUME IS DEDICATED
                           TO THE MEMORY OF
                   THE LATE THEODORE BENT, F.R.G.S.
                   EXPLORER OF GREAT ZIMBABWE, 1891
                             AND AUTHOR OF


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 themselves to relate their own
story of their forgotten past unweighted 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 Preface 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 bringing 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 1¼ 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 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 soapstone 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 large gang of labourers, occupy almost a

Mr. Bent spoke of Zimbabwe as a “city,” and recent discoveries show
the employment of this title to be fully justified, for not only is
the Ruins’ Area vastly extended, but the formerly conjectured area can
now be shown by recent excavations 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 existence of which
structures had been altogether unsuspected. In some instances the
native paths, used by visitors inspecting the ruins, crossed these
passages from 3 ft. to 5 ft. above the tops of the passage walls.
The enormous quantity of débris, evidencing occupations in several
periods, scattered over both the old and the extended area, is simply
astonishing, 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 reimburse 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 ruins themselves, having been cleared of silted and imported
soils and wall débris, are now ripe for the further examination for


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 hillsides 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
results, especially as, for many reasons, Zimbabwe undoubtedly 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 recorded. But
beyond discovering buried foundations at the higher level, only virgin
soil, never before disturbed, was gone through. French and German
archæologists 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 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


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.

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 ornaments 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
construction, 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 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 uncovered. 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
worshippers. 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.

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 some Arabian glass—thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries—Venetian beads, gold wire-work, beaten gold, gold scorifiers
of native pottery, iron pincers, and fragments of carved soapstone
bowls with geometric designs.

                        ENCLOSURES 6, 7, AND 10

Gold-smelting operations must have, at some late period, been
extensively carried on in these enclosures, for on removing from each
enclosure all débris and fallen stones to a depth of from 4 ft. to 7
ft., there were found burnishing stones of fine grain and still covered
with gold, gold scorifiers with gold in the flux, cakes of gold, gold
furnace slag, beaten gold, and gold dust.

At a still lower depth in No. 6 Enclosure a quantity of granite
clay crucibles, showing gold richly, were met with, and these are
undoubtedly of older type than the native pottery scorifiers, also some
ingot moulds of soapstone of the double claw-hammer or St. Andrew’s
cross pattern.

                             CENTRAL AREA

This area is only partially excavated, it being covered with old
native-built walls which cross over bone and ash débris, old native
huts, an iron furnace, and rich black mould in which the vegetable
matter was still undecayed. Experimental holes and boring-rods showed
that some very old foundations ran below the soil upon which the later
and poorer walls are built. However, a key has now been found which
will enable further excavations to be made within this area without
injury to the upper walls.

                       SUMMIT OF MAIN EAST WALL

Along the summit of the east main wall, and only over the chevron
pattern which faces east, have recently been discovered the traces of
foundations of small circular towers, both on the inner and outer edges
of the wall. These correspond in measurement and relative position to
the small conical towers on the west wall of the Western Temple at
the Acropolis Ruins, which is decorated with monoliths. Some of the
best-known surveyors and practical builders in Rhodesia are prepared
to certify as to the traces of these foundations. This is entirely a
new discovery, as is also the fact that at one time the summit of the
wall, only over the chevron pattern, bore beautifully rounded soapstone
monoliths, the bases being found displaced under the ruck of loose
blocks which runs along the centre of the summit of this part of the
main wall. Some carved splinters of these monoliths were found at the
bases of the wall. A collection of these “finds” has been sent to the
Salisbury Museum.


All the walls of the Elliptical Temple are not ancient; that is,
not ancient in the sense applying to the suggested Sabæo-Arabian
occupation of Rhodesia and also to that of the Solomonic gold period.
The evidences pointing to this conclusion, and now for the first time
available, are so obvious and general, and the ocular demonstration so
positive, that one of the many popular myths concerning Great Zimbabwe
must, even at the risk of committing a vandalism on cherished romantic
theories and beliefs, go by the board. The writer prefers that the
ruins should tell their own story, and this can now be read in the
walls, in the débris heaps, and in the relics and their associated
“finds” and locations.

The oldest walls of the temple for which great antiquity may be
claimed are—the main east wall from north to south, the Conical Tower,
the Platform, portions of the inner wall of the Parallel Passage
(reconstructions are present here), and some adjoining walls, and some
buried walls and foundations, and possibly some other walls on the
south side, concerning which some doubt exists, as also the west wall
of the West Passage, a well-built structure which once was extended at
either extremity. As to the question of obviously much later walls,
this is involved in the following section of this preface.

                         WEST WALL CONTROVERSY

The writer is fully convinced that the original west wall of the temple
once extended outwards further west, and that the present west wall
extending towards the south is of much more recent construction and
is built on a shorter curve, _also that most of the structures of the
central and western portions of the building are also of much later
construction_, and this for many substantial reasons, some of which are
here briefly stated:—

(_a_) The west wall is considered by all practical builders and
architects to be far slighter, much inferior in construction, fuller
of defects, and to contain to a greater extent ill-shaped stones than
the main wall on the east side, while the foundations are at many
points far more irregular, and the batter-back of the interior face
of the west wall is less severe than is the case of the east side.
Lengths of 25 ft. each of both walls have been examined and compared
and photographed, and the number of defects of construction recorded.
The number of false and “straight joints,” false and disappearing
courses, and stones supported at their corners by granite chips, which
the west wall contains, is roughly about forty odd to every one of
such defects in the east wall, which is _the_ architectural marvel for
symmetry, grand proportion, true courses of most carefully selected and
assorted blocks (some of which have been dressed with metal tools) of
any other ancient architectural features at Zimbabwe. All this is an
ocular demonstration, and is commented upon by the most casual visitor
to these ruins. This, too, is very patent when seen from the summit of
Zimbabwe Hill, the view looking down upon the temple revealing most
obviously the different characters of the walls.

(_b_) In 1903 the writer cleared the soil away from the gap between the
older and later walls, and found that they were widely different in
construction; that the later and narrower wall approached the older and
well-built and wider wall at an oblique angle; and that the end of the
older wall is broken and not finished off as are other ends of ancient
walls. In a trench made at a distance of twelve yards west of the gap,
and on the curve the older wall, if continued, would have passed, a
mass of buried masonry, which might have been a portion of the old
wall, was disclosed.

(_c_) Dr. Hahn, the leading expert in South Africa in chemical
metallurgy, analysed the soil underlying the foundation of the west
wall, and pronounced it to be composed of disintegrated furnace slag
and ashes containing gold and iron. The ground to the west of the west
wall has always been the spot at which gold prospectors have washed the
soil for gold, and here gold crucibles and scorifiers are to be found.
This soil contains 73 per cent. of silica, and would make an excellent
foundation for walls, and the west wall is built right along this bed
of furnace slag, which is about 2 ft. in depth, many yards wide, and
extends from north to south.

(_d_) At a few feet from the exterior of the west wall, and _at a depth
of four feet below the level of its foundation_, and extending as shown
in trenches and cross-cuts for at least thirty yards from north to
south, is a floor of granite cement laid on the formation rock, hiding
its irregularities and making a perfectly level surface. The full
extent of this flooring has not yet been ascertained. For two feet
between the level of this cement flooring and the furnace-slag soil
under the foundations of the west wall is fine silted soil. Evidently
the later wall was erected at a very considerable period subsequently
to the laying of the cement flooring and after the siltation of the
soil, and also after the gold-smelting operations had been extensively
carried on for a long period.

(_e_) No single relic of any great antiquity has been found by any
explorer or prospector in the western portion of the temple, while the
eastern portion has yielded at depth great quantities of phalli and of
every relic believed to be associated with the earliest occupiers.

The oldest “find” in the western half of the building is pronounced
by Dr. Budge to be of a period dating from between the thirteenth and
fifteenth centuries of this era, and other “finds” relate to the same
and later periods.

                         WRITER’S CONCLUSIONS

The writer is now and for the above and further considerations, and
after two years’ residence within the ruins, perfectly convinced of the

(1) That on the departure of the ancient builders and occupiers the
temple became a ruin, and remained as such for some centuries, the west
wall disappearing in the meantime (as explained later); (2) that some
organised Arab people, possibly a split of the numerous Arab colonies
and kingdoms which existed down the East African coast, possibly of
the Magdoshu kingdom, who, according to De Barros, reached Sofala
(1100 A.D.), exploited the gold mines, and formed a mixed population
between the Arabs and natives, or possibly the Arabs of Quiloa, who
secured as suzerain power Sofala and the kingdom of the Monomotapa
(Rhodesia). One of these peoples is believed to be responsible for
the ruins of Inyanga, which the writer after examining these remains
does not consider to be ancient in the fullest sense of the term. One
of these peoples are also believed to be responsible for making the
“_old_ workings,” the distinction between which and the “_ancient_
workings” must always be kept in mind, a distinction which the late Mr.
Telford Edwards always pointed out and insisted upon, and concerning
which recent investigations prove him to have been correct; (3) that
these Arabs made Zimbabwe their headquarters, to which the washed gold
dust was brought to be converted into ingots for transport; (4) that
these Arabs carried on extensive gold-smelting operations at the west
end of the temple in the shelter of the massive walls, which would
protect them against the prevailing winds and drifting rains; (5) that
_after_ carrying on these gold-smelting operations extensively and for
a considerable period, they built a wall across the open space and
upon their furnace-slag beds, possibly employing native labour (the
Makalanga being notorious for their skill in wall building); and (6)
that these Arabs also built several of the enclosures in the central
and western parts of the temple to suit their special convenience, and
altogether regardless of the buried foundations of the ancient builders.


It may be asked what caused the destruction of the original west
wall. Its disappearance may be accounted for as follows. The south
and west walls have for centuries borne the full brunt of all the
torrential rain and storm water which rushes to these points from the
Bentberg Kopjes, which lie close to the temple on the south side. This
accounts for the great depth of silted soil which buries the old cement
flooring. This must have washed the lower portions of the walls till
the cement foundations decomposed and brought down the structure as it
has done at other ruins at Zimbabwe. The writer at the commencement
of his first rainy season at Zimbabwe found a large pool about 30
yds. in length, 15 yds. in breadth, and 2 ft. in depth up against the
present west wall, towards which all surface water from the higher
ground rushed unchanged. This had been going on every rainy season for
many generations, with the result of forming large cavities under the
foundations, and of keeping the wall in a constant drip with damp even
at noontide, and of causing the spread of large moss over the walls,
while shrubs and small trees grew out of the walls at some height from
their base. Trenches and runs-off and banks soon cured this evil, and
now the walls have changed from being black with damp to being grey
with dryness. The moss has naturally flaked off, and the trees and
shrubs in the walls are dead, owing to lack of moisture.

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

                            WESTERN TEMPLE

Operations in this temple since the description of the earlier work
was embodied in the text of this volume have been carried on to June,
1904. Soil to a depth of from 3 ft. to 5 ft. was removed from the whole
of the eastern portion of this area. The excavations showed several
layers of native clay floors one above another. The “finds” were those
known to be of native origin, though not made by natives of to-day. The
later or native period of gold manufacture was greatly in evidence,
beaten gold, gold tacks, and gold wire being frequently met with in
association with copper sheathing, copper assegai- and arrow-heads, the
copper containing no alloy.

A trial hole sunk to a depth of 6 ft. below this cleared portion of
the temple area, or 9 ft. below the surface as it appeared in 1903,
showed in its sides the lines of several clay floors and the side of a
Kafir clay hut, now quite decomposed and soft. At the bottom of the
pit a rough pavement of closely-fitting stones of irregular shape and
size was come upon, and the articles found were identical with those
discovered at a higher level.

The clearing of the area also disclosed clay sides of huts with the
remains of short walls of stone radiating from the sides of the huts.
The wall which Mr. Bent considered might have been the “altar” was
found to be the radiating wall of a similar hut built upon a higher
level. These small radiating walls are a general feature of exceedingly
old native huts found at several places at Zimbabwe.

A large circular platform of granite cement was also disclosed. This
spot yielded beaten gold of native make.

                          A ZIMBABWE REVIVAL

The writer believes that between the thirteenth and fifteenth
centuries, or slightly earlier, a great influx of people took place
at Zimbabwe, and that the majority of the minor ruins in the Valley
of Ruins were built about this period. This is shown by the number of
walls built across exceedingly old débris heaps of native origin, by
the “finds” of Arabian articles on their lowest floors, and by the fact
that no relic of greater age than that period has been found. Two or
three of the better-built minor ruins have the appearance of greater
age, and some of the relics found in this class of ruins are of the
oldest type. No one who had not spent considerable time at Zimbabwe
could have any possible conception of the immense population present
here at a period of but a few centuries ago. The remains of their stone
walls are scattered thickly over the valleys and hillsides of Zimbabwe.
The Makalanga state these are all Makalanga of generations long passed
away. Some are constructions by indigenous peoples, and certainly they
are not ancient, though largely built of stones quarried from the
ancient ruins, and the “finds” are those of old native type, including
Arab articles.

                         PRESERVATION OF RUINS

The thanks of all scientific circles, and of South Africans generally,
are due to Sir W. H. Milton, Administrator of Rhodesia, whose great
interest in the preservation of the ancient monuments in these
territories is well known, and to whose direction is due the recent
and timely preservation work at Great Zimbabwe. The author desires
to express his personal indebtedness to Sir William Milton for
the adequate arrangements made by him while engaged in his recent
researches at the Great Zimbabwe.

                       PLAN OF ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

The clearing of the Elliptical Temple and its vicinity has enabled Mr.
Franklin White, M.E., Bulawayo, to prepare the latest and so far the
most perfect plan of that building, and this he has kindly placed at
the service of the author.

Indebtedness is also expressed to Professor A. H. Keane, LL.D. (author
of _The Gold of Ophir_), for the contribution of the _Introduction_ to
this volume; to Mrs. Theodore Bent for generously permitting the use in
this volume of illustrations from _The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland_;
to Mr. Gray, Chief Veterinary Surgeon, Salisbury, Mr. H. S. Meilandt,
Government Roads Inspector, Bulawayo, and Trooper Wenham, B.S.A.P.,
Victoria, for permission to reproduce certain photographs of the ruins,
and also to the Directors of the British South Africa Company for
permission to include the map of Rhodesia in this work.

        RHODESIA, S.A.
            _1st June, 1904_.


                         BY A. H. KEANE, LL.D.

An archæological work of absorbing interest, such as the volume here
presented to the reader, needs no introduction. Nor are the following
remarks meant to be taken in that sense, but only as a sort of “missing
link” in the chain of evidence between past and present, between the
Arabian Himyarites and the Rhodesian monuments, the forging of which
the author has entrusted to me. In _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_,
of which _Great Zimbabwe_ is the inevitable outcome, Messrs. Hall and
Neal did not discuss the problem of origins, speculation was distinctly
eschewed, and although their personal views were, and are, in harmony
with those of all competent observers, they made no dogmatic statement
on the subject, leaving the main conclusion to be inferred from the
great body of evidence which they patiently accumulated on the spot
and embodied in their monumental work. In _Great Zimbabwe_, of which
Mr. Hall is sole author, and the rich materials for which he has alone
brought together, the same attitude of reserve is still maintained,
perhaps even more severely, and therefore it is that he has now invited
me to develop the argument by which, as he hopes and I believe, the
wonderful prehistoric remains strewn over Southern Rhodesia, but
centred chiefly in the Great Zimbabwe group, may be finally traced to
their true source in South Arabia, Phœnicia, and Palestine.

In _The Gold of Ophir, whence Brought and by Whom_,[2] where several
chapters are devoted to this subject, I inferred, on plausible grounds,
that the Havilah of Scripture—“the whole land of Havilah where there is
gold”—was the mineralised region between the Zambesi and the Limpopo,
and that the ancient gold-workings of this region were first opened
and the associated monuments erected by the South Arabian Himyarites,
followed in the time of Solomon by the Jews and Phœnicians. I further
endeavoured to show that all these Semitic treasure-seekers reached
Havilah (the port of which was Tharshish, probably the present
Sofala) through Madagascar, where they had settlements and maintained
protracted commercial and social intercourse with the Malagasy natives;
and lastly, that the produce of the mines was by them sent down to
the coast and shipped at Tharshish for Ophir, the great Himyaritic
emporium on the south coast of Arabia, whence it was distributed over
the eastern world. It followed that the scriptural “gold of Ophir” did
not mean the gold mined at Ophir, which was not, as hitherto supposed,
an auriferous land, but a gold mart.[3] The expression meant the gold
imported by the Jews and Phœnicians from Havilah (Rhodesia), _viâ_
Tharshish, Ophir, and Ezion-geber in Idumæa, at the head of the Red Sea.

It is needless here to recapitulate in detail the arguments that I have
advanced in support of this general thesis. But I should like to point
out that if one or two of them have been invalidated by my critics,
several have been greatly strengthened by the fresh evidence that has
accumulated since the appearance of _The Gold of Ophir_.

Of course, incomparably the most important mass of fresh evidence is
that which has been brought together by Mr. Hall himself during his
two years’ researches amid the central group of ruins, and is now
permanently embodied in _Great Zimbabwe_. Yet the work has in a sense
been but begun; it has reached down only to the ancient flooring which
has still to be explored; and we are assured by Sir John Willoughby,
a most competent authority, that after two months’ exploring the
wonderful Elliptical Temple with a large gang of labourers, two years
will yet be needed to complete the surface work of that structure
alone, without touching the old floors. Mr. Hall infers that three
further years will be required for the Acropolis itself, besides the
“Valley of Ruins,” with the groups of buildings extending in all
directions for over a mile from the temple. A mere glance at some of
the finely reproduced photographs creates a sense of awe and amazement
at the huge size and solidity of the containing walls with their
patiently interwoven chevron and other patterns, and at the vast
extent of the ground covered by these great monuments of a forgotten
past. Their erection must have taken many scores of years, one might
say centuries, and their builders must consequently have dwelt for
many generations in the land which they so diligently exploited for
its underground treasures. Here and in all the other strictly mining
districts they carried on their operations in the midst of hostile
native populations, as is sufficiently evident from the strongholds
crowning so many strategical heights, from the formidable ramparts and
the immense strength of the outer walls, everywhere rounding off in
long narrow passages leading to the inner enclosures.


Under such conditions it will naturally be asked, whence did the
foreign intruders obtain their food supplies? The answer to this
question is suggested in _The Ancient Ruins_, where it is pointed out
(p. 208) that the auriferous reefs of the central Zimbabwe district,
and generally of all the districts in immediate proximity to the
fortified stations, show no traces of having ever been worked for
the precious metal. “Possibly the reason for the ancients ignoring
the gold-reefs of this district [Zimbabwe] lies in the fact that
the country round about is exceedingly well suited for agricultural
purposes, the soil being rich and water plentiful, and all vegetable
growths prolific and profuse. The large population of ancients,
together with the enormous gangs of slaves, would naturally consume
a vast quantity of grain, and this necessity would create a large
agricultural class, who, for their own safety and for the protection
of their crops and fruits, would naturally carry on their operations
within such an area as could be safeguarded by the fortresses of

It might at first sight be supposed that the food supplies were drawn
chiefly from the extensive agricultural settlements of the Inyanga
territory, on the northern slopes of Mashonaland, which drain through
the Ruenga and its numerous affluents to the right bank of the Zambesi.
This Inyanga district may be roughly described, from the archæological
point of view, as an area of old aqueducts, of old terraced slopes,
and of old ruins of a less imposing type than the Zimbabwe remains.
In a notice of _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ contributed to the
_Geographical Journal_ for April, 1902, I first drew attention to the
surprising analogy, or rather identity, between these terraces and
those of the South Arabian uplands visited by General E. T. Haig in the
eighties. So close is the parallelism that Haig’s description might
almost change places with Mr. Telford Edwards’ account of the Inyanga
works quoted in _The Ancient Ruins_, p. 353 _sq._, as thus:—

         TERRACED SLOPES                       TERRACED SLOPES
         (SOUTH ARABIA)                        (SOUTH AFRICA)

“In one district the whole            “The extent of these ancient
mountain side, for a height of        terraces is astonishing, and
6,000 ft., was terraced from top      there is every evidence of the
to bottom. Everywhere, above,         past existence of _hundreds of
below, and all around, endless        thousands of inhabitants_. It
flights of terraced walls meet        would be quite impossible to
the eye. One can hardly realise       convey any idea of the immensity
the enormous amount of labour,        of labour implied in the enormous
toil, and perseverance which these    number of these ancient terraces.
represent. The terraced walls         I saw at least 150 square miles
are usually from 4 to 5 ft. in        composed of kopjes from 100 to 400
height, but towards the top of        ft. in height literally strewn
the mountain they are sometimes       with the ruins. A contemplation
as much as 15 or 18 ft. They are      of the enormous tonnage of stones
built entirely of rough stone         and earth rudely built into these
laid without mortar. I reckoned       terraces left me amazed. It
on an average that each wall          appears to be abundantly clear
retains a terrace not more than       that the terraces were for the
twice its own height in width,        purpose of cultivating cereals of
and I do not think I saw a single     some sort. The terraces as a rule
breach in one of them unrepaired”     rise up in vertical lifts of about
(Haig, _Proceedings Geographical      2 or 3 ft., and extend backwards
Society_, 1887, p. 482).              over a distance of mostly 7 to 12
                                      ft. The terraces are all made very
                                      flat and of dry masonry, not of
                                      hewn stone.”

But Mr. Hall, who visited the Inyanga territory in May, 1904, now finds
that the terraced slopes,[4] the so-called “slave-pits,” and the other
remains, although “old,” are not “ancient.” That is to say, they date
not from Himyaritic times, but probably from the eleventh or twelfth
century of the new era, when parts of Rhodesia were reoccupied by
large numbers of Moslem Arabs from Quiloa and their other settlements
along the east coast. Hence, although the terraced slopes still form a
connecting link between South Africa and South Arabia, the South Arabia
here in question is that, not of pre-, but of post-Koranic times.

Of course, the ruined houses and ruined aqueducts are too much
obliterated to supply any clear points of comparison. But their mere
presence, and especially the vast extent of ground covered by them,
will suffice to confirm Mr. Telford Edwards’ estimate of the vast
numbers of civilised peoples who inhabited the rich Inyanga valleys
in prehistoric times, and whom we may now call Sabæans, Minæans, and
others Himyarites.

Were the houses still extant, we should expect to find them covered
with the same decorative mural motives as are still seen both on the
Zimbabwe monuments and on the public buildings of Sana, present capital
of Arabia Felix. Manzoni, who visited this city three times between
the years 1877 and 1880, figures a mansion six stories high, which is
richly ornamented with two such motives—the chevron and the vertical
block pattern—closely resembling those everywhere occurring on the more
ancient Rhodesian walls. The chevron, which is seen both in single and
double courses exactly as on the great walls of the Elliptical Temple,
is absolutely identical, while the block design differs only in being
quite vertical at Sana, whereas it is slightly tilted, or else two rows
of blocks converge to produce the herring-bone pattern on the Rhodesian
walls, as at Little Umnukwana and many other places. The reader
will find Manzoni’s mansion reproduced in Mr. D. G. Hogarth’s _The
Penetration of Arabia_, 1904, p. 198, and he will there notice that the
various motives fill up all the space between two parallel horizontal
lines, as is so often the case in Rhodesia.[5] Here, therefore, style,
motive, general treatment, everything corresponds between the Rhodesian
remains and the decorative fancies still flourishing in Sana, heir to
the cultural traditions of the neighbouring Mariaba and of the other
ancient Himyaritic capitals in South Arabia.

(FIG. I)]

(FIG. 2)]

In _The Gold of Ophir_ frequent reference is made to the relations,
social and commercial, established between Palestine and Madagascar
certainly as early as the time of Solomon, and possibly even during
the reign of his father David. On this point I might have spoken even
more confidently, for I have since received a communication from M.
Alfred Grandidier, by far the greatest living authority on all
things Malagasy, who calls my attention to the evidence supplied in
his monumental work, _Histoire Physique, Naturelle et Politique de
Madagascar_ (1901), of intercourse between the Jews and the natives
of Madagascar and neighbouring islands even in pre-Solomonic days.
Documents are quoted to show that the Comoros, stepping-stones between
Madagascar and Rhodesia, were peopled in the reign of Solomon “by Arabs
or rather by Idumæan Jews from the Red Sea,” and that the people of the
great island preserve many Israelitish rites, usages, and traditions,
cherish the memory of Adam, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Gideon, but have no
knowledge of any of the prophets after the time of David, “which seems
to show that the Jewish immigrants left their home at a very remote
date, since if the exodus had been recent they could not have forgotten
the great names posterior to the time of David.” Hence he concludes
that “there is nothing surprising in the presence of an Idumæan colony
in Madagascar, for we know that from the very earliest times the Arabs
of Yemen had frequented the East African seaboard at least as far as
Sofala.” These words lend further support to my identification of
Tharshish with Sofala, and in a note it is added that “the Jews and
Arabian Semites were not the only peoples who had formerly commercial
relations with the inhabitants of the African seaboard. From time
immemorial these southern waters were navigated by the fleets of the
Egyptians, probably even of the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Assyrians,
Phœnicians, Tyrians” (_op. cit._, p. 96). And again at p. 100: “From
the earliest times the Indian Ocean was traversed by Chaldean,
Egyptian, Jewish, Arab, Persian, Indian, and other vessels.”[6]

My statements regarding the long-standing relations of the Northern
Semites with the peoples of Madagascar and South Africa as far as
Sofala are thus fully supported by the greatest authority on the
subject. But there are some minds so constituted that they seem
incapable of accepting a new revelation. They can do nothing but _stare
super vias antiquas_, and will strain every nerve to minimise the force
of facts and arguments pointing at conclusions which run counter to
their deep-rooted prejudices. I here reproduce the famous “Zimbabwe
Zodiac” (Fig. 2.), which was found near Great Zimbabwe, and shows the
twelve signs of the Zodiac carved round the rim, as described by the
late Dr. Schlichter in the _Geographical Journal_ for April, 1890. This
specialist tells us that “the signs coincide in every respect with
other finds which Bent and others have made in Zimbabwe. One of the
pictures is an image of the sun analogous to the sun-pictures which
Mauch and Bent found on the monoliths of Zimbabwe, and _analogous also
to finds in Asia Minor which belong to the Assyro-Babylonian period_.”
But a writer in the _Guardian_ attempts to destroy the significance of
this document by asserting that the Zodiac or its nomenclature is of
Greek origin and consequently of no great age. Now the Hon. Emmeline M.
Plunket has recently (1903) published a work on _Ancient Calendars and
Constellations_, in which she maintains that the Babylonian Calendar,
with its Zodiacal signs, dates from 6000 B.C., that is, about 8,000
years ago. It is true that this estimate is not clearly made out. But
on the other hand, the reader may be assured that Miss Plunket does
not hold by the “Greek” theory. Nor does F. Delitzsch, who reminds us
that “when we distinguish twelve signs of the Zodiac and call them
Ram, Bull, Twins, etc., in all this the Sumero-Babylonian culture is
still a living influence down to the present day.”[7] Nor does Sayce,
who points out that the Babylonian account of the Flood occurs in the
eleventh book of the epic of Gisdhubar corresponding approximately
with the eleventh sign of the Zodiac, at that time _Aquarius_, just
as the fifth book records the death of a monstrous lion by Gisdhubar,
answering to the Zodiacal _Leo_ and so on. He further observes that
“the Zodiacal signs had been marked out and named at that remote period
(certainly before 2000 B.C.), when the sun was still in Taurus at the
beginning of spring,”[8] and, let me add, when the Greeks had not
yet been heard of, but when the great Gnomon, or Conical Tower, had
possibly already been erected by the Semitic builders of Great Zimbabwe.

(FIG. 3)]

(FIG. 4)]

That this and the numerous other conical towers still standing amid
the crumbling ruins of Rhodesia are all cast in a Semitic mould
will be at once seen by comparing them with the conical tower of a
temple, figured on a medallion found at Byblos in Phœnicia and here
reproduced (Fig. 1.). The comparison may also be extended to the
two embossed cylinders—one from Great Zimbabwe, the other from the
Temple of Paphos, in Cyprus, here also reproduced (Figs. 3 and 4) from
Bent’s _Ruined Cities_, pp. 170, 171. These two objects, so strikingly
similar in general design, reminded Bent of Herodian’s description of
the sacred cone in the great Phœnician Temple of the Sun at Emessa,
in Syria, which was adorned with certain “knobs or protuberances,” a
pattern supposed by him to represent the sun, and common in phallic
decorations, such as are constantly turning up with every shovelful of
débris removed from the Zimbabwe Temple Enclosures.

But although thousands of stones have been washed and carefully
examined for inscriptions, none have so far been discovered. As the
inscription which stood originally above the gateway of Great Zimbabwe,
as reported by the Arabs to the Portuguese pioneers early in the
sixteenth century,[9] has since disappeared, there are no known written
documents connecting these monuments with South Arabia or Phœnicia,
except a few scratches on the rim of an earthenware vessel figured
by Bent and by him supposed possibly to be of Himyaritic type.[10]
As, on the other hand, South Arabia is covered with Himyaritic rock
inscriptions, some of considerable length and hitherto reputed to be of
great age, their absence from Rhodesia has naturally caused surprise.
This negative argument has even by some of my critics been allowed to
outweigh the overwhelming positive evidence derived from the monuments
themselves, from the hundreds of old gold-workings already described
or recorded, from the multitude of objects—phalli, birds, conic
towers—which have been found in the ruins, and are, beyond all doubt,
intimately associated with Semitic religious observances. But I think
it may now be shown that this “negative argument” is no proof at all
of non-Semitic origins, but, on the contrary, affords strong indirect
evidence of the great antiquity of these Semitic remains in Rhodesia.

It is to be noticed, in the first place, that although the Phœnicians
are believed to have migrated from the Persian Gulf to the
Mediterranean about three millenniums before the New Era, no Phœnician
inscriptions have yet been anywhere discovered in the Mediterranean
lands older than about the seventh or the eighth century B.C. Before
that time the Phœnicians, like the kindred Canaanites and Israelites,
were rude, uncultured peoples, with no knowledge of letters, except,
perhaps, of the hieroglyphs, cuneiforms, and other scripts of their
Egyptian, Assyro-Babylonian, Hittite, and Cretan neighbours. Even the
Moabite Stone, if it be genuine, is post-Solomonic, since its reputed
“author” was the Moabite king, Mesha, contemporary of Jehoram of Israel
and Jehoshaphat of Judah. How, then, could the unlettered Jews and
Phœnicians of the time of David, Solomon, and Hiram leave any written
records of themselves in Rhodesia? After that epoch the intercourse
with South Africa was interrupted, because “Jehoshaphat made ships of
Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold; but they went not; for the ships
were broken at Ezion-geber” (1 Kings xxii. 48). And then the star
of Jacob waned, and the scattering of the Ten Tribes of Israel was
presently followed by the dire calamities that fell upon Judah, and put
an end for ever to all further quest of treasure in the Austral seas.

(FIG. 5)]

(FIG. 6)]

In the second place I find that Semitic students are gradually coming
to the conclusion that the age of the South Arabian rock inscriptions
has been greatly exaggerated, especially by Glaser, whose authority
was at first naturally accepted almost without demur. The language is,
no doubt, Himyaritic, that is to say, the oldest known form of Arabic.
But that language survived for many centuries after the New Era in the
Axumite empire, Abyssinia, where it is called _Geez_, and in Yemen
till some time after the Mohammedan irruption, and is still current in
the island of Sokotra, and in the Mahra district east of Hadramaut,
where it is called _Ehkili_. Hence the language of the inscriptions
is no test of their antiquity, though many afford intrinsic evidence
that they date certainly from at least a few hundred years before the
New Era. The subject is at present _sub judice_, and no more can be
said until the full results are known of the extensive researches now
in progress throughout Yemen. Here a large number of agents of the
French Ministère de l’Instruction Publique have been at work since
the year 1901, and thousands of impressions or rubbings have already
(1903–4) been received in Paris. Some have even begun to appear in
the _Nouveaux Textes Yéménites_, edited by M. Derenbourg, and several
of the inscriptions are stated to be in a hitherto unknown alphabet
quite different from that of the Himyaritic document which forms the
frontispiece of the _Gold of Ophir_. Great revelations may therefore be
pending; but, meanwhile, so much may, I think, be safely inferred, that
the Himyarites who first arrived in Rhodesia, worked the mines, and
built the monuments, some dating from apparently 2000 B.C., had little
or no knowledge of letters, or at least had not yet begun to cover
the rocks of their South Arabian homes with well-formed and carefully
constructed inscriptions. Thus is also explained the absence of all
such documents from their new homes in Rhodesia, where one may now
almost venture to predict that none will ever be found. Nothing can be
inferred from the vanished inscription over the Great Zimbabwe gateway,
since the gold-workings appear to have been resumed for a time by the
later (post-Mohammedan) Arabs, who were fond of decorating the façades
of their mosques and other public buildings with the ornamental but
relatively recent (eighth century) Cufic characters.

Mention should perhaps here be made of Professor Gustav Oppert’s
_Tharshish and Ophir_ (Berlin, 1903), in which the learned author
claims to offer “a final solution” of the problem. But he leaves the
question exactly as it stood over three decades ago, is still lost in
the tangle of time-worn etymologies, and takes no notice at all of
the revelations made by Messrs. Hall and Neal in the _Ancient Ruins_.
The vast body of archæological evidence derived in recent years from
the Rhodesian remains is thus completely ignored, and fresh light
excluded from the only source whence it might have been drawn. On the
other hand, Professor Oppert, rather than admit a Tharshish in the
Indian Ocean, suggests that the _Tharshish_ of Kings and Chronicles
either means “the sea,” possibly the origin of the Greek word θἁλαττα
itself, or else was by the authors of those books foisted into the
texts instead of Ophir. Hence where _Tharshish_ occurs as the objective
of Solomon’s gold expeditions we are to read _Ophir_, although the
original Ophir is allowed to have been where I place it on the south
coast of Arabia. Now the Greek word θἁλαττα is Homeric, and when the
Homeric poems were first sung there were no Greeks in the Indian
Ocean. Hence, even if the wild etymology could be admitted, it would
not serve, and this essay cannot be accepted as “a final solution of
the old controversy.”[11] It is pleasant to be able to add that my
solution has been accepted as final by some of Professor Oppert’s
fellow-countrymen—the editor of the _Coloniale Zeitung_ amongst
others—who declares that “the problem seems now really solved.”[12]

Let me conclude with a question. Those who still reject my solution,
who cast about for the gold of Ophir all over the Indian Ocean—Egypt,
Arabia, Persia, India—anywhere except South Africa, what do they
propose doing with the hundreds of old Rhodesian workings, which are
known to have yielded at least £75,000,000 in their time, and with
the stupendous Semitic monuments connected with these workings, of
which Mr. Hall here presents the public with scores of photographic
reproductions, drawn exclusively from the central Great Zimbabwe group?
Where does India, the spoilt child of the etymologists, stand beside
these remains, which betray such undoubted evidence of their South
Arabian origin?

                          GREAT ZIMBABWE[13]

                               CHAPTER I

           Arrival at Great Zimbabwe—First Impressions—View
                          from Acropolis Hill

On the 21st May, 1902, I arrived at Victoria in Mashonaland, _en route_
to the ruins of the Great Zimbabwe, which lie about seventeen miles
south-east of the township. In 1891, when the late Mr. Theodore Bent
visited Zimbabwe, he occupied exactly one week in covering the distance
between Victoria and the ruins. Unfortunately for him and his party, he
had been advised to follow the Moshagashi Valley, instead of taking the
higher ground towards the west, and consequently he experienced great
difficulty with his wagons in crossing spruits, rivers, and swamps,
which are numerous in that direction.

There is now an excellent road to Zimbabwe, and the distance can be
covered by a cyclist well within an hour and a half, while visitors
driving can now arrive at Zimbabwe early in the morning and spend the
whole day among the ruins and yet be in town in ample time for the
evening meal. The distance by road is seventeen miles, and by a native
path cutting across country it is reduced to fifteen miles.

Victoria is a town with barely one hundred white inhabitants. It is the
centre of the largest and finest grain country of Southern Rhodesia,
and the opening up of the gold, copper, and coal areas of the Sabi
district will tend to increase its importance.

The Acting-Civil Commissioner, Mr. Lawlor, arranged for requisitions to
be made for stores, plant, etc., required for the work at the ruins,
and the Officer Commanding the British South Africa Police provided
wagon and ten mules to transport stores out to Zimbabwe. The Native
Commissioner, Mr. Alfred Drew, sent out M’Guti, a native police boy,
to the chief Mogabe, who lives near the ruins and rules over a large
tract of country and is practically independent, to find fifteen “boys”
(afterwards increased to forty) to be at our camp at Zimbabwe at sun-up
on Saturday. The work of collecting stores and plant filled up the rest
of the day.

Early the following morning we loaded up the wagon and left for
Great Zimbabwe, arriving at the main ruins at midday. The wagon was
off-loaded, and in the shade of a large candelabra-shaped euphorbia
tree we lunched, while the “boys” carried the stores up on to a low
granite knoll, where were three spacious native huts, built for the
Civil Commissioner, and occupied by Lord Milner in 1897. Of course,
half the population of Mogabe’s kraal came down the kopje sides in
black strings to watch all that took place, and a jabbering, laughing,
noisy crowd they were. There was not a pair of trousers or a vest among
the lot, and all were absolutely bare, save for their aprons. I liked
their appearance better than that of the average Matabele, for they had
better and more genial faces, and were not at all haughty and reserved.

The camp is within a few feet of the north side of No. 3 Ruins (see
map), and faces the south side of Zimbabwe Hill, and the Acropolis
Ruins are on the summit of a very precipitous cliff, 90 ft. high,
forming part of the side of the hill, the ruins being 220 ft. directly
above the camp. The camp of Mr. Theodore Bent, the archæologist, was a
third of a mile to the south of our camp. Ours is the more convenient
spot, as it is half-way between the two principal ruins, and close to
its east side lies “The Valley of Ruins,” beside which the situation is
far healthier.

[Illustration: “TO GREAT ZIMBABWE”]


Leaving the “boys” to move the stores and plant from our outspan up to
the huts, we started for a visit to the Elliptical Temple, which can be
seen from the camp. My friends, Mr. Herbert Hayles, of Victoria, and
Mr. J. R. A. Gell (cousin of Mr. Lyttelton Gell, one of the directors
of the British South Africa Company), had accompanied me out to
Zimbabwe to show me the lie of the Zimbabwe Reserve, and to protect me
for the first night of my stay in the event of any visits from ancient

Approaching the west entrance to the Elliptical Temple one is
confronted by the following notice:—

“_The public are warned that digging or prospecting for gold, whether
alluvial or otherwise, or for curiosities and relics of any sort
within the Zimbabwe Reserve, is strictly prohibited without special
permission, and that any person or persons found so doing or in any
way damaging any of the ruins or cutting or damaging any tree or trees
within such Reserve will be prosecuted. And notice is also hereby
given that nobody will be allowed to erect any habitation of any kind
whatever within the Reserve without special permission. By Order._”[14]

But turning from this prosaic notice to the walls themselves, one
saw that every stone of this stupendous and imposing structure had
gained glories from the hands of Time, and yielded a magnificent
subject for the painter’s brush. The walls were white with lichen,
but on their surfaces were splashed art colourings of almost every
possible shade—bright orange and red, lemon-black, sea-green, and pale
delicate yellow—while drooping from the summits were heavy festoons of
the pink-flowered “Zimbabwe creeper.” Over the fallen blocks spread
sprays of passion flowers, convolvuli, and other delicate creepers, and
clusters of St. John’s lilies and large scarlet gladioli rose stately
above beds of rich vegetation. Here was one of Nature’s most perfect

To describe this grand ruin in one chapter would be an utterly
impossible task, and any statement of one’s first impressions on
walking about the temple ’mid its massive Titanic walls must be
altogether inadequate. At any rate, one experienced an overwhelming
and oppressive sense of awe and reverence. One felt it impossible to
speak loudly or to laugh. And yet the ancient builders were what is
termed Pagan—Phallic worshippers with Baal and Astoroth among their
divinities, but a people so skilled in Zodiacal, astronomical, and
other sciences as to amaze and perplex the savants of to-day. Standing
close by the Sacred Cone, near which, according to Colonel Conder, the
Syro-Arabian archæologist, the altar was placed, one felt disinclined
for conversation. Above on a bough was a large owl, with prominent
ears and beautiful yellow eyes, who stared at our daring to trespass
on the verge of mystery. At our feet lay innumerable cast-off skins
of snakes. One thought of the poet Lowell’s _Lost Angel_, where,
speaking of a man so deadening his conscience by constant refusals to
listen to the appeals of his attendant good angel, he finds that the
angel has at last left him alone. Then was the temple of his heart
become desecrated, “the owl and snake inhabit there, the image of the
God has gone!” The owl and snake inhabit the Temple of Zimbabwe, the
altar of which is now broken down and desecrated, but the odious and
unmistakable emblems of Nature Worship are still to be found by the
score. Reverence of the hoary age of these buildings seizes one, for
some accredited archæologists give the age of some of these ruins as
anterior to the time of Moses. One wonders whether Professor Keane’s
contention is correct, that Ancient Rhodesia was the Havilah of
Genesis, especially when one thinks of the estimated £75,000,000 of
gold believed to have been taken by the Ancients from the surface of
the gold-reefs of this country before and during the Biblical-Ophir

But our stay within these massive walls was brief. The writer would
have over two years in which to wander in their labyrinthine passages,
and to examine their architectural features, and compare them with
those of Rhodesian ruins elsewhere, but his friends must start back to
Victoria before sunrise next day. On our way to the other important
ruins—the Acropolis or Hill Fortress—we visited the grave of Major Alan
Wilson and his party[15] who were killed on the Shangani during the
flight of King Lo ’Bengula in 1893.

We climbed up the 230 feet to the Acropolis ruins, but our visit here
also was brief. We clambered round the summits of the walls of the two
temples, which have a score of monoliths still standing, more or less
erect, and penetrated some of the most intricate passages. The feeling
experienced here was one of intense wonder and bewilderment at the
stupendous walls erected at such a height, walls which must have taken
years to build, and all of granite blocks. The view from the summit
is among the finest in Rhodesia. We watched the sunset glow fading on
the white walls of the Elliptical Temple below, and then descended to
prepare the huts for the night and arrange the stores in their proper
quarters. Later, when the round moon one day off the full was shining,
we sat outside the huts watching the effects shown on the western
temple on the hill where the monoliths high up above us stood out
against the greenish moonlit sky. At 4 a.m. the mules were inspanned in
the wagon, and my friends took their departure, leaving me alone among
ruins and natives.

As soon as the sun was fairly up, M’Guti, the native police boy,
arrived from Mogabe’s kraal, followed by a crowd of “boys,” all most
anxious for work. The majority were young men, and the total clothing
of the crowd did not amount to three square yards of calico. They all
squatted down in a semi-circle in front of the main hut while M’Guti
delivered a long oration, but as he was wearing khaki regimentals and
had his steel handcuffs (evidently a badge of authority) lying in front
of him, the sustaining influence of office possessed him. Finally, all
the details were settled, a roll was made up, and the names recorded.

Later, the Mogabe, Handisibishe, and his headmen arrived, and a
long _indaba_ took place, M’Guti interpreting. Mogabe recognised
the likenesses of Mr. and Mrs. Bent, and that of the previous
Mogabe—Chipfuno, his brother. Salt and tobacco sent Mogabe happy away,
and next day a large gourd of _doro_ (native beer) and some sweet
potatoes arrived at the camp as a present.

The view from the summit of the Acropolis may be described as follows:—

_South._—Towards the south and in the nearer distance, and 250 feet
below in the valley, the venerable and lichened walls of the Elliptical
Temple rise out of luxuriantly green vegetation. So much below
the Acropolis cliffs is this temple that one sees over its broken
north walls into the interior and on to the floors of some of the
enclosures. The summit of the conical tower peeps out from among the
giant fig-trees that flourish in the interior of the building. At this
distance the white monoliths along the eastern wall, though clearly
defined against the dark foliage, seem dwarfed. In almost the same line
of view, but slightly eastwards and nearer, and on the north-east side
of the temple, is the “Valley of Ruins,” full of enclosures, passages,
entrances, and walls, which up to 1902 had remained practically
unexplored by white men. Nearer still is the wagon-track passing
Havilah Camp and winding eastwards towards the Mapaku Ruins (“Little
Zimbabwe”) and the Motelekwe[16] River seven miles distant. A hundred
yards east of the temple on an open granite space overlooking the
Valley of Ruins is the site of the camp of Dr. Schlichter, who visited
the Zimbabwe ruins in 1897. Immediately behind this spot and between it
and the foot of the Bentberg (_Motusa_) is the veld land ploughed by
Messrs. Posselt in 1888–9.


Still looking south and slightly eastwards of the temple is the
Schlichter Gorge, down which the Mapudzi flows towards the south.
At the southern end of the gorge is a succession of ranges of kopjes
of fantastic shape descending into, and again rising from, the
Mowishawasha Valley, and becoming lost in the blue distance. The
Bentberg Kopje, which forms a dark background for the temple, shows its
immense flanks of granite glacis and boulders. Here some fifty years
ago was the chief local kraal of the Barotse, who had settlements among
the Makalanga of this part of the country, and on the north-eastern
side of the hill are still to be seen the remains of ancient walls,
while a clump of castor-oil trees at the foot of the hill on this side
marks the site of Theodore Bent’s camp (June and July, 1891).

Slightly to the west of the temple and almost immediately in front
of it are No. 1 Ruins, the walls of which are crowned with aloes and
euphorbias. Less than a hundred yards west of these ruins are the
Ridge Ruins, on a bare granite ridge, on the east side of which was
the camp of Sir John Willoughby, who excavated portions of the ruins
(November and December, 1892). Fifty yards behind the Ridge Ruins is
the Zimbabwe Spring, marked by a group of trees, where most excellent
water can be obtained, even during the driest season. It was close
to these trees that Messrs. Posselt had their camp in 1888–9. Nearer
than Ridge Ruins is the little graveyard where is the granite tomb of
Major Alan Wilson and his party. Just a few yards nearer is Havilah
Camp, where one can just see the natives moving to and fro across the
open spaces between the huts. Behind the Bentberg and further south is
broken country, with Lumbo Rocks, one of the landmarks of the district,
rising from the summit of a rugged hill like a column piled up against
the sky, its lichen mantle showing brilliant red in the sunset. Here
is the line of high ground which separates the plateau of Mashonaland
from the lower valley of the Limpopo River, the incline in the contour
being both steep and abrupt. This also divides the watershed of
the Motelekwe from that of the Tokwe.[17] In this southern view are
scattered many Makalanga kraals, several of which are perched up in
almost inaccessible rocky eyries; also some romantic valleys, kloofs,
and stretches of park-like land studded with patches of thick woods.

[Illustration: GENERAL PLAN OF ZIMBABWE RUINS showing the general
position of each ruin ]

_South-west._—Looking towards the south-west and in the near distance
is the rising ground between the Bentberg and Rusivanga[18] kopjes,
and the native path leading over it to Bingura’s kraal. At the foot of
Rusivanga and 150 yards from Havilah Camp, and on a knoll on which is
a large old tree, was for some time the camp of Adam Renders, known by
the natives as _Sa-adama_, who rediscovered Zimbabwe in 1868, and who
was here visited by Mr. George Philips, the ivory trader of the very
early days, and by Dr. Karl Mauch, the latter of whom gave in 1871 the
first information of the ruins for almost three hundred years. Here
Renders traded extensively for ivory. Previously to Dr. Mauch’s visit
Renders lived at Nini, eleven miles south-west of Zimbabwe.

Beyond the nearer ridge is a deep and wide valley on the near side of
which is Bingura’s kraal, and from this valley the land rises towards
the southern extremity of the Livouri Mountains some ten miles from
Zimbabwe, and in the immediate distance, though much nearer the Livouri
Range, is Providential Pass, through which the hunter, Mr. F. C.
Selous, led the Pioneer Column in 1890. In the same line of view, but
slightly nearer, is where Renders’ first station was located.

_West._—Looking due west there are two kopjes—Rusivanga and
Makuma—which close in the Zimbabwe Valley on that side at a third of
a mile distance. Further west of the two kopjes is a wide undulating
valley some six or eight miles wide which runs along the east side of
the Livouri Mountains, and this is studded at intervals with low and
bare granite kopjes. The kraal of the dynastic chief Cherimbila is at
Rovali, at the southern extremity of the range. The highest point of
the Livouri is Niande, a hill in the centre of this range with steep
and almost inaccessible sides. Behind the Livouri Range is seen the
high conical summit of the Cotopaxi Mountain, which forms one of the
principal landmarks of this portion of Southern Mashonaland. Towards
the south end of the Livouri Range is a large hill called Mowishawasha.
_Washa_ is always associated by the natives with power and authority.
The natives never climb to the top of this hill without going through
some form of devotion on their way up; also on passing close to the
hill they will stop and clap hands. Natives will not state the actual
reason. Probably an important Makalanga chief of some past times was
buried there. Near to this hill is a smaller one known as Tchib-Fuko,
which also has some native superstitions attached to it. It was in this
district the wooden platter with the zodiacal signs was discovered by
Mr. Edward Muller, also the pot “Fuko-ya-Nebandge.”

_North-west._—To the north-west, and on the opposite side of the valley
at the foot of Zimbabwe Hill, and beyond the _Outer Defence Wall_ which
encloses the Zimbabwe ruins on the west and north sides, is a low
granite knoll called Pasosa, with outlying huts belonging to Mogabe’s
kraal. A few yards behind the huts is a ruin (Pasosa, No. 1), with a
second ruin (Pasosa, No. 2) 60 yards farther north. The country beyond
in this direction is the valley land of the Moshagashi River, which
is some six to eight miles broad, the horizon showing low hills, over
which are the line of houses and trees of Victoria township, fifteen
miles distant as the crow flies, and beyond again are the uplands of
the range north of Victoria. The principal kraals in this direction are
Baranzimba’s (two miles) and M’Tima’s (three and a half miles).


_North._—In the north is the lower continuation of the Moshagashi
Valley, at this point some eight miles broad. Here the granite
formation of Zimbabwe terminates and the slate commences. The principal
kraal, and by far the largest in this area, is that of Chinongu, which
is four miles from Zimbabwe. Extending from N.N.W. to N.N.E. are the
high and romantically shaped Besa Mountains, and at their eastern
extremity can be seen in the blue distance the Lovugwe country.

_North-east._—To the north-east, at a distance of eight miles and
cutting the sky-line, is the range of the Inyuni Hills. Their sides are
exceedingly steep and, being slate, their contours contrast pleasantly
with those of the kopjes of the granite formation. In the nearer
distance is Motuminshaba, a granite kopje four miles away, and farther
east Tchivi, another granite kopje three miles distant. The land
towards the east-north-east descends to the Motelekwe River, the valley
of which can be seen with Arowi, a huge, isolated granite kopje rising
twelve miles distant, on the far bank of the Motelekwe. In this area
kraals are numerous.

_East._—The Beroma Range (written by Bent as “Veroma”) fills in the
whole of the background towards the east. These hills, which run north
and south, appear to be fully four miles long. The most northerly
point of this range is formed by a large rounded granite kopje called
Sueba,[19] and between this hill and Chenga’s[20] kraal is the path
leading over the nek to the Mapaku Ruins (“Little Zimbabwe”) eight
miles distant. On the west side of Beroma is a line of lower hills
forming its shoulders. The southern end of the Beroma Range is formed
by the high rounded Mount Marsgi, with a series of cliffs on its west
side, and at its base M’Tijeni’s kraal. Marsgi overlooks the Schlichter
Gorge. This is the point from which our description started.

                              CHAPTER II

                            MYSTIC ZIMBABWE

    Sunday Morning and Midnight in an Ancient Temple—Sunset on the

Wandering about the Elliptical Temple at Zimbabwe on a Sunday morning
one is faced at every turn with texts for innumerable “sermons in
stones.” The hoary age of these massive walls is grandly and silently
eloquent of a dead religion—a religion which was but the blind
stretching forth of the hand of faith groping in the Dawn of Knowledge
for the Deity and seeking the Unknown. Lowell urges that none should
call any faith “vain” which in the evolution of religion has led
mankind up to a higher level. The builders were “Pagans.” Granted, but
the world four thousand years ago was in its infancy, and infancy is
but a necessary prelude to development in any department of life and
thought. The progressive stages of Old Testament faith demonstrate this
fact most patently. We of the Christian Era, with our two thousand
years of religious enlightenment, have yet to learn of the “many things
I have to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” The evolution of
the Christian Ideal has not yet reached its final stage—it has still to
be perfected. But the period of infancy in development should not be
too hastily condemned as “vain.”

The spires that adorn our churches, the orientation of ecclesiastical
buildings, the eastward position of the dead, the candles on the
altars, and what is more, the idea conveyed by sacrificial offering,
have their origin in the ancient faiths and world-wide litholatrous
and solar ideas of the Semitic peoples, whether of Yemen or Phœnicia,
who built their temples in every part of the then known world which
came under their influence. In these, as in many more such instances,
parallelisms become identities, but identities adapted by the Christian
Church to convey in an old-world form a figure of a higher faith. The
continuity between this old temple at Zimbabwe, Stonehenge, and the
modern cathedral, is complete.

When one reviews the forms and practices, so far as they are known,
of the Semitic builders of the Great Zimbabwe, what a flood of light
shines in upon the history and worship of the Hebrews. The writings
of the Prophets live afresh, and the mystic chapters of Job become
full of pregnant meaning. A key is provided to the secret of Abraham
offering his son, to Jacob’s pile of stones, to Jephthah’s vow, to
the Syro-Phœnician woman’s conversation at the well, and to a hundred
points of biblical lore which would otherwise barely attract attention,
much less provoke interest. These old Semites—of whom the Hebrews were
a younger branch—stinted not their worship, and knew the ecstasy of
sacrifice. Their best beloved they gave—their dearest, in the belief
that the gift which was offered without a pang was not prized by
Deity. Bearing this in mind, the Old Testament is found to be replete
with unfailing interest, charm, and point; it becomes, in fact, a
marvellously new book even to the biblical student.

The builders of the temple at Zimbabwe have now, it is believed,
slept through three millenniums, if not four, yet the religious faith
of the Semitic family was so strong, so real, and so forceful, that
its ramifications can be found in the faith of the Christian Church
of to-day. Nor can this be wondered at. One has but to glance round
these temple walls to read in granite blocks the fact that to the
builders their religious faith was of primal importance. Here is
clearly envisaged the fact that to them their religion was very real,
so much so that were Europe devastated to-morrow, it could scarcely
show in proportion to its other buildings such monuments to religious
faith as can be seen in Rhodesia to-day. Their finest art, their best
constructive skill, and the patient labour of long years, were lavished
upon these buildings which thickly stud the country. Thoroughness and
devotion are written large on the orientated, massive, and grandly
sweeping walls of the Elliptical Temple at Great Zimbabwe. One cannot
call their faith “vain” when one realises that it led them out from
themselves towards something higher, while for them it must be
remembered the True Light had not shined. Struggling though blindly to
improve their relationship to Deity provided a no mean factor in the
religious progress of the world.

While these ancient Semitic colonisers of Rhodesia have slept their
many-centuried sleep, what epochs of the world’s history have come
and gone, and what empires have risen and decayed! Ah! see that
lichen-mantled granite block low down in the cyclopean wall. It has a
little chip of stone under one corner as if to steady it. The ancient
mason was a careful worker. The chip is still there to-day. One can
move it with a finger. Was it there when Moses led the Hebrews towards
the Promised Land, or there when young Joseph was sold as a slave into
Egypt? Who shall say? Civilisations have come and gone, but the chip is
there, and affords not merely an evidence of the careful mason, but a
sermon on the brevity of life, the utter smallness of pomp and power,
and the absolute absurdity of pride. Still the little granite chip has
served its purpose for some four thousand years, and it may yet be
there occupying its humble position at the end of the next millennium.
The oldest fanes of Europe, whether of Greece or Rome, cannot so
deeply move to awe-inspiring feeling as can the massive walls of the
temple at Zimbabwe, for these old empires are believed to have been
almost unborn when Zimbabwe was at its zenith. Thus the walls compel a
listening to their sermons.

As one strays through the Sacred Enclosure, thoughts come:—What were
the relative positions of magic and religion, especially in the
complicated and closely observed Phallic worship of these ancients;
whence the zodiacal, astronomical, and geometrical knowledge of the
builders; what of the touch of tragedy in their exodus or departure;
the exact meaning of the granite, slate, and carved soapstone monoliths
on the summits of the walls; the origin of the occupiers; was Rhodesia
the Havilah of Genesis; did it provide the Solomonic gold; of the close
kinship of these successful ancient gold-seekers from Yemen or Tyre and
Sidon to the Hebrews of Palestine; and of their intimate connection in
origin, language, and neighbourhood which Holy Writ abundantly declares
existed from the ninth chapter of Genesis until Paul preached in

Gazing at the Sacred Tower, one thinks of the Tower of Siloam, and of
the “high places” of Samaria, and of the times when even this form of
worship became the state religion of Judah under Ahaziah; and sitting
at the conjectured site of the ancient altar, where the writer has
found in numbers the stone emblems of their faith, thoughts arise of
the Bethel stones of the Hebrews, the Bethûl or “the dwelling-places
of God” of the Phœnicians, and the Penuel or “Face of God” of the

The Law of Moses adapts the rules and customs and ideas and forms of
worship of far greater antiquity than the Mosaic times. So the new
faith of every age borrows from the old, and the mighty processions of
civilisations and faiths which have encircled this earth from very far
back beyond the days of Abraham go on their even course.

But we must leave the temple and return to camp. There is still the
great Zimbabwe owl sitting on his favourite bough near the “high
place.” The six-foot python crawls in and out of the stones of the
ancient altar. Brightly coloured lizards bask on the once consecrated
walls. Blue jays, honey-birds, and doves here find a shelter. The
trees, orchid-clad and lichen-festooned, throw a weird shadow over all.
Possibly ancients are sleeping near.

As one passes out through the entrance into the full glare of an
African noontide, one feels as if one had just returned from the far
distant mystic past to modern life, for a naked Makalanga waits there
with the message that Sunday lunch was cooked and waiting.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Midnight in an ancient temple._—It was the night of the full moon
nearest to Midsummer Day in the Southern Hemisphere, and towards
midnight the large population of Makalanga round Zimbabwe would be
celebrating the feast of the full moon with dancing, singing, and
_doro_ drinking. This was evidently a special feast, for its advent
had been the theme of conversation among our labourers for the past
fortnight, and, unlike the other feasts, it was held simultaneously in
each kraal, and not at different kraals in turn on alternate occasions.

At nine o’clock all was still and restful. There were no signs whatever
of the forthcoming festivities. Passing through Baranazimba’s kraal,
on the way to Havilah Camp at Zimbabwe, one found the population had
retired to rest. At Mogabe’s kraal the only sign of active life was
shown by the village dogs. The night was hot and close, and outside
the huts natives were sleeping, each in his blanket. Arrived at
Havilah Camp, one found a score of labourers, sublimely free from all
anxieties, sleeping on the bare granite outside their huts, but so
oppressive was the air that in their slumbers they had thrown off their
blankets, and were lying in every conceivable posture, and snoring and
talking in their sleep as if dancing and beer-drinking were matters
that had not the slightest interest for them. The large full moon
was yet some distance from its zenith, but the valleys were flooded
with a greenish-grey mistiness, which lay over the high grass and
ran up into the kloofs and gorges. The light made distant objects
distinctly visible, throwing a mantle of romance over every clump,
ridge, and kopje, while it was possible to read tolerably small print
without the aid of artificial light.



For fully another hour the silence was unbroken. At last the desultory
beating of a village drum at Mogabe’s kraal was heard. Later a drum
was sounded at Chenga’s kraal, and another at Bingura’s kraal. The
villagers were waking up for the feast. One of our labourers sat up,
stretched himself and yawned, and commenced shaking his sleeping
comrades. Within a few minutes Havilah Camp was all life. One native
reached for his leggings of large nuts with dried kernels inside,
others a horn, flute, piano, or harp, but all took two knobkerries,
some having assegais. Those who possessed strings of wild-cat tails
tied them round their waists. The early hours of evening had been
devoted to greasing their bodies and limbs, and in the light of the
moon their skins shone like burnished metal. Then began a general
practising of dance steps, leapings, war-cries, and most hideous
howlings. Meanwhile quite a dozen drums were being sounded up on
Mogabe’s Kopje, and these were answered by similar numbers at Chenga’s
and the other kraals. Horns were blown, parties of Makalanga, singing
and shouting, were passing along the native tracks in front of our
camp, each party going to its own kraal. Soon our labourers left
in gangs for their respective villages and disappeared in the long
mist-covered grass. Being all young men with a superabundant fund
of spirits, they made a most fearful din in the course of their
progress homewards. By this time the Zimbabwe kopjes resounded with
singing, especially of girls’ singing, for the women-folk started the
festivities with screams and yells, and the loud beatings in three-two
time of innumerable drums. The great full moon was now fast approaching
its zenith. Our camp, save for the watch-men, the _kya_ (hut) boy, and
the picaninni, once more became still and lifeless.

Theodore Bent saw in these new and full-moon feasts some connection
with the cult of Nature Worship of the ancient Semites, who are
believed to have built these ruins and to have mined for gold in
Southern Rhodesia, as it is conjectured, some three thousand years
ago. The women, who at this moment are dancing in the villages,
have on their bare stomachs, worked into the skin, a “breast and
furrow pattern,” identical to that found on many of the oldest of
the prehistoric relics discovered in our ancient ruins, an undoubted
emblem, Bent contended, of the ancient conception of Fertility. The
men who will be dancing have worked in their skins, mainly in bands
round their waists, the three radiating bars, similar in form to the
Welsh bardic emblem of the Origin of Life. The articles they will
wield in their dancing are carved with chevron pattern, one of the
most ancient of all emblems of Fertility. But although the flesh
decorations are now merely luck signs, neither man nor woman would on
any account be without them. With these signs they say they will not
be sick, will have plenty of wives and boys to work for them, and many
girls on account of whom to receive _lobola_ (marriage present to the
father—practically purchase money). Anon, in the pauses of the dance,
they will drink beer from pots with herring-bone pattern encircling the
lips, a beer made of red millet, prepared, says Bent, in the same way
and known by the same name as the beer prepared in Arabia to-day, where
its methods of preparation and its name have been handed down from
immemorial age.

But to-night will be the finest opportunity for the next twelve months
of seeing the Elliptical Temple by moonlight. Sleep this hot, close
night is impossible, especially with the sounds of noisy revelry
proceeding simultaneously from all points of the compass. My native
boy is disinclined to follow me to the temple, but after bargaining
with him for an _Isi-hle_ (present), he at last grudgingly consents.
He mutters something about the place being bewitched, that there are
many horrid things there, and alludes to the _M’uali_, the chief spirit
of Makalanga awe and dread; but as within the two years’ residence at
Zimbabwe I have only discovered two natives, and these elderly men, who
would willingly go into any of the ruins, especially the temple, after
darkness had settled down, I am not at all surprised at his reluctance
to follow me there. However, he is mindful to take his stoutest
knobkerries with him.

Looking back at the Acropolis Hill, and at its long line of precipice,
one sees the ancient walls on the summit gleaming white in the
moonlight, while the tall monoliths stand clear against the sky. In
the passages on the hill one might almost expect on such a night to
come face to face with Rider Haggard’s She at any corner, or to see
her draped form issuing from one of the numerous caves which still
pierce the cliffs. But we must turn our backs on the Acropolis Hill,
and make for the Elliptical Temple, passing the little graveyard
where the remains of Major Alan Wilson and his Shangani heroes rest
in their granite tomb in the grove of euphorbia trees, whose branches
cast black, sharp-cut shadows on the ground. Then across an open
granite space, and up the long parallel passage on the east side of
Ridge Ruins, out through its intricate southern entrance, and on to
the level ground which runs up to the foot of the temple walls. The
clumps of tall, old-world-looking aloes and euphorbia trees lining the
walls of No. 1 Ruins on the left of our path appear strange even by
daylight, but in the midnight radiance of the full moon they assume
intensely weird and fantastic forms thoroughly in harmony with the
outlines of the ancient buildings. The lonely grave of Thomas Bailey,
an Australian gold prospector, lies close to the right-hand side of
the path. He died in 1893 while searching for relics within the temple.

The temple walls covered with white lichen appear to have been
whitewashed for centuries, and these gleam brightly with light in
distinct contrast to the dark veld and bush from which they rise; and
so white are they that at a fair distance one can see every course,
block, and joint in their dry masonry. The broad bases of the walls
in comparison with the widths of their summits—though a full-sized
wagon and a team of sixteen oxen could stand upon the top of the more
substantial portion of the walls—their sloping sides, and the utter
absence of any feature of any style of architecture known in Western
Europe, lend a strikingly Eastern appearance to the building, which is
sufficient in itself to forcibly take one’s mind back some two or three
thousand years. Meanwhile the noise of village drums, the blowing of
horns, and the deep wild choruses of crowds of men, mingled with the
voices of women and girls, were waxing louder and more incessant as
midnight approached.

Standing in No. 5 Enclosure, just within the west entrance, the
interior of the temple is seen to be full of light and shadow. But all
is serenely calm and still as if possessed by the silence of the grave.
The high, massive walls encircling the temple deaden to faintness the
voices of the villagers. The close air, heavy with the scent of verbena
wafted in from the veld, is oppressive in the extreme. An inexplicable
sensation of trespassing in forbidden precincts possesses one. The
native looks scared. Midnight visits to ruins are not his particular

Certainly the many visitors who travel hundreds, if not thousands, of
miles to view these ruins, and who only see them by the glare of day,
miss nine-tenths of the charm, fascination, and inspiration which the
walls of the temple at Zimbabwe have in store for those who walk its
courts in the stillness of the night when the midsummer moon is at the
full. This is the time to see Zimbabwe aright, for Zimbabwe by day and
Zimbabwe by night presents two entirely different aspects.

Trees throw gigantic shadows on the walls and darken the inner
courts, and the floors are chequered by moonbeams shining through
the foliage overhead. One somehow becomes possessed with the idea
that these walls are peopled with the spirits of prehistoric age,
who are moving, as of old, about the temple floors and passages,
still performing their ancient priestly offices. The movement of
every shadow against the walls suggests the passing from point to
point of some three-millenniumed spectral form, too engrossed in its
sacred avocations to heed the mortal presence of two strangers of the
twentieth century after Christ. Would that these hoary-aged walls could
speak and tell us of the scenes which took place here when the Great
Zimbabwe was in all its glory! Assuredly a midnight hour spent in this
ancient temple overwhelms one with most novel sensations, some slightly
queer and shivery, others awe-inspiring and soul-stirring.

While still standing just inside the west entrance some thoughts
suggest themselves. The ancients being Nature worshippers of one of
the earliest cults, so says Bent, had sought in the erection of their
temple to compel the concentration of thought on the heavens alone, for
even the reduced heights of the summits of the walls, averaging from 22
ft. to 31 ft., shut off, except for gaps, all views of the surrounding
landscape. Nothing is visible save the moon and a skyful of silent,
glittering stars. The Pleiades, by the rising and setting of which the
Makalanga mark their sowing and harvesting, are sinking towards the
W.N.W. horizon, and Orion, which is prominent in the star-pictures
of the natives, is following down in their wake. A large area of the
sky is hidden by the bright radiance of the full moon. But such high
massive walls enclosing the temple, and limiting the view to the sky
alone, strike the mind of the stranger unread in the lore of ancient
Semitic faiths as the purposed design of the ancient architects,
especially so when it is recollected that some of the ancient floors
are at a much lower level than the interiors as seen to-day. And just
as Britishers in Rhodesia unconsciously turn their gaze at night
towards the stars which lie low near the northern horizon, so in the
contracted view afforded by the temple walls we can well imagine that
during their midnight vigils the eyes of the ancient colonists from
the north would, as naturally, frequently and lingeringly glance over
the northern wall to gaze on stars known to them in their Homeland. It
may be noted, too, that the ancients, as conjectured by Bent and other
writers, do not appear to have been greatly interested in the alien
stars of the Southern Hemisphere, for in all the ruins in Rhodesia,
so far as discoveries have been made, there are no massive stone arcs
surmounted with monoliths with mural decorations of old-world emblems
of fertility on their outer faces, and with the raised platforms
approached by steps, facing towards the south, for all such that are
known are directed to some other point of the compass.

Small fragments of granite chips from ancient blocks lie about the
floor, and these gleam like stars on the dark ground, and have
light-haloes of their own. These suggest the splendid sight these
ancient walls must have been when all the newly dressed granite
blocks in the faces of the walls sparkled as they must once have done
as the fragments gleamed in this glorious moonlight. The walls must
have glittered like a fairy palace, as did the castle walls of lordly
Camelot. To-day we approach the temple on the same level as the veld,
the ground outside having been raised to this level by the silt of
ages, but the recently discovered granite cement floors outside the
building show that the ancients had to ascend some five feet or more
to gain the threshold of the entrance. With such higher elevation for
its walls, the temple, when freshly built, or perhaps for centuries
afterwards, must have been on moonlit nights a most bewitching sight of
splendour. But its glories to-night are those which it has gained from
the hand of Time.

But on gaining the central area of the building the inexplicable
sensations awakened by the weird and strange surroundings and past
associations are intensified, and one’s nerves are forced to be more
alive to anything unusual happening. Large bats and night-moths fly
unpleasantly close to one’s face. Treading on a rotten stick, and the
falling of large dry leaves which rattle on the stones below, make
noises sufficient to cause one to turn round expecting the approach
of some ancient spectre. A frog in some dark and dank corner startles
one with a loud croak of “_Work!_” The hoot of an owl makes the native
start. A low moaning, soughing wind now springing up sweeps round the
temple and rustles in the upper branches of the trees.

The temple is now lovely in the extreme. The shadows on the walls are
now in quick movement. Fireflies swing their tiny lamps over dark
enclosures. The white radiance of the moonlight completely invests the
conical tower, its intense whiteness being heightened by the large,
thick, and dark-foliaged trees on either side. If but Time’s hour-glass
were turned back for some long centuries’ space, what tales could not
this tower unfold, what secrets of ancient faiths disclose!

One passes down the ancient stairs, lately uncovered, which lead into
the Sacred Enclosure, and finds the long, deep-sunk Parallel Passage
wrapt in sepulchral darkness, and realises the force of the dark lore
of ancient priestcraft and of prayers muttered at midnight. It is
pleasant to regain the interior of the temple, where broad streams
of moonlight flood its surface. Seated on the east wall of No. 10
Enclosure, and immediately facing the conical tower, one has a good
view all round the temple. Under the dark shades of walls and trees
a hundred spectres might be lurking unseen. Amidst such surroundings
a score of ancient scenes are pictured in one’s mind—the approaching
priests with processional chant emerging through the north entrance
from the Sacred Enclosure, the salutation to the emblems of the gods,
the light of altar fire and torch reflected upon the walls and upon
the sacred golden fillets bound round the brows of the priest, the
incense-laden air, the subdued murmurings of the waiting crowd of
worshippers, the invocations of the deity by priests who stand upon the
high raised platform in front of the conical tower, the mystic rites,
dark enchantments, and the pious orgies. The very air feels as if it
were teeming with mystery and midnight loneliness. Here appear to rise
“_the thin throng of ghosts ... with beckoning hands and noiseless feet
flitting from shade to shade_.”

The rising wind now wafts into the ancient shrine the confused
shouting, singing, tom-tom beating, and general clamour of the natives
dancing in the villages on the hills around. The air has become
decidedly cooler. One is glad to have visited the temple at this hour.
It is one of the experiences of a lifetime.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_The Acropolis at sunset._—In the soft sunlight of a glorious late
afternoon, when calm broods over all and a profound solitude invests
the immense panorama of valley, mountain, and sea of jagged kopje
ranges as beheld from the summit of the Acropolis Hill some 300 ft. at
least above the Zimbabwe Valley, one views a scene of indescribable
loveliness. The sharp-cut ranges of hills, deep gorges flanked by
cliffs, great crags of rock, and the long and broad Moshagashi Valley
with its scattered kraals and patches of native plantations are all as
silent as sleep.

The Acropolis itself is still. The long and labyrinthine passages give
back no echoes. The temple courts are empty. The tall monoliths, like
ghostly sentinels, point upwards to the sky, and the sunlight is fast
fading on the ancient dentelle pattern at the Western Temple. These
massive ruins, once teeming with a dense and busy population of Semitic
colonists of prehistoric times, with their innumerable evidences of
Phallic worship and extensive gold-smelting operations, are as quiet as
the grave. The cry of a baboon, or scream of an eagle returning to its
eyrie high up on the cliffs above the Eastern Temple, alone break the
impressive silence enfolding one of the greatest archæological wonders
of the Southern Hemisphere.

At this height and on a hill so isolated from its neighbours, and
just at sunset when shadows are already gathering in the deep defiles
in the cliffs upon its summit, an inexpressible sensation of intense
loneliness and solitude asserts itself. No other human foot will tread
these ancient approaches to the Acropolis till the sun has risen once
again. There is no white man round about for miles, and the natives
will not venture near the ruins after sunset. Two hours ago the herd
was mindful to drive the goats from the high points on the face of
the hill down into the valley. The natives will solemnly inform the
stranger that as night approaches the spirits of their departed
ancestors buried in the caves of the hill awaken, that the ruins are
then bewitched. It may be easily understood that in minds made craven
with centuries of slavery to a succession of invaders, and haunted,
till the last decade, with constant dread of Swazi and Matabele raids,
the standard of Makalanga valour is low indeed, and that at nights they
shun these scenes of ancient life is not in the least surprising.

Ascending the hill through the sunless Rock Passage, the air is cool
and draughty, but on emerging at the upper end one is faced by the rich
blinding glow of the setting sun, and here the air is still warm. As
we pass through the Western Enclosure and through the gap in the main
west wall of the Western Temple, a view down the sheer drop of the
hill into the valley below presents itself. The Elliptical Temple is
just losing its last faint touches of the golden tint of sunset. The
“Valley of Ruins” is already in shadow, and its chaos of walls looks
now even more chaotic and bewildering than it did in the full light of
day. Mogabe’s cattle wending their way up Makuma Kopje to the kraal for
the night, the bleating of sheep and goats already penned, the far-away
talk of women and girls returning from collecting firewood with their
bundles on their heads, and the laughter of small parties of natives
returning homewards from their plantations, all speak of departing
day. The lofty lichened sides of Lumbo Rocks are still bright orange
in the sunset, but the nearer side of the Bentberg has become dark and
black in shadow, showing up the walls of the Elliptical Temple in the
foreground with striking clearness. The long ravine of Schlichter Gorge
is now blurred in grey distances, while the Motelekwe and Mowishawasha
valleys have already lost the sun for some minutes. The kopjes cast the
same backgammon-board-shaped shadows across the valleys just as they
did three and four thousand years ago when the tired ancients watched
the drawing-in of day.

But turning a glance round to the Western Temple, still at this height
bathed in golden sheen, one sees only the ancient walls and passages
silent and deserted. This area might have been a busy spot for the
ancient occupiers at this hour of the day, for monoliths, decorative
mural patterns, and conical towers are now all aglow with sunset
brightness, and here at this time of day, as the shadow of the slanting
granite beam fades on the dentelle pattern on the platform, they might
have read as on a dial face, in light and shade, the progress of
the season of the year. The call to prayers and the chanting of the
evening hymn of the devout at sunset might at this same hour very many
centuries ago have rung round the selfsame hallowed walls which look
down sphinx-like and blankly upon the modern visitor.

It is easy to fashion a tale of ancient scenes in such a spot and ’mid
such surroundings. Such a scene may have been—the parties of ancient
worshippers approaching the temple up the Higher Parapet or by the
sunken passage in the Platform Enclosure, or along the East Passage,
filling the amphitheatre and watching the bringing of the sacred
vessels possibly from the now dank and evil-smelling Platform Cave to
some spot near the centre of the temple, perchance at the centre of the
arc of the great curved wall, which is directed towards the setting
sun; the disappearance of the priests through the Covered Passage and
their reappearance on the Platform, which faces west and overlooks
the interior of the temple, or listening to priestly orations, the
announcement of the actual sunset to the worshippers. Possibly, too,
the chief priest may have announced the commencement of the “Feast of
the New Moon.”

At this moment the “boys” in Havilah Camp are yelling and dancing most
frantically. Something unusual must have happened to cause the sudden
outbreak of unearthly din. Right in the dazzling glow of the sun, and
low down in the sky, and barely discernible by the eye of white men,
is the slender silver scimitar of the young moon. A noisy night of
beer-drinking, dancing and singing, and tom-tom beating will follow.

But the dank smell of decay has now usurped the place of the
sweet-smelling incense of the ancient ritual. The monoliths still point
upwards, but who to-day can explain their plan and purpose, or read the
silent intimations their shadows were wont to convey?

The associations of the ruins of the Hill Fortress lie even more with
the ancient military occupiers than with those of priests and worship.
Traverses, buttresses, screen walls, intricate entrances, narrow and
sunken passages, rampart walls, banquettes, parapets, and all other
devices of a people conversant with military engineering and defence,
are in great evidence all over the hill. These in their ingenuity,
massive character, and persistent repetition at every point of vantage,
baffle and astonish the best experts of modern military engineering
science. The ancients were military strategists, and the Acropolis a
stronghold, and its most prominent feature was defence.

At this sunset hour no companies of ancient soldiery descend from
the fort (East Ruins), at the foot of the Ancient Ascent, to relieve
guard and take up their night watches on the wall barriers. In the
now dim and scanty twilight one can wander at will through the two
hill temples, the residential quarters, and into the caves which once
might have held the gold stores of this part of the country. There is
no officer on duty to challenge one’s approach. The sentry recesses
in the narrow passages and at the entrances appear singularly empty.
Fate finally came to relieve guard many centuries past, eventually
permitting some semi-civilised Abantu people, such as the Makalanga, or
“People of the Sun,” to desecrate the ancient temple floors with their
copper and iron furnaces and bone and ash débris heaps. But the lively
bustling crowds of ancients and of mediæval Makalanga, who both in
turn, and for very long periods, densely populated Zimbabwe Hill, are
no more.

One passes along shoulder-wide and tortuous passages, where at every
corner one might expect to come face to face with Rider Haggard’s She,
and enters some enclosure whose sides are formed by the perpendicular
flanks of cliffs and boulders, where the ancients fashioned their gold
into beads, wire, plates, and ingots. The intricate entrance still
guards the spot where gold crucibles, beaten gold, and gold burnishing
tools of the ancient artificers have been found in profusion. There is
now no sound of hammering the precious metal on the rounded dolorite
anvils, nor reddish glow of light on the cliff sides, as when the
furnace was uncovered for the removal of the heated crucibles. The
prehistoric workshop is now desolate and damp, and a fitting spot for
the loathsome, crawling creatures which inhabit its dark recesses.

But daylight is dying fast. Glancing down through the gaps in the outer
walls are seen specks of firelight at near and remote kraals where the
evening meal is being prepared, and round which the advent of the new
moon will soon be celebrated. An adjoining cave with yawning depth
and dense blackness does not now appear particularly inviting to the
visitor, and yet here relic-seekers unanimously declare was where the
ancients kept large stores of gold dust. The Eastern Temple is in
semi-darkness, but as one crosses its floor one sees the hole from
which some fifty phalli were taken, and the exact spots from which
soapstone birds were removed. Here was the site, as Bent conjectured,
of the ancient altar. In this temple, it is believed, the ancients
celebrated their daybreak ritual, for the arc of the main wall
decorated with dentelle pattern, and on which once stood some of the
soapstone birds, faces the rising of the sun. Passing along Central
Passage, which is perpetually in shadow owing to huge tall boulders
on either side, but is now in deepest blackness, crossing Cleft Rock
Enclosure, and descending the sunken passage to the outer face of the
great west wall of the Western Temple, one arrives where a slight
afterglow of the sunset still lingers over the brow of Rusivanga.

Again one enters into the deep shadow of a sunken and earth-smelling
passage with high side walls, and so rapidly descends the north-west
face of the hill, glad to emerge once more into the cool fresh air
at a lower level of some 100 ft. High in the west is Venus, the
evening star, shining brightly—Venus, or _Almaq_, “illuminating,”
the goddess of the earlier star-worshipping Sabæans of Yemen, whose
worship the best-qualified scientists believe was practised by the
original builders of Zimbabwe. She complacently shines down upon her
ruined shrines, and wonders doubtless why these natives should convert
the sacred emblems of her worship into pipe-bowls for smoking hemp.
The Pleiades have set, for the harvest time is almost over. Orion is
sinking towards the western horizon as if with disgust at the land
where mere Kafirs[21] call him “The little pig and two dogs.”

                              CHAPTER III

                    A DAY AT HAVILAH CAMP, ZIMBABWE

Early to bed, our Makalanga labourers are proportionately early to
rise, and as soon as there is sufficient light to enable them to see
they are up, stretching their limbs, waking the echoes of the valley
with their noisy yawnings, which jar on the lilt of the dawn-anthems of
the birds, and sit crouching round fires with their blankets over their

The sun will soon be coming up behind the blue Beroma Range, just
over the romantically shaped rocks at Chenga’s kraal. The peaks of
the range are already edged with the fire of the coming light. At
last a notched portion of the sun appears over the distant mountain
heights. Now everything is coloured crimson. The granite cliffs and
massive boulders, the tall grass, the ruined walls, even the mules
outspanned in the valley in front of the camp, are all crimson. The
usually dirty-coloured grass roofs of the huts are for some minutes
most gorgeously beautified. For the only time in the day the dentelle
pattern on the conical tower and on the eastern face of the Eastern
Temple, the chevron pattern on the Elliptical Temple, and the huge
herring-bone pattern on the ancient water gate, and certain of the
slate and granite monoliths, are fully bathed in rich sunshine. Other
ancient decorative patterns on the walls will have the full sun shining
upon them only at midday, while others will only be fully sun-bathed as
the sun is setting.

But at present everything is crimson. The wreaths of mist which lie
over the tall grass filling the valleys, and which just before were
blue, now connect kopje and kopje, making the Acropolis and other
summits crimson isles rising from out a crimson sea. The only objects
that decline to take on the prevailing tint are some old-world-looking
trees with green, metallic leaves. Were the picture of Zimbabwe with
this misty colouring resting over it reproduced on canvas the artist
would at once be condemned as extravagant. But Nature has more than one
colour on her palette. The crimson melts in a rich golden hue which
succeeds it. The cliffs, grass hut-roofs, and mist-wreaths become
golden. The mules are transformed to gold, and the battered old wagon
looks for once quite respectable with its golden buck-sail. But the
gold in its turn also fades, the mist-veils lift and melt away, and
the land once more regains its wonted tawny, sun-bathed appearance so
suggestive of lions.

Day has not yet had a fair chance to become commonplace, but in
Havilah Camp life is beginning to stir. Three naked boys have gone to
the spring for water, others collect wood, clean the pots, and draw
_rapoka_ meal and salt from the stores, while a tall pillar of bright
blue smoke ascends in the still air from the boys’ fire. From our
height can be seen a score of native villages, each with its column of
blue smoke.

Two or three sit by the _Isafuba_ game-holes, and of course
disputations at once ensue. Others settle down to work of their own,
such as grass-hat making, carving sticks with chevron patterns, drying
tobacco leaves, crushing snuff, dressing skins, or performing the
duties of barbers. The boys are most industrious when engaged upon
their own work. Others are off to inspect their bird and game traps, of
which they seem to have at least a hundred within a short distance from
the camp, while the rest sit and watch whatever happens to be going on.

Down the side of Makuma Kopje, where Mogabe’s kraal is situated, come
young men in twos and threes, some of them with musical instruments,
such as Makalanga pianos, a flute, and a one-stringed harp with gourd
attached to increase the sound, and of course all are singing. These
on descending Makuma disappear in the ten-foot grass which fills the
valley till they are near the camp. Other young men come from Chenga’s
kraal in the opposite direction two miles away. These latter are the
boys to work. Our best workmen come from Chenga’s, for Mogabe’s men
have not been improved by tips and favours from visitors to the ruins;
besides, belonging to the kraal of the paramount and dynastic chief,
they deem themselves to be somewhat superior to all direction or
reprimand by white men. Though Mogabe’s people know “how to be happy
though Makalanga,” Chenga’s people seem to be even more genuinely
contented with their environment.

By 7 a.m. the camp is in full life, and all the boys are present with
at least a dozen brothers and followers. The trap-owners have returned
with rats, small birds, and possibly a rock-rabbit. A boy is given a
note to take to Victoria, seventeen miles distant. He places the letter
and his pass in a cleft stick, holds it out in front of him, and is
off. He will be back in camp an hour after sundown, perhaps bringing a
load of 35 lbs. on his head. A thirty-four miles’ journey is preferred
to a day’s work in the temple, so that there are always willing runners
into Victoria. There are eggs, poultry, milk, honey, melons, pumpkins,
rice, and sweet potatoes for sale or barter for salt, and these can
always be obtained for half the original price asked for them.

Then there are burns to be dressed, quinine to be administered, or
a lung-sick boy to be dosed. The “Parade State of the Malingering
Brigade” is carefully kept down to the lowest possible limit. One is
amazed at the way the boys bear their injuries. A severe wound which
would put an ordinary European on the sick list is to them a mere
trifle, and without flinching they will take a burning stick from
the fire and rub it up and down inside a gaping flesh wound till the
bleeding has ceased. Should any one of them meet with serious injury,
the rest will laugh immensely as if it were a huge joke. In this
respect they are very callous. Toothache, a cold, or a slight touch
of fever renders them most pitiable objects. The soles of their feet
resemble hides, and one or two large thorns which would completely lame
a European is a matter almost too insignificant for them to notice.
They think nothing of standing on hot burning embers while lighting
their pipes at a fire. On cold nights they sleep near a fire and will
roll into it, but they are such remarkably sound sleepers that it is
not until the next morning they discover they have been burnt. How
they manage to save their skins from thorn scratches is a mystery, for
all day they are walking with naked bodies through bushes and thorn
creepers. Yet their skins are beautifully smooth and glossy, and are
always without the slightest scratch.

But the pots of _rapoka_ meal under the euphorbia trees are now being
stirred, and each pot has its circle of men to whom dyspepsia appears
to be utterly unknown. Sometimes the boys bring a sack of dried
locusts. Locusts are esteemed as a dainty, and make an occasional
change in the menu, or possibly small red beans, or monkey-nuts, or
toasted mealie cobs are feasted upon. While the meal is being devoured
one could hardly imagine there was a native within a mile. The
stillness of skoff-times (meal-times) in camp serves the purposes of a
well-regulated chronometer. Teeth-cleaning is their first business of
the day. On rising from sleep and after each meal this is religiously
performed. Each takes a mouthful of water and rubs his teeth vigorously
with a forefinger, using what water is still remaining in his mouth
to wet the skin of face, neck, breast, and hands, squirting it out
in doles as required. To hurry them back to work before their teeth
had been cleaned would cause them to regard the _Baba_ with looks of
genuine horror.

At 7 a.m. the ganger, a man who has worked in the ruins for Bent,
Willoughby, and Schlichter, comes to the hut door to report that the
men are now ready to start work. Then follows the roll-call, each
raising his hand and passing on one side to a separate group as his
name is read out. A boy absent for two days on account of alleged
sickness is reported to have gone to a distant kraal to attend a “beer
dance” where he danced the whole night through. A fine is entered
against him. Makalanga split on one another in a fashion which English
schoolboys would never permit. Our fines are rarely enforced, but the
mere entering them in the book has a most wholesome effect.

One feature in the roll-call generally strikes visitors as interesting,
that is, the rhythmic sound of the names of the boys. To an Englishman
these names would appear to be more suitable for girls than for men.
In fact, all the names of the men are pretty, so pretty that it
seems inappropriate to apply them to great fellows like some of our
labourers. But like their ideally graceful and poetic gestures, while
pronouncing each other’s names they unconsciously manage to throw into
the pronunciation a delicate softness, rhythm of intonation, and charm
of expression that are rather fascinating to the European listener. An
Englishman totally unacquainted with the local language, and wrongly
pronouncing the names, could not rob them of their poetry.

The roll completed, all set off in Indian file either to the Elliptical
Temple or the Acropolis, singing in chorus in a Tyrolese style, one man
giving the recitative, which is almost always of a purely extempore
and local character. When once within the ruins, blankets are thrown
off and the forty boys make, with a background of light-coloured,
lichen-draped walls, a dark mass of humanity, for, save their
insignificant aprons fastened with a bark string to their waists,
and their necklaces of blue beads and amulets, and brass bangles on
arm and leg, they are practically naked, and the sun shines on their
glossy chocolate-tinted skins as on burnished metal. The Makalanga have
exceedingly strong social instincts, and prefer to work together in one
mass even in a small area. To separate them into small gangs would mean
little or no work done.

On wet days, or for a few succeeding days, the work is confined to
carrying out blocks, which have either fallen from the walls or been
piled up by the long succession of archæologists and gold relic
collectors who have worked within the ruins. These are carried held
up high over their shoulders at arms’ length, or else on the tops of
their heads, where natives carry anything from the size of a pill-box
to a 40 lb. load. They never carry anything with arms downwards. In
fine weather, leaf mould full of roots and seeds, and past excavators’
soil-heaps are removed outside in boxes, the narrow entrances
precluding the general use of wheelbarrows. Relics would be lost in the
wet and clayey soil were it removed in wet weather. All the boys work
_en masse_, each picks up his box or block, and when all are loaded up
they start in one unbroken line for the débris heap outside, singing
choruses with recitatives all the way out and on their return. The
boxes are carried on one shoulder, a knobkerrie being used as a lever
over the other shoulder to hold up the back of the box. The procession
of boxes seems interminable—“Milkmaid,” “Armour Beef,” “Lime Juice
Cordial,” “Highland Whisky,” “Raisins,” “Coleman’s,” “Mazawattee,”
supplemented by buckets, but above all by “Nectar Tea.” Each box has a
branded notice uncomplimentary to ships’ boilers. But “Nectar” is the
great triumph of Zimbabwe.

It is a huge box, carried on two short poles, with “Nectar Tea”
emblazoned on its sides in blue and white. It courtsies and bobs
its way to and fro in a most stately fashion, and after it has left
the pile which is being removed, a great reduction in the débris
remaining can be noticed. The boys have no particular affection for
this omnibus. They are believed to _bulala_ (knock about) this box on
purpose to ruin it, for several times a day they will bring it with no
sorrow on their faces with the information that the box is _meningi
gura_ (plenty sick), each time fatally _gura_, but a few nails cure it
of its injuries. Long may “Nectar Tea,” in the interests of archæology,
continue to courtesy and bob its way through the western portal of the
Elliptical Temple.



The boys when working well will in a day do about as much work as a
quarter of the same number of English labourers. They are inclined to
be industrious when the _Baba_ is in sight, but they immediately drop
down on their haunches with knees up the moment his back is turned.
This is a moral certainty. Then singing ceases, for when working they
are always singing. Any excuse for a passing diversion is immediately
seized upon. On the shout of _inyoga_ (snake) they drop their tools at
once, seize their knobkerries and jump into the jungle heedless for the
time being of thorns and creepers. In respect of snakes they are not
cowards. Inside the bush a perfect pandemonium is going on which never
ceases till either the snake, generally a python or a black mamba, has
been slain or has escaped into some pile of ancient blocks.

Another day, after a brief absence from the temple, I found about forty
women and girls from Mogabe’s kraal had arrived in the temple to watch
their sons, brothers, and sweethearts at work. This they frequently do.
The boys on this occasion, believing _Baba_ to be further off than he
really was, were chasing the dusky Cleopatras up and down the parallel
passages, in and out of the enclosures, and dodging them round the
base of the Sacred Cone. One burly Junoesque, bead-and-bangle-bedecked
mother was having a most delirious and frantic ride round the temple
courts in our only wheelbarrow, which is an iron one. As the barrow
bumped along at full tilt against the stones it would each time
shake her up terribly. The shrieking, screaming, and laughter of the
girls and the yelling of the boys made the temple ring with a noise
sufficient to make the priests of the ancient Phallic cult whirl in
their graves with horror. But—_Baba!_ and in thirty seconds the boys
were all hard at work with most pious looks on their faces, and singing
a well-known mission hymn. These great, fine-grown, frank-looking
fellows, with their enviable ivories and provokingly pleasant smiles,
are far worse than little children to manage. Their characters are
perfectly riddled with frivolity, and their minds astonishingly
mercurial. Every incident they notice is to them humorous, even the
preservation work at the ruins is regarded by them as a sheer waste
of time. Not one of them if he tried hard could keep silence for two
minutes together. He must either talk, laugh, sing, whistle, or perform
some absurd antic. Their utter guilelessness and naïve simplicity are
in many respects both surprising and entertaining. To blame them before
their fellows kills what little spirit they possess for work, while
praise, even though barely merited, will cause them to redouble their
efforts. To be in the slightest degree friendly or familiar with them
is to completely destroy one’s influence over them; the granting them
any favour is regarded by them as an undoubted sign of the donor’s
weakness, and of the virtue of gratitude they are absolutely destitute.

One wonders at the dual character which each possesses. In some
respects a Makalanga is more moral than many a European, while in
others the depth of his immorality cannot be plumbed. In some matters
they are as pure-minded as Adam and Eve in the Garden, and know not
that they are naked. In their hands their women’s virtue is safe. But
contact with the “educated native,” especially a Cape Kafir, before
their minds are prepared to receive even the most elementary education,
works on them untold mischief.

But the boys may be divided into two classes, one industrious and
honest, the other lazy and thieving. These diverse characteristics
appear to run in separate families. M’Komo stole Mrs. Theodore Bent’s
honey. Three of his nephews in my employ stole meat, sugar, tobacco,
or anything else in the _kya_ (hut) they took a fancy to. Another
nephew proved to be a veritable Iago in a _moocha_ (a small leathern
apron worn by men), and was always making mischief, not only among the
boys, but also between the boys and the _Baba_. Of course these members
of this family, notwithstanding its exalted connections, were warned
off the camp, and are not allowed to be seen visiting it. Brothers of
unsatisfactory boys are never taken on the works, but should there be
any vacancy at the end of a month, and the supply of labour is greater
than our demand, the places are offered to the brothers of trustworthy
boys, and these always prove a great success.

But to return to the Temple. About eleven o’clock the _kya_ boy arrives
with half a dozen wee picaninnies carrying kettle, tea-pot, etc. The
_kya_ boy comes in for an amount of chaff from the gang. They call
him a “Moccaranga shentilman,” because, for two hours in the morning
and for the same time in the afternoon, he can _lala_ (rest), seeing
that he starts work at 5.30 a.m. and is not free till about 8 p.m.
Further, he has perquisites in the shape of meat, tobacco, and tips
from visitors, and also in a diluted form acts as a sort of _baas_
(master). But the _kya_ boy takes all the chaff in good part, and gives
back quite as much as he receives. The picaninnies, armed with bows and
arrows, indulge in target practice, and make it ruinous to stick up
lunch biscuits at forty paces.

Probably Mogabe with his headmen will arrive to watch the boys working,
and then I know what to expect. It is bound to come. After a long
silence he remarks that he is glad to see the _Baba_. Another long
silence, and then—“A _Baba_ always gives presents to his children.” I
assume a complete indifference to his remark. Mogabe is diplomatic, but
his diplomacy is very thin. After a long pause he observes—“The _Baba_
will make me a present of money.” I inform him I have none to give.
Another long pause ensues, then, pointing to a hatchet, he remarks—“The
_Baba_ will give me this.” I explain that the hatchet is the property
of the Chartered Company, and not mine to bestow. He fails to see the
point of my statement, and bluntly says so. He pauses to consider what
else he can ask for, and after a long cogitation says “Salt, _Baba_.”
At last Mogabe is reasonable, and I instruct the _kya_ boy to fetch him
half a cup of salt. Mogabe is profuse in his thanks, and his speech is
floreated with eulogies of the _Baba_.

Now my turn begins. Mogabe and the elders of his headmen have a sixty
years’ knowledge of the ruins, and he is acquainted with everything
that took place at Zimbabwe during the time of Chipfuno his brother,
who was the previous Zimbabwe chief. Pointing to a gap in an obviously
ancient wall which had been rudely filled in with blocks, I ask him
who filled up the gap. After a long consultation with his headmen, he
says that the Makalanga did it to keep in the cattle, for this part of
the temple was used as a cattle kraal, and that was when Chipfuno was
a young man. Another gap was filled up when Chipfuno was a young man.
I then hand him over some pieces of pottery with geometrical patterns
not at all crudely executed, which we have just unearthed, and ask
him if the Makalanga made them. For ten minutes he and his headmen
are closely examining the pottery, noting the quality of the clay,
the correctness of the pattern, and the glaze on both sides. Yes, the
Makalanga made it, but not the Makalanga who are now alive, nor their
fathers’ fathers. The pottery was of Makalanga make, but _meningi dara_
(very old). The assertion he emphasises by gesture, manifestly meaning
a great age. Mogabe thus confirms the expert opinion of antiquarians
that this class of pottery was made by the mediæval Makalanga. Mogabe
comes to see us at every place we work at, and his opinion on “finds”
belonging to recent generations of Makalanga may be taken, so old hands
affirm, as perfectly reliable. The information so obtained is valuable
both as to later walls and to articles found.

Sometimes the chiefs Baranazimba or Chenga arrive at the ruins, and an
_indaba_ (conference) as to “finds” and built-up entrances always takes
place, but the weekly _indaba_ with Mogabe always commences with the
same old rigmarole. It is a sheer waste of time to discuss anything
ancient with them, for since the new jail at Victoria has been built
they all solemnly declare that the _marungu_[22] (white men) built
the ruins for a “Tronk!” All their old poetic explanations as to the
presence of the ruins, such as they were built “when stones were soft”
or “when days were dark,” have now gone to the winds. The ruins were

But the _kya_ boy has arrived with the salt, and Mogabe is happy. He
wraps the salt up in the corner of his blanket, and is off to his kraal
at once. When any _marungu_ arrives in a Cape-cart at the camp Mogabe
is down the side of his kopje a few minutes afterwards, and arrives
there also. It is the same old story, only then the visitor is given
_his_ opportunity of demonstrating his liberality. “I am glad to see
the _Baba_. A _Baba_ always gives presents to his children.” Mogabe,
like his fellows all over South Africa, is a born beggar, and yet he
possesses seventy head of cattle, is rich in wives, grain, and labour,
rules over a large area of country, receives a monthly allowance
from the Government as chief, and a further allowance for warning
unauthorised prospectors for ancient relics from the ruins.

Mogabe’s day has gone. Still, notwithstanding his true Kafir fawning
nature, there is something about the aged chief one cannot help
respecting. He is intelligent, and he looks it, and his face, if
white, would be taken for that of an educated European, for, like most
Makalanga, he has little or nothing negroid in his features. Before
the advent of the Chartered Company he was constantly at war with
his neighbours, sacking villages, kidnapping women and children, and
generally murdering. His last fight was in November, 1892, when he
engaged the Amangwa people, the battle taking place just outside the
western wall of the Elliptical Temple. His own people seem to somewhat
neglect him, except in some tribal arrangements and in affairs in which
he represents the Native Department. Formerly it was the rule that he
ate first and his people afterwards; now he comes into our camp at
skoff-times and asks the boys for some of their _rapoko_, porridge,
and if they should happen to be mindful of his presence they will pass
him a handful, but sometimes he sits there unheeded. He has now sold,
perhaps for a mere song, the famous necklace of Venetian beads which
Bent failed to induce him to part with. But there is a look in his eyes
that gives one the impression that the old man does not at all relish
the benefits of civilisation, and that he is pining for a return of the
good old days of blood-shedding.[23] Mogabe’s biography would be worth

But Mogabe is in my good books, for he gave me permission to move some
Makalanga graves made in certain of the passages on the Acropolis. Bent
merely told Chipfuno that he was going to move the selfsame graves,
and he at once withdrew all the labourers, and this not only caused
Bent considerable difficulty, but he was not afterwards allowed to
open the passages. Twelve years later Mogabe gives his consent on the
understanding that he is given half a cup of salt, that the remains
were to be properly re-interred, and that the boys who did the work
should be allowed to go to their kraals to purify themselves. This
purification is no mere excuse, but is an actual cleansing of those
engaged in this particular undertaking. The boys informed me that until
they had washed they could not eat, and that their fellows would keep
away from them. The bones were not touched by hand, but were moved with
two sticks. Once I picked up a solid copper bangle, which must have
come, judging by the presence of scattered human bones, from some grave
disturbed years previously by some excavator for relics. The boys were
genuinely horrified when I touched it, but more so when I put it on my
wrist. They said I must take it off at once and wash myself, and this
horror at what I had done possessed them for several days and was a
constant theme of conversation.

_Tjiya!_ (cease work!) is sounded, and the boys take up the cry, and
spring like chased buck helter-skelter through the western entrance
into the hot, sultry atmosphere, singing, laughing, yelling, and
caterwauling, just like boys let out of school. The relentlessly
broiling heat and glare of noontide make one long for the beautifully
cool shade of the huts.

Arrived at the camp, some of the boys lie at full length on the hot
boulders and so take sun-baths, others resume their own carving
or other work, some make music, or play with dollasses, or fence,
while the majority gather round the various sets of game-holes and
play _isafuba_, but there is a camp rule, found by experience to be
necessary, that _isafuba_ cannot be played until the cooks state that
the pots have commenced to boil. So fascinating is this game that
formerly we found the cooking operations often became neglected.

_Isafuba_ is one of a group of games, the origin of which is explained
on pages 79, 80 of _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_. In our camp are
several sets of game-holes; one set has four rows of sixteen holes
each, and another two rows of twelve holes. This last is generally
patronised by the picaninnies. Some of the _isafuba_ games have
different moves, numbers of holes and counters, and the games vary
slightly in different districts.

From two to five players sit on each side. Each of the partners on
either side appears to have an equal right of moving the counters. The
two lines of holes near each set of partners is not intruded upon by
the counters of the opponents, but opponents clutch up the counters of
the opposite side when such counters have no counter either in the hole
behind or in front, and this snatching up of counters is governed by
rules which in some moves closely resemble those of chess, while double
counters in a hole are as influential as kings in draughts.

Some of the moves strongly remind one of “fox and geese,” each side
moving in turn, and later in the game, when the holes are full of
counters, each side chases the other along parallel lines of holes to
the end of the set. This chasing is a cause of great excitement, and
is concluded in a perfect babel of shouting, each player as he moves a
counter in the chase calling out _in-da!_ and when the final hole is
reached, _ga!_

Always while in camp there is a perpetual shouting of _in-da! in-da!
in-da!_ followed by the triumphant shout of _ga!_ The subject of heated
discussion during the game is as to the amount of cheating the other
side has effected, and the tumult caused by the discussion of this
topic, especially with an extraordinarily talkative people like the
Makalangas, can only be but partially imagined. The perpetual _in-da!
in-da! in-da!—ga!_ trespasses into one’s dreamland. After a week of
this never-ceasing _in-da!_ the sets of holes were ordered to be
removed to a more reasonable distance from the hut door; still, one
cannot even now escape this perpetual and monotonous din. Yet in all
their excited disputations they have never once got beyond mere words.
The picaninnies sometimes join in at the larger sets, but a prompter
always assists them.

It is the custom for the losers, and not the victors, to record the
state of the series of games. This is done by placing large stones,
one for each game lost, on the side where the losers sit. The losers
invariably have to provide the stones. When all the large stones within
arm’s reach have been used up as records and the losers have to get
up to fetch a stone, there is general laughter in the camp, even from
those who are not immediately watching the game. The stakes are for
“sisspences,” or for _doro_ (native beer), but both winners and losers
share alike. Towards the end of a month, when wages are becoming due,
the game causes increased excitement, and plenty of _doro_ is brewed by
speculative villagers to meet the probable demands of the boys.[24]

The two most pernicious vices of the Makalanga are their inveterate
love of _I’daha_ (wild hemp) smoking, and of _doro_ drinking.

The former acts as opium, and incapacitates for work, dulls the
intellect, destroys every atom of will-power, and tends, if persisted
in, to shorten life. An _I’daha_ smoker is readily known by the glazed
look in his eyes, and by his miserable appearance. On our arrival here
_I’daha_ pipes were introduced into the camp, but they were very soon
destroyed, and the smoking of _I’daha_ is now an offence punishable
by dismissal without _mali_ (money). This rule has effected a great
improvement in the general tone of the men and in their capacities for
work. So injurious to brain and health is this vice that in some parts
of South Africa _I’daha_ smoking is prohibited under a penalty. One of
the most distressing features of this practice is the painful fit of
loud coughing which always follows the use of the pipe.

_Doro_, brewed from _rapoko_ (a red millet), is drunk very extensively
by the Makalanga in this district, seeing that this part of the country
yields grain in such enormous quantities. But the natives do not regard
_doro_ as a mere beverage. At new and full moons, or at the rising or
setting of the Pleiades, which determine the sowing and harvesting
seasons, _doro_ is provided by the native farmers in lieu of wages, and
on these occasions it is drunk most extensively by people of all ages.
The men delight in gulping it down in quantities with the avowed and
deliberate intention of getting drunk as soon as possible. The state of
stupefaction induced by _doro_ is one of their most exquisite delights.
On Saturday mornings the one topic of conversation of the gang is as to
how much beer they will drink on _I’zhuba Kuru_ (Sunday), how soon they
will get drunk, and what they will do when they are drunk. On Mondays,
in spite of their “large heads” and sodden appearance, discussions take
place as to who were the most drunk. The one who lost most control of
himself is considered a hero. In their opinion the man who was most
intoxicated honours himself, and can afford to boast.

Even those who are in many other respects the most hopeful young men
equally delight in getting absolutely intoxicated. The lads from eight
years of age imbibe _doro_ most copiously, while boys of twelve get as
drunk as their seniors. The brains of the natives are so small that the
_doro_ acts upon them speedily, and two hours’ drinking will undo all
the benefit of two years’ contact with civilisation. Then all their
innate savage nature reasserts itself in every violent form, and their
swaggering insolence, inspired by _doro_, is intolerable. But the evils
of _I’daha_ smoking and _doro_ drinking are not of modern origin,
but are ingrained in their blood and bone by many past centuries of
devotion to these practices.

The rarefied air of these highlands conducts sound over long distances,
and triangular conversations are constantly in progress between the
villagers at Mogabe’s kraal, our boys at the camp, and those working
on the Hill Ruins, though each point is at least a third of a mile
distant from the others. These conversations are carried on without
the slightest straining of the voice or even shouting, the secret
apparently being the slight raising of the voice and speaking very
distinctly and very slowly. From their vantage position on the hill
the boys are always on the look-out for natives passing and repassing
between the villages. While the passing natives are, as one would
believe, outside the hearing limit a conversation with the boys has for
some time been in progress. Our boys will give the usual salutation,
and if this be replied to all well and good. But should it not be
replied to, or not promptly, the boys will at once start in chorus to
slang the passer-by and all his relatives, commencing with his mother.
So long as the passer-by is within earshot, so long do these slanging
matches continue. Each boy endeavours to cap each previous remark with
something more pungent, and as he succeeds the rest cheer him. Natives
state that the sound of their voices travels quickest and furthest in
the early mornings.



The visits of _marungu_ to the ruins are highly interesting occasions
for the natives. The news of any approaching arrival is shouted down
from Mogabe’s kraal a third of a mile away, for from Mogabe’s Kopje
there is a four miles’ view of the road from Victoria. Long before the
Cape-cart or horsemen can enter our valley from over the ridge between
Rusivanga and Mogabe’s kopjes it is known where we are working, how
many visitors are arriving, the description of vehicle, and if there
is a lady in the party. Arrivals always attract a score or more naked
picaninnies, who accompany the conveyance from the ridge at the foot
of the Rusivanga down to the camp. But such visits are infrequent, and
three weeks or a month pass without a white man arriving at Zimbabwe,
and when, after such intervals, they do arrive, their faces look
strange _because they are white_, while the sound of the English
language is strikingly odd. On some rare occasions as many as three
camps of visitors have been fixed up on the outspan. A patrol of the
British South Africa Police calls about once a month, and the troopers
generally introduce themselves with some such salutation as “Well,
still alive? Not murdered yet?”

Humorous incidents are not absent in the work of excavation in the
ruins. For instance, after working for some hours in a trench near
the Sacred Enclosure, and passing all soil over boards and through
fingers in the search for relics, a common clay pipe of English make
was found intact at a depth of over 3 ft. At another spot, after hours
of careful but unrewarded work in a trench, at a similar depth a very
late brand of soda-water bottle was found. Both these finds delighted
the boys infinitely more than had they unearthed a cartload of phalli
or other prehistoric relics of value. In some respects the boys are
extremely practical. The question “_aliquid novi ex Zimbabwe?_” can in
two senses be answered in the affirmative. Such modern articles found
“at depth” afford only another proof that the soil in the interior of
the temple, as stated elsewhere, has been turned over and over again by
archæologists, and also by unauthorised prospectors, for ancient gold
and other relics.

After _tjiya_, when the day’s work is done, there is still an hour or
so of daylight left, and this is usually occupied in wandering among
the kopjes or along sequestered valleys, keeping an eye open for fresh
traces of the ancients, or in examining and measuring some one of
the minor ruins which stud the valley, or in calling at a village to
arrange for labour, or in looking out for buck and guinea-fowl for the

Meanwhile the sun is setting in a gorgeous west, and the golden glow
is already fading on the temple walls. Then come the shadows of night,
and these settle down rapidly. By the time the hut is reached the _kya_
boy has lit the candles, laid the table, and is ready with the skoff.
The boys are sitting round their fire or finishing a game of _isafuba_
in the semi-darkness. Their evening meal is being cooked. One of them
has brought a gourd of _doro_, and another a pot of fat, in which each
handful of porridge is dipped before being eaten.

Sitting on the stoep of the hut at this time of the day is a perfect
rest. The air is agreeably cooled by a light breeze, which is laden
with the scent of verbena. The night is calm and peaceful. Large
bats fly swallow-wise, fire flies dart in all directions, glow-worms
shine steadily in the grass, and birds, frogs, and insects join in
mild choruses. The call of a boy in our camp to some companion up on
Mogabe’s Kopje is repeated half a dozen times by the precipices of
Zimbabwe Hill, where the echoes die out in a series of sharp raps.
The large full moon rises serenely from behind the trees on Beroma
Range, and bathes the country in delicate soft light, imparting a
greenish-grey tint to the mist-veils which fill the gorges, throwing
a deeper suggestion of mystery and awe over the wide expanse of bush
where the lion holds his court.

The boys, having finished their meal, now indulge in post-prandial
rhetoric, and dialectic ping-pong. The ruddy glow of the fire reddens
the huts and shines on the naked bodies and limbs of the crowd, making
them resemble polished ebony, while as their tall and well-proportioned
figures with kingly walk pass and repass in the flickering lurid light
they appear to resemble shades from across the Styx. Such a scene is
at least Dantesque, and to many might seem weird. But the boys are
as happy as their hearts can wish. Their joviality is irrepressible.
Harmony from their instruments, rhythmic chants, peals of laughter,
wild recitatives, constant talking, with perhaps a wrestling match and
a war-dance executed in simulated form thrown in, fill up two hours,
by the end of which they are all under their blankets, sleeping and
snoring as only natives can.

“Porridge,” the _kya_ boy’s under-study, and eight years old, has
brought in the hut door, which also acts as drawing-board and stoep
table, and has gone to the kitchen-hut, where he rolls himself up in
his tiny blanket.

An occasional bark of a baboon or wolf, or yelp of jackal, or hoot of
owl, is heard in addition to the usual nightjar and frog choruses. The
sounds of the village drums, and of singing and dancing at Mogabe’s
or Chenga’s kraal, where the full-moon feast is being celebrated, are
wafted down to us. The night is perfectly lovely, but for Havilah Camp
the day is past and over.

But the moon—itself a dead world—looks down upon the ruins of a dead
city and on the graves of a forgotten race, as it has done ever since
the stern policeman Fate ordered these ancients to “Pass on!”

                              CHAPTER IV

                           ZIMBABWE DISTRICT

                        _Chipo-popo[25] Falls_

These are about two miles and a half north-east of Zimbabwe, on the
Motelekwe Road. The Chipo-popo, which is a perennial stream with its
source on the south side of the Beroma Range, crosses the road and
runs towards the Moshagashi River, which it joins four miles lower
down. Immediately to the north of the drift (ford) the stream descends
abruptly down granite ledges into a deep ravine, on the east side of
which is Chipo-popo kraal. The falls are reached by leaving the road at
thirty yards on the Zimbabwe side of the drift and going between some
large boulders on the north side of the road. This is an interesting
spot at any time, but especially so when rains have swollen the
torrent. A path from Chipo-popo kraal leads to Oatlands Farm, four
miles north-east of Zimbabwe, where Naidoo, an Indian, has an extensive
market-garden. The walk to the falls and to Oatlands Farm is a very
easy afternoon’s exercise.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Frond Glen._—This is a very pretty, secluded, and sheltered spot in a
deep ravine about half a mile east of the South-East Ruins. A stream
from the valley, which extends eastwards from the Elliptical Temple,
passes through it in a south-easterly direction. On the banks of
this ravine are to be found tree-ferns, palms, royal ferns (_osmunda
regalis_), and maiden-hair ferns. The scenery and atmosphere of this
glen are said to be somewhat similar to those of some tracts on the
southern slopes of the Himalayas. To reach the glen one should leave
the Motelekwe Road at three-quarters of a mile east of Havilah Camp,
cross the small valley on the south to the South-East Ruins, and then
go due east from the ruins, the land descending towards the glen.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Lumbo Rocks._—These strikingly picturesque cliffs, which form a
prominent landmark for miles around, are a little over two miles
south of the Elliptical Temple, and are approached by the native path
leading from Zimbabwe to the Morgenster Mission. These granite crags
rise perpendicularly for about a hundred feet from out of the summit
of a rocky kopje, and form a rude square-sided column of precipice,
which is divided into four portions by very narrow fissures, which run
through it on all four sides from base to summit. Visitors should climb
this hill and inspect the rocks. There are numerous granite boulders
split into fantastic shapes all round this kopje. The headman, Lumbo,
now has his kraal about a third of a mile to the west of these rocks.
Chipadzi’s kraal lies one mile to the south-east of Lumbo Rocks, and
half a mile nearer Zimbabwe, and on the west side of the path to the
mission is the deserted kraal of Baranazimba, situate on a high rugged
kopje among gigantic boulders which rendered the kraal most difficult
of approach. This chief is a relative of Mogabe. His new kraal is on
a kopje close to the Victoria-Zimbabwe Road about four miles from the

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Morgenster_ (“_Morning Star_”) _Mission_.—One of the prettiest walks
from Zimbabwe is to this mission station, which is barely three and
a half miles distant in a south-south-westerly direction. The path
passes between the _Elliptical Temple_ and the _Bentberg_. About two
miles along the path and close to the right-hand side is Baranazimba’s
old kraal perched up high among the boulders of a kopje. The path
then crosses a nek between Baranazimba’s and the _Lumbo Rocks_, and
descends into a narrow valley and up a high ridge, on which, cutting
the sky-line, is a tall and prominent _Finger Rock_, which is only a
few hundred yards from the mission, which lies just over the ridge.
Morgenster is on a much higher elevation than the Zimbabwe Valley. The
walk is highly interesting to anyone fond of romantic scenery. Rugged
kopjes, with cliff-boulders on which huge granite masses are most
delicately poised, lie along the right-hand side of the path for a
great part of the distance to Morgenster.

The mission was founded in 1891 by the Rev. A. A. Louw, of the Dutch
Reformed Church, Dr. John Helm, the medical missionary, joining the
station in 1894. Several other European missionaries are attached to
the staff, and there are numerous outlying stations.

The mission settlement is ideally situated on the south face of a
high ridge overlooking the Mowishawasha Valley on the south and the
N’Djena Valley and Motelekwe River on the south-east. Its position is
marked by clumps of tall blue gum-trees. The buildings comprise the
residence of Mr. Louw, the houses of Dr. Helm and other missionaries,
and a school-house. Morgenster is celebrated for its banana plantation,
the number of its lemon trees, and its large irrigated gardens. The
Mahobohobo trees are very numerous in the vicinity of the station.

The district in which the mission is situated is known to the natives
as Amangwa, this being in former times the country of the once powerful
tribe of Amangwa, who were driven away from the Zimbabwe district by
the present local Makalanga on their arrival almost seventy years ago
from the Sabi district. A kopje within a third of a mile on the east
side of the mission was, until very recently, occupied by a local tribe
of Makalanga, who built up rampart walls of unhewn stones to fortify
the kopje against the attacks of the Matabele about 1893.

Morgenster is also celebrated for the immense panoramic view of the
Motelekwe Valley, extending for at least forty miles, where the
tumbling sea of rugged kopje summits fades into the blue distance.
The view is so extensive, impressive, and grand that one can never
tire beholding it. As far as the eye can reach the land can be seen
descending towards the south. The nearest point of the Motelekwe River
to the mission is four miles. There are a great many villages in the

A peculiar interest attaches to this view of the Motelekwe Valley,
for along it appears to have been the main route of the ancient
gold-seekers from the coast to Zimbabwe, and so into the interior
of the country. Along the Motelekwe is a chain of ruins (see
_Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_), of which the Mapaku Ruins, eight miles
east-south-east of Zimbabwe, are the nearest. Some of these ruins
are of major importance, and two at least are decorated with the
chevron pattern, and occupy areas almost as large as the main ruins
at Zimbabwe. This line of forts, or “blockhouses,” is extended along
the Sabi River for a considerable distance into Portuguese territory.
In viewing this valley from Morgenster, the thought that within sight
lies one of the ancient roads to the coast, and that along it passed
the gold- and ivory-laden caravans, makes the contemplation of the
Motelekwe Valley one of absorbing interest.

The sharp-cut kopje with steep glacis sides, about a mile and a half
south of the mission, is Rugutsi. This divides the scenery of the
Motelekwe from that of the Mowishawasha Valley on the south. This also
is a fine view, but not so extensive as that of the Motelekwe Valley.
An absolutely bare, granite, balloon-shaped kopje lies to the west.

Two miles due south of the mission, in the Mowishawasha Valley, is a
natural stronghold known as Wuwuli.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Wuwuli._—This village, which is two miles south of Morgenster, is
situated in a deep and narrow ravine immediately west of the Rugutsi
Kopje, which forms such a prominent feature in the landscape of the
Mowishawasha Valley, as seen from the mission. Formerly this place was
of considerable importance to the local Makalanga, for during the times
of the Matabele raids the natives between this place and Zimbabwe took
refuge in the very extensive caves which run under the north side of
the ravine. A strong perennial stream flows through the caves. Here, in
time of danger, women, cattle, and grain were hidden. When Mr. and Mrs.
Bent visited this village, in 1891, the natives were opposed to their
inspecting the caves, and they were only permitted to go a certain
distance inside. Now that raidings have ceased the caves are deserted,
save for bats, and we were permitted to view the caves without any
demur on the part of the villagers.

The present chief is Bungu, a brother of the present dynastic chief
Mogabe by another mother. The former Mogabe, Chipfuno, resided at this
kraal as well as at Zimbabwe, and it was here he was shot in 1892.

When visiting this village we saw a man undergoing a cure by
blood-letting. Incisions were made in the flesh of the leg, and horns
of yearling cattle placed over them. The air was then sucked out of the
horns through small holes in the top, and the holes were then stopped
with wax. The horns clung to the flesh, owing to the vacuum which drew
the blood. Bungu’s attention was drawn to an old iron-smelting furnace,
on which was the usual female breast and furrow pattern. He said the
natives did not smelt iron now because they could buy their garden hoes
from the white men, and they were therefore saved the trouble of making

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Mojejèje, or “Mystic Bar.”_—There are two of these mystic bars at
Zimbabwe, one being on the Motelekwe Road, a quarter of a mile east
from Havilah camp and opposite Middle Kopje (_Chamananga_), and the
other about a mile from Zimbabwe, on the path to Bingura’s. The one
on the Motelekwe Road is formed by a bar of aphite crossing a granite
glacis, over which the road passes, but the one on Bingura’s Path is
an arbitrary line drawn across a piece of granite, over which the path
crosses. Each bar is at right angles to the path. At either end of
each bar is a pile of stones, which show evident signs of having been
hammered upon the bar for generations past. A native on a long journey,
arriving at one of these bars, will take a stone from the pile on one
side and with it tap the whole length of the bar, and lay the stone
on the pile on the opposite side. Natives crossing the bar in passing
between their kraals and their plantations, or going a short distance
only, do not tap the bars. The idea in so tapping the bar is that by so
doing the back is strengthened for the journey, and also that the man
they are going to see may be at home, that the food will not be cooked
till they arrive, and that their journey may be successful. There is no
appeal to spirits or ancestors in performing this act.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Suku Dingle._—This is situated but a few yards from the left-hand side
of the lower path leading from Zimbabwe to Morgenster, and is about 400
yds. north-east of _Lumbo Rocks_, about two miles from Zimbabwe. The
dingle runs east and west, and is deeply wooded and narrow. This is
a good spot for fern collectors. Down the dingle runs a happy little
stream in perennial flow. The stream’s bed is formed of white clay. The
sides of the banks have been trenched extensively for a perfectly white
soil. This is used by the natives for whitewashing the outside of huts
and for making the check patterns on their interior walls. It is quite
possible that the ancients knew of this spot, and used the material in
making their more choice pottery. The natives know of no other place in
this district where the same material is obtainable, and they come
from many miles’ distance to fetch it.



                   •       •       •       •       •

_Bingura’s[26] kraal._—This kraal, which is situated two and a half
miles west-south-west of Zimbabwe, is well worth a visit, the walk
itself being interesting and the situation of the kraal romantic.
Possessors of cameras will find at this kraal ample opportunities of
making “shots” at native life, as well as of taking typical views of
the Zimbabwe scenery. The path to Bingura’s crosses the valley lying
between Havilah Camp and Rusivanga, and then leads up through native
plantations to the broad nek on the horizon between Rusivanga and a
kopje just west of the western end of the Bentberg. On the nek is
another _Mojejèje_, or “Mystic Bar,” crossing the path, where it passes
over open granite. The ascent to the nek is for almost a mile, and the
path from the nek dips down the western side of the ridge into a wide
valley, and passes through the farmstead of a Basuto mission-boy named

The kopje on the summit of which Bingura’s kraal is located is of
horse-shoe shape, and the huts of the kraal are along the line of
summit at intervals among huge boulders. The almost inaccessible
position this kraal occupies, and its rocky surroundings, is also
paralleled by the now deserted kraal of Baranazimba, which is on the
summit of a very high hill protected by precipitous cliffs, and lies on
the right-hand side of the path leading from Zimbabwe to Morgenster.
The men from this kraal, like those of Chenga’s, have not been spoilt
by contact with white men as are many of the men of Mogabe’s kraal.
So far Bingura has not yet left his natural stronghold, but the
probability is that once the neighbouring fields become poor through
over-cultivation he may, like his neighbours, move his kraal into the
open country.

Starting to ascend the hill, one hears at a hundred yards’ distance
the noise of falling water in a ravine at the north foot of the hill.
The path ascends steeply up fissures and along narrow ledges, and over
slippery slopes of black granite worn white with the passing of many
feet. Bingura’s hut is about half-way up the hill, and here on a small
flat area are about a dozen huts, and on still higher ledges on the
north and west faces of the hill are more dwellings almost hidden,
even when near to them, among huge boulders, also many circular clay
granaries perched on rocks out of the reach of white ants. The large
number of these granaries testifies to the industry of Bingura’s
people. The tree boughs were festooned with mealie cobs drying in the
sun. A large, flat rock was covered with locusts, and quantities of
melons, pumpkins, and gourds were laid outside the huts. Women were
winnowing _rapoka_ corn and cleaning rice. Bingura’s youngest wife,
a fine and very good-looking young woman, was sewing pink beads in
chevron pattern on to her skin apron, and every man, woman, and child
appeared to have some occupation. There were more manifest signs of
business here than at any other kraal in the district. Here they have
less regard for the need of apparel than any of the inhabitants round
about. Bingura is a small man of about fifty years of age, but as agile
as a buck, and has a quick shrewd glance. This is in every respect the
most interesting village in this district.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Motumi’s kraal._—This kraal is about one mile west of Bingura’s, and
is situate in open country and is worth visiting. Motumi is a very
good specimen of a Barotse headman. He is fully seventy years of age,
but is still hale, hearty, and straight. The features of the people at
this kraal are very fine, and most of the men and boys are well-made.
They are a very industrious people and never seem to be idling in their
kraal. Motumi is above the average native in intelligence and can
give an account of what is now Matabeleland long before the Matabele
arrived, with long lists of place-names in that country as then known.
Matgwain, his eldest son, is exceptionally intelligent. Motumi’s people
speak Chicaranga, and most of their characteristics and customs are
also those of their neighbours, the Amangwa, to whom they are allied by
long generations of marriages.

_Chibfuko._—This hill adjoins the Mowishawasha Hill, which is about
seven miles west-south-west of Zimbabwe. _Washa_ is always associated
in the mind of the natives with power and authority. Chibfuko is never
ascended by the natives. Either the hill itself, or something on it,
causes them to revere or dread it. They never pass by without kneeling
and clapping hands to it. It is said that they hear girls singing on
its summit. The hill has a few caves highly suggestive in appearance of
ancients and hidden relics. In this district valuable relics taken from
the ruins have been discovered. Mr. Drew, Native Commissioner, is of
opinion that many generations past some powerful Makalanga chief must
have been buried on the hill and that this originated the native awe
for the place, but the natives will not divulge the reason. To reach
the hill Bingura’s path must be taken.

_Chipadzi’s kraal._—This kraal is three miles south from Zimbabwe, and
it may be visited on the same round as Suku Glen, Lumbo Rocks, and
Morgenster. The walk is an interesting one, but there is nothing of
note in the kraal itself, save the view of the Mapudzi Valley which
it overlooks. The Morgenster path must be taken for 1,000 yds. south
of the temple, where a well-defined native path branches off to the
south-east. Later the path descends into a long, narrow valley till
it approaches the kraal. The scenery in this valley is very fine. A
small perennial stream, which at one point disappears under the ground
for a quarter of a mile, flows down the valley, and on either side
of it are palm trees and tree-ferns, each with a trunk some 3 to 8
ft. in height, also large areas covered with the royal fern (_Osmunda
regalis_). Mahobohobo trees are plentiful, and orchids are abundant on
the branches of the larger trees. The kraal comprises about a score
of huts. There is a very grand view towards the east of the Mapudzi
Valley down which flows the Mapudzi, a stream which has its rise on
the east side of the Elliptical Temple. The ravine is at least 200
ft. immediately below the kraal which overlooks it. The two large and
prominent kopjes on the south are Moroma, the nearer one, and Rugutsi.
Morgenster is one mile west on the summit of the high land on that side.

_Mapaku, or “Little Zimbabwe”._—A walk to these ruins is one of the
most interesting in the vicinity of the Zimbabwe. They lie south-east
of Zimbabwe at a distance of less than eight miles, and the path runs
through the romantic scenery of the Beroma Hills and the Motelekwe
Valley. The best way to reach the ruins is through Chenga’s kraal, past
Mandiara’s, which overlooks the lower country on the south side of the
Beroma Range, and past the picturesquely situated kraal of Mapaku,
which is at the foot of a tall cliff a quarter of a mile north-west
of the ruins. The ruins are not extensive (see description of Mapaku
Ruins, chapter xxi.), but are well worth inspection. To return to
Zimbabwe the path may be taken to some large pools in the Motelekwe
River, and from there through Gobele’s kraal near to, and on to,
Chipadzi’s kraal, which is about three miles from Zimbabwe. Making the
round journey as suggested enables the visitor to see native life as it
is lived beyond the ordinary tracks of the white man. The best time of
day to take this walk is to start just before sunrise and arrive at the
ruins before the heat can be felt, and so return to Zimbabwe in good
time for lunch.

_Schlichter Gorge._—This is the ravine a mile to the south-west of
Zimbabwe, down which flows the Mapudzi stream southwards. The walk
in certain parts is somewhat rough, while in the rainy season owing
to swollen tributaries and dense jungles of tall reeds it is almost
inaccessible. To approach it one takes the path down the valley at the
south foot of East Ruins, and directly east of Maund Ruins, and follows
a small stream, the banks of which are shaded by trees and covered
with royal fern. In the dry season there is very little water flowing,
but there are always small pools. The path crosses this stream at its
junction with the Mapudzi, the right bank of which must be taken. Where
the sides of the valley close in the rocky sides of the hills must
be climbed and then descended again. Along the course of the stream,
which is densely wooded at the gorge, and flows between large boulders
causing numerous pretty waterfalls even in the dry season, are some
delightfully shaded pools, round which orchids and palms, and also
ferns of rarer species, are to be found in great quantities. Where the
gorge opens out at its southern end on to a wide valley a steep path,
which leads up to Chipadzi’s kraal, must be taken. From the kraal a
fine view of the gorge is obtained.

_Chicagomboni Hill_ (_Nini district_).—This is where the rediscoverer
of the Great Zimbabwe ruins, Adam Renders, a German-American, lived
from 1868 to 1871. Renders was known to the natives as “Sa-adama,”
and to this day the Makalanga speak well of him, and are particularly
anxious that all Europeans should know that everything which “Sa-adama”
bought from them he always paid for. Mogoma, an old man of exceptional
intelligence, is the native chief in this locality, and knew Renders
intimately, as the latter lived in his village and made it the centre
for his elephant-hunting expeditions, on which Mogoma often accompanied
him. One of Renders’ hunting “boys” still lives in the neighbouring
village of M’Tibi. Elephants in those days were very plentiful,
especially in the Beka and Mali districts. Renders, the natives say,
was a tall, strong man. He first arrived in Mr. Stokes’ wagon. Mr.
Stokes was a well-known preoccupation pioneer whose native name was
“Setokwe.” Mogoma’s kraal has been moved from the hill to the valley on
the south-west side. The chief states he never knew of the waterfall
near Renders’ hut as described by Mr. Philips, and certainly owing to
the formation of the rock it is difficult to see where there could have
been one. In other respects the description of the spot where Renders
lived in the Nini country (R. G. S. Journals, Dec., 1900, and Feb.,
1901) is accurate, save that Chicagomboni is eleven miles south-west of
Zimbabwe. Mogoma has distinct recollections of the visits of Dr. Mauch
and Mr. Philips to Renders about 1871, and states that Cherimbila, the
paramount chief, also visited Renders at this spot. Both Renders and
Dr. Mauch took Mr. Philips to see Zimbabwe, but they did not stay long

After living in Mogoma’s village a little over two years, Renders moved
to Chirimbila’s kraal, a few miles north of Mogoma’s, and lived there
for three years, when he died. He was buried close to the kraal.

The Chicagomboni Hill is at the south-western extremity of the Livouri
Range, and on the west side has a precipitous drop of about 700 ft.
Half-way up the face of the cliffs is a narrow ledge running across
them, and at the northern end of the ledge, and on a raised rock
platform, was Renders’ abode, the remains of which can still be seen.
Mogoma’s old kraal was on this ledge. At the point where was Renders’
hut, the cliff, at a height of 60 ft. above the ledge, protrudes
outwards some 50 ft., thus forming a lofty and gigantic roof over the
place were Renders lived. This is known as _I-Baku_—the cave. There are
some narrow fissures in the face of the cliff which open out on to the
ledge, but not one of these is worthy of the name of cave. In these
Renders stored his trading goods and ivory.



From this point is gained one of the finest and most extensive views
in Rhodesia. It extends over M’Chibi district, the valley of the Tokwe,
the Belingwe Hills, the Selukwe Hills, and the high ground further to
the west and north-west. Three hundred feet directly below is Mogoma’s
new kraal and the adjoining village of Passi. Anyone staying a few days
at Zimbabwe should not miss visiting this spot. The path from Zimbabwe
leads past Motumi’s and Masua’s kraals, ascending all the way. Any of
the “boys” at Mogabe’s kraal would act as guide, but on arrival at
the hill it would be well to send for Mogoma, or one of his headmen,
as this would dispense with the necessity of descending some hundreds
of feet to the valley, in addition to which the approach to the ledge
being hidden among large rocks, it is difficult to reach it without a
local guide.

_A jaunt along the Zimbabwe and Motelekwe ancient road._—One often
wondered along what part of the country on the south or east of
Great Zimbabwe lay the ancient road from the coast to this old-world
metropolitan centre. Several suggestions more or less possible have
been made since the preoccupation days as to the ancient road. That
the ruins at Mapaku (the caves), seven miles distant towards the
south-east, formed one of the posting stations on such a road may be
considered as highly probable. Visitors have generally favoured the
conjecture that the road from Zimbabwe to Mapaku must have passed to
the north of the Beroma Range, which, seen from Zimbabwe, from which it
is two miles distant, forms a continuous granite rampart some 600 ft.
high, four miles long, and about one and a half miles broad, stretching
from north to south. This range appears to present a solid obstacle
to any approach from Zimbabwe. A detour round its north end and along
its eastern base as far as Mapaku would make the distance at least ten
miles. Moreover, on this line the kopjes and valleys have recently
been thoroughly searched for any traces of ancient occupation, and
none have been found. This therefore shows that such suggested route,
had it actually been the ancient road, would have been altogether
undefended for ten miles in an awkward country where the valleys,
gorges, kloofs, and boulders would have provided splendid vantage
points for attacks on the gold- and ivory-laden convoys proceeding from
Zimbabwe to the coast.

Schlichter Gorge, running south at the east end of Zimbabwe Valley, has
also been suggested as the ancient approach to Zimbabwe. Certainly,
viewed from the Acropolis, this would appear to be the only natural
road, but the position of the gorge, as can be seen when visited,
negatives the suggestion. The gorge at its southern end is practically
impassable. It is filled up at several points with solid sections of
cliff which have fallen into it from the steep sides on either hand,
and though the Mapudzi stream finds its way under these obstructions,
the traveller must climb the almost perpendicular sides some seventy to
a hundred feet to descend again beyond the obstructions, and further on
repeat the climbing to pass a further barrier. In this gorge and on the
summit of its cliffs there are no traces of walls to defend the defile,
while an enemy could easily destroy the convoy, for the pass forms a
veritable military trap. The distance from Zimbabwe to Mapaku in this
direction would be at least nine miles.

Thus these two conjectured routes may for many reasons be dismissed
as impracticable. But there remain two other possible routes to be
considered, and both of these pass over the Beroma Range. The first,
the one traversed by Mr. Bent and by all visitors to Mapaku, keeps to
the Motelekwe track past East Kopje (Mazanda) till opposite Chenga’s
kraal, through which the path leads, and up the long trough-like valley
on the Beroma Range, which depression is formed by the two parallel
lines of the summits of the range. On the east line of summit are
two depressions, and visitors are taken by the northern of these past
Mandarali kraal, which is on the edge of the cliff facing east, then
down the side of the range and along its base southwards to Molinije’s
kraal at Mapaku. This line of route makes the distance a little over
seven miles. The local natives say that this path from Zimbabwe to
Mapaku is a very long one. On it a careful search has failed to
discover any traces of ruins.

A well-defined line of route protected at several strategic points
by ruins of buildings indicates, beyond doubt, the actual road of
the ancients. This makes the distance barely six miles, which is the
shortest to Mapaku, and along it runs a much-frequented native track,
used by the numerous long string of “boys” coming up, between the
harvest and the sowing, from the districts of the Lower Motelekwe and
the eastern stretches of the Lundi and Limpopo rivers, to seek work in
the gold district west of Victoria. The ruins protecting this route
form a chain of forts, which occur at intervals of about one mile and
a quarter. On the Zimbabwe-Mapaku section of this route there are the
remains of five substantial and well-constructed ancient buildings.
It is along this section and a further section of the chain of ruins
extending from Zimbabwe to Majerri that the trip here described was

At 3.30 a.m. the six boys to carry blankets, food, cooking utensils,
survey and photographic apparatus, botanical case, insect bottles,
rifle, and a few tools, were waiting ready to start for the Majerri
Ruins in the Motelekwe district, some twenty miles south-east of Great
Zimbabwe. The moon was almost at the full, but would set an hour before
sunrise. This is the best time of day to start on a walking expedition,
as one may then hope to break the back of the distance before the sun’s
heat could be felt. Five boys took up their loads, each about 35 lbs.,
and our guide marched on ahead with the rifle. Our little party passed
down the Motelekwe track till the East Ruins were reached. It was
perfectly light and a greenish-grey mistiness invested the Valley of
Ruins, the Acropolis, and the Elliptical Temple. Walking silently we
passed through the ruins of the dead city to the point where the old
road to the coast leaves Zimbabwe.

At East Ruins the track to the upper reaches of the Motelekwe, and to
Arowi, rounds off at the foot of East Kopje towards the north-east.
Our path took us slightly south of east. But the Beroma Range looked
like a Titanic wall of granite cliff barring our passage in that
direction. “Sheba’s Breasts” (_Sueba_, black; _marsgi_, a corruption of
the word meaning bald-headed), a pair of bare and round-topped hills
on the southern end of the summit of the range, stand clearly against
the greenish sky, and above them the morning star is just appearing.
_Sueba_ is marked on all maps of Rhodesia as “Mount Sheba”; but the
names “Sheba’s Breasts” and “Mount Sheba” are very modern indeed,
dating back only to 1891. This pair of hills can very well be seen
from the Tokwe, where the old Pioneer Road from the Lundi crosses that
river. Evidently some member of the column familiar with Mr. Rider
Haggard’s works, knowing that Great Zimbabwe lay just behind those
hills, bestowed these names upon them, and so they have been known ever

Our path led down a slight valley from East Ruins to the Mapudzi
stream, and here the Beroma was found not to be such an obstacle to
our progress as was at first imagined, for on its west side is a broad
defile leading up to the ledge of land a third way between the base
and summit of the range, and at the top of the defile, and a hundred
yards to the left, is a well-built ruin which guards the approach up
the defile. Chenga’s Ruin, as it is called, occupies a position well
chosen for defensive purpose, and presents several good architectural
and constructive features. Here the coastward-bound convoy would first
realise they had quite left Zimbabwe behind them, and would start
to count the fifteen to twenty days of their tedious and, no doubt,
highly dangerous journey to the sea, which should bear them in their
gold-laden argosies homewards, either to the port of Eudaemon (the
present Aden), or to the _Moscha_ (“harbour”) of Ophir, metropolis of
the ancient Sabæans, or else, if later, to Ezion-Geber, the Jewish and
Phœnician port on the Red Sea during the reign of King Solomon.

Chenga’s Ruin is outside the Zimbabwe ruins’ area, and is the first
posting station on the road to Sofala. In 1540 the Moslem Arab traders
in gold and ivory informed the Portuguese that the journey from Sofala
to Zimbabwe required from fifteen to twenty days (twelve to fifteen
miles a day), so that the later Arabs must have travelled on foot
taking native carriers. They too may have used as caravansaries the
line of ancient forts that stretches from Zimbabwe towards Sofala along
rivers whose valleys form the natural outlet to the coast for the
populations of Southern Rhodesia, for they could thus find admirable
protection at easy intervals for the night, or halt within the walls
built, possibly, by their remote ancestors. So the ancients leaving
Chenga’s Ruin might know they had at least fifteen days of tramping
ahead of them, for no evidence of their employing oxen, horses or
camels, or any wheeled vehicles, has come to light. The journey may
have even been longer, owing to the delays of the slave gangs and
carriers with their burdens of gold and ivory, and to the caution
needed in passing through a land clearly shown by the protecting
forts to have been hostile territory. The weary stretch of the Sabi
Valley lay before them—Sabi, a name which students of Chicaranga and
of other native languages state has no known derivation, and of which
the natives emphatically affirm “It is but a name. It means nothing to
us.” It has therefore been repeatedly conjectured that the name Sabi,
Sabæ, or Saba has a connection with the river with which they must
have been very well acquainted. From scriptural accounts we find that
such duplication of names of places was a practice of the old Semitic
peoples, as in Havilah, the local and pastoral country, and Havilah,
the foreign and mineralised country, in a superlative sense the gold
land, “and the gold of that land is good” (Genesis ii. 12). Instances,
in fact, occur almost everywhere from the remotest time down to the
founding of New South Wales, Nova Scotia, New York, and a hundred other
well-known places.

Chenga’s Ruin was absolutely unknown to white men, as also were the
Beroma Ruins, until quite recently. The local natives repeatedly
denied the existence of any ruins on the Beroma Hills, and this denial
on their part, so authorities on Makalanga customs say, is perfectly
natural and to be expected, for all the ruins of this chain, like so
many others throughout the country, have been used by the Makalanga
up to the present day as burial-places, and being well aware of the
clearing of the Zimbabwe ruins, they feared lest these other ruins,
too, should be explored. But since they have learnt that in the work
at Zimbabwe the graves have been respected, they appear to be less
nervous, and as it is known for many miles round that substantial
rewards will be paid for information as to other and fresh ruins, they
sometimes volunteer their information and offer themselves as guides.
Thus some nine additional ruins have now been discovered and inspected.
But the three ruins on the Beroma Hills which at strategic points guard
our path were found by the author on making a systematic search of all
the hills in the district of Zimbabwe.

From the ledge on the west face of the Beroma Range on which Chenga’s
Ruin is situated the ground rises gently towards a broad depression
in the western crest of the range into a long valley, which runs from
north to south and from end to end of the top of the hills. The path
after passing through the farmstead of David (a native teacher) passes
up the valley southwards for half a mile and then turns east at a
sharp angle towards the most southerly of the two depressions on the
eastern crest. Within a few hundred yards, on the right-hand side of
the path where it turns east, and on a low, rocky knoll, is a second
ruin—Beroma Ruin—which is well-built, and has a rather fine, rounded
entrance. The southern half of this ruin is now reduced to a few
piles of granite blocks. On the south-west side of this ruin is one
of “Sheba’s Breasts,” Marsgi. On the south side of the path is Sueba,
the other “Breast.” Half-way between Beroma Ruin and Sueba, and on
the south side of the path, is a cluster of tall, pillar-like rocks,
which look in the serene moonlight, and at a little distance, like a
cathedral built of white stone. The natives call these rocks Rusinga.
On the left-hand side of the path, on the ridge of the depression on
the eastern line of summits, is a tall column of huge boulders, which,
when seen from the south side, exactly resemble one of the soapstone
birds on beams found by Mr. Bent at Zimbabwe.



On Sueba is another ruin which overlooks the depression, through which
the path runs south-east down the east side of the Beroma Range towards
the Mapaku Ruins, which form the fourth posting station from Zimbabwe.
Climbing Sueba, one can at once see that this line of route, owing to
the topographical structure of the range, is not only the most direct
from Zimbabwe, but the most natural for anyone crossing the Beroma

Just as the path starts on the descent to the Mapaku Ruins the
scenery to the north-east and south, as viewed by moonlight, is truly
magnificent. Towards the north-east the sky-line is formed by the
jagged crest of the romantic Livouri and Inyuni Hills, while the
Moshagashi Valley is wrapped in a mantle of greenish mist, above which
towers the lofty Arowi Peak in solitary grandeur. Here the ancients on
their way to the coast would have their last view of Zimbabwe.

We arrive at Mapaku kraal (_Baku_, “cave”; _Mapaku_, “caves”) just
as the light is sufficient to make the main features of the scenery
perfectly distinct. Here the sub-chief Molinye and his people are
already stirring and squatting round fires in the open. The kraal is
situated at the east base of a cluster of high cliffs, and these cliffs
are full of caves and deep fissures used as passages. The kraal which
formerly occupied these rocky vantage grounds is now removed to level
ground, and built without a fence of any kind. Molinye is a younger
brother of the Mogabe Handisibishe by the same mother, and takes the
name of their father, the Mogabe-Molinye. He is an intelligent man and
very active. He considers himself the custodian of the neighbouring
ruins of Mapaku, and just as his brother at Zimbabwe says to all
visitors, “Here is Zimbabwe. One shilling!” so Molinye’s first remark
to visitors is, “Here are the caves. Two shillings!” or “Here are the
ruins. Two shillings!” Molinye is very proud of the caves, for here his
people successfully defied the Matabele and Amaswazi raids. In these
caves the women, children, cattle and grain were safely hidden, and
the approaches to them could well be defended by two or three men as
against a hundred of the enemy.

Molinye’s tall figure leads the way to the Mapaku Ruins, which since
1891 have been known as “Little Zimbabwe.” Here our breakfast is laid
out in the central enclosure, and Molinye sits enviously watching
the boys eating “bully beef.” Evidently he will not be happy till he
receives a tin, and he is given one. Still he is not content, and urges
the payment of a further two shillings for taking us to the ruins. He
only knows two words of English, and these are “Two shillings,” but
having already paid him one florin, which is more than his due, he
fails to draw a second, and is at last content with a box of matches.
Natives always ask for about ten or twenty times more than they expect
to receive.

The sun is just showing above a long black hill—Ingumaruru—and as
we have ten to twelve miles to cover before we reach Majerri’s, our
journey is taken up afresh. There is another ruin at Mandindindi’s,
lying on our route, but our time will not permit us to visit it on this

From Mapaku the path leads south to the right bank of the Motelekwe,
about a mile and a half away and near Gobele’s kraal, which is from
this point of view backgrounded at some distance by the steep and
rocky Goruma Hill. Here the river is wide, and has, even in the dry
season, large pools many acres in area. The granite rocks in the bed
of the river are pierced with round holes a few feet deep, all of
which have been made by the action of the water. The path then passes
through Gobele’s kraal and down a small defile towards a drift across
the river. This drift is only used by the people of the neighbouring
kraals, and the paths on each side of it are very narrow, while
the crossing is rather tortuous and slippery. From above the drift
we continue on the path south-west to the south end of the Goruma
shoulders at a quarter of a mile distant. We were now at least a mile
and a half from the river, which has turned south-east through some
dark-looking, tall kopjes, and from the higher ground we could see that
the rivers which flow to the Motelekwe form swamps just before reaching
it, and by keeping on the high ground these are avoided and the rivers
are more easily crossed. In fact, by taking this path we cut off an
eastward bend in the Motelekwe, striking it again at a wide, easy, and
natural drift some eight miles farther on.

About a mile from Gobele’s we come to the Meziro, a perennial stream,
300 yds. from which on the east side of the path is the Rumeni Ruin,
built on the slope of a hill. This ruin occupies an area of 111 ft.
from east to west and 63 ft. from north to south. The highest wall is
now only about 6 ft. high. The style of building is peculiar—a large,
well-built, rounded buttress being at the north entrance, and the walls
show both superior and inferior workmanship, while the western side is
formed of arcs of circles end on end. The Meziro flows south and east
of the ruin in the valley below.

Two hundred yards back along the path and about one hundred yards from
it on the west side is an old Makalanga wall with portions of the
wall of an oval enclosure. The structure is of no great age, and is
definitely claimed by the natives as the work of some few generations
past. Its total length is 54 ft., and the area of the enclosure is 16
ft. at its longest parts. Some old Makalanga clay flooring has been
used as building material at different points in the wall.

The journey south, and later south-east, is continued, and the Meziro
and Mazili rivers crossed, while the following kraals are passed in
order—Chinaka’s to the left, Skarduza’s on the right, and Manamuli also
on the right. In front is a very high kopje with almost perpendicular
sides. This is Rushumbi, a noted landmark for many miles round. The
path leads past the south of this hill and up another hill, where is
Marota kraal. This hill, which has a very considerable elevation, is
exceedingly steep on the south side, and there is an extensive view
from the summit down the Motelekwe and Tokwe valleys. Marota was the
largest kraal seen on this journey. Half an hour’s walk from Marota
brought us to a natural drift on the Motelekwe, which here bends
south-south-east. The river-bed at this point is about 200 yds. wide,
and in the dry season is very easy to cross, from sandbank island to
sandbank island and scrambling over large granite rocks with smooth
glassy surfaces. There is no doubt that this is the best drift within
a good many miles either up or down the river, and it lies, as seen in
the distance from Mount Sueba, the eastern “Sheba’s Breast,” exactly in
the natural and unbroken line of country up which is the easiest and
most natural approach to Zimbabwe from the south-east, thus avoiding
bewildering mazes of kopjes and rough country which lie on either side.
The topography of the country clearly points out the ancient route, and
it is along this that our present journey is made. At this drift we
saw a boy of about nine years of age with a skin no darker than that
of an ordinary Spaniard and with almost perfect features. Both parents
were ascertained to be Makalanga.

From the east bank of the drift the path ascends for a distance of
nearly two miles between the drift and the Majerri Ruins, which at
this distance lie half a mile to the south of the path on a line of
kopjes to the south-west of another Mapaku (“the caves”). This Mapaku
must not be confused with the Mapaku we had visited during the small
hours of the day, for wherever there are caves there is a local Mapaku;
hence there are several places of this name within a score of miles
from Zimbabwe. The name of the headman at this Mapaku is Munda, and
on sending to his village, one of his men will act as guide to the
ruins, which are rather difficult to find by anyone unacquainted with
the district. On our way from the drift we passed several very long
game-drive fences and large game pits, and saw two herds of wild pigs
and several large buck.

By three o’clock in the afternoon we had reached the ruins, and a camp
for the night was made in one of the enclosures. Soon afterwards the
boys were busy with hatchets cutting away brush from the sides of the
walls, so that a survey could be made and photographs taken. The ruins
are much larger and better built than we had been led to believe. There
are sixteen enclosures, also a passage 290 ft. long running from end
to end of the ruins. Chevron pattern is on the west face of a very
substantial wall of what appears to have been an important enclosure.
We worked at the measurements till it was dark, when we partook of
our evening meal. The full moon rose a little later and flooded the
ancient building with light, so that further examinations could be
made. The enclosure in which our camp for the night was formed was made
most picturesque with the lights of moon and fire, the walls gleaming
white with the heavy mantle of lichen which covered them. This white
appearance of the walls is a prominent feature in all the ruins of the
Motelekwe chain, most probably accounted for by the mists that usually
hang over the line of the river.

The talking and singing of the boys, the music of their Makalanga
pianos, seemed in perfect harmony with the solemn stillness of the
ruins and of the night. We turned in early, and at five in the morning
we were again busy completing measurements and noting up descriptions
of architectural features and styles of construction. At ten o’clock
the principal parts of the ruins were photographed, and at eleven we
set out on our return to Zimbabwe.

The objective of our next expedition down the Motelekwe Valley will be
another set of ruins still further south-east. There are other ruins
beyond these again, and we hope to be able by such expeditions to
obtain full descriptions, with photographs and plans, of all the ruins
of the Motelekwe chain.

Munda, the headman at Mapaku (Majerri), states that only three white
men have ever seen these ruins, two came together and one alone, but
that these visits were made some years ago. One of the Messrs. Posselts
was of this number.

On this journey we found the women were all decorated with the furrow
pattern on their bare stomachs. The “female breast and furrow pattern”
was on all washing-tubs, drums, granaries, and furnaces, and also on
some doors, and further worked out in clay on the sides of the huts.
Check pattern adorned some of the huts, but mainly the inside walls.
Some very well-built semi-circular walls for screening open fires were
found at some of the villages.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Some of the denizens of the Zimbabwe district._—These are most
numerous in the Elliptical Temple when the size of its area is
considered, for this building abounds in bird, animal, reptile, insect,
and plant life. Protected by high walls all round, it provides an
area free from the disturbing effects of grass fires, sheltered from
cold winds, and full of rank tropical vegetation and jungle. Here the
gorgeous lapis-lazuli and turquoise blue of the jays and the brilliant
scarlet and rich metallic green of the honey-sucker flash brightly in
keen contrast to the white lichened walls. Yellow and grey hornbills,
barn owls and owlets, wagtails, weaver birds, pigeons and doves, and
little birds with yellow, white, red or blue or mottled breasts and
wings, are constantly to be seen in the temple courts. One large barn
owl has its usual perch on a branch near the summit of the Conical
Tower, while “Go-away” birds are incessantly urging us to “Go away!”

Numerous squirrels climb the walls and spring along their summits.
Chameleons, one minute pale green, the next a mottled yellow, grey,
and black, climb with aristocratic movements up the orchid-clad
trunks of trees, pausing at intervals to fold their front paws in a
comic attitude of prayerfulness. Large and small lizards of brilliant
colourings, mainly magenta, Prussian and electric blues, and a
startling orange, bask upon the ancient stones. Puff-adders, grass
snakes, and mambas haunt the place, the latter climbing the highest
trees and ascending steep, smooth sides without any apparent necessity
for picking their way up rough surfaces. Pythons have been seen, and
a python’s nest with about two dozen white leathery eggs, from which
the young had been recently hatched, was found in the centre of the
temple. On commencing work here in May, 1902, scores of cast-off
snake skins of all sizes up to 5 ft. in length were found all about
the temple. Scorpions which hide under the stones suggest to one the
necessity of being careful in sitting down. Centipedes and large
millipedes, snails with white spiral shells from 6 in. to 9 in. long,
frogs, which on wet days persistently urge us to “Work! work!” abound,
while after sundown crowds of large night-moths and bats flutter in
the air. Brilliant butterflies, dragon flies, and fire flies, gigantic
spiders, spiders which make their trap-doors of clay, hornets, bees,
beetles, mosquitoes, and other stinging insects, and those which assume
imitative forms. Tortoise-shells and porcupine quills were found, but
no tortoise or porcupine. The number of skeletons of wild animals
found in the grass was sufficient to suggest thoughts of Noah and his
zoological cargo.

The birds of the Zimbabwe district include quantities of blue jays,
hornbills, honey-birds, honey-suckers, bee-eaters, several sorts of
rollers, crested kingfishers, South African thrushes and babbling
thrushes, shrikes, swifts, swallows, and martins, weaver birds, owls,
corncrakes, night jars, woodpeckers, larks, wagtails, doves, pigeons,
white storks, herons, secretary birds, bush crows, vultures, hawks,
guinea-fowl, sand grouse, quails, and partridges, while paaw (bush
bustard) is sometimes met with.

Two ostriches with black and white feathers once approached within
100 yds. of Havilah Camp. A covey of African grey parrots fled over
the huts going south in the springtime. One bird of the plumage and
shape of an ordinary skylark soars high in the air, remaining in one
position, but instead of singing it flaps its wings loudly for some
minutes together. It is best heard just before sunrise.

During the dry season game animals are not plentiful in this locality,
but when the grass has started to grow after a veld fire they arrive in
fairly good numbers. Reed buck, sable antelope, and springbok have been
within sight of the camp.

Lions for some years past have not been seen at Zimbabwe, though they
are in continuous residence on the Livouri Range, some eight miles to
the west, and also at one or two other places about the same distance
from Zimbabwe. But with the advent of buck they are known to come
within two or three miles of our camp. Their spoor has frequently been
seen on the road between Zimbabwe and Victoria, and they have recently
killed donkeys within five miles of Zimbabwe. On one occasion only
have we heard lions roaring, and they must have been almost two miles
away. Jackals are a nuisance, and come to the camp for poultry. Large
leopards have been shot in the neighbourhood during the author’s stay
at Zimbabwe.

Natives state that within their time herds of tusker elephants have
been wont to frequent the Zimbabwe Valley, and they point out certain
trees which have been damaged by them. The elephants have now gone
south-east. The traces of two ivory trading stations of the late
sixties are still to be seen at Zimbabwe.

Eagles soar above Zimbabwe Hill and the topmost line of cliffs. Two
eaglets fallen from the nest were found in the Acropolis ruins, one
each spring. One died of its injuries, and the other lived for two
months at our camp. The boys were fond of feeding “the big chicken,”
and it eventually died in consequence of its gluttony. Hawks abound on
the hill, and there are also kites and owls. Large black crows with a
white patch on the back of the neck, and with vulture-shaped beak, also
crows with white breast and wing tips, but with a raven-shaped beak,
are constantly flying round the hill. Here are also wild tebie cats and
tiger cats, ant-bears, conies, squirrels, and at least five species of
large baboons. The constant parading of the latter to and fro on the
summit has formed a well-beaten track. These creatures bark and cry—the
crying is exactly like that of a human being. Toward noon they usually
descend to the valley and romp about on the open granite spaces. So
destructive are these particular baboons that the local Makalanga have
been obliged to abandon their gardens on the south side of the hill.
Their spoor has been frequently found within our camp. The reptiles
here are large pythons, mambas, iguanas, and lizards of all colours.

The plant life found in the temple was very rich and diversified, and
each specimen was of larger growth and bloom than those of the same
species growing outside the walls. Here are many sorts of elegant
ferns, but mostly small, including maiden-hair fern, also the ordinary
bracken. Stag’s-horn moss and plants of carnose foliage grow in
the joints of the walls. Beds of scarlet cannæ, Cape gooseberries,
raspberries, crimson and mauve gladioli, convolvuli, large and small,
white, purple, yellow, and mauve, verbenas, heliotrope, azaleas, also
a flower exactly like the daffodil, and arums or St. John’s lilies,
flags, mauve-flowered peas, a blue flower like borage, and blue and
yellow ground orchids, covered the surface of the interior. Nettles
and nettle trees, stinging plants, and thorns of all sorts formed
prominent features in the vegetation of the temple. The trees within
the walls were numerous, and included varieties of hard and soft
woods. Some were of gigantic girth and height, rising to 60 ft. Wild
fig-trees and evergreen hardwoods predominate. The “Zimbabwe creeper,”
a climbing plant peculiarly local, is a great feature in all the ruins
at Zimbabwe, and so far has not been found elsewhere in Rhodesia.
This creeper resembles jessamine in leaf and stalk, only it has light
pink, bell-shaped pendent flowers growing in clusters at the end of
each spray, these being about the shape and size of a foxglove flower.
Orchids with yellow flowers grow on the trees, from which are also
suspended lichen festoons some 3 ft. long. The monkey-rope trees once
interlaced the tops of the trees with their runners and created a
semi-darkness in the temple even at brightest noontide.

On the hill tobacco, once cultivated here by the natives, now grows
wild. Large beds of scarlet cannæ, Cape gooseberries, hemlocks, and
blackjacks are seen in most parts of the hill, while every flower of
the veld is represented. Monkey-ropes, wild vines, wild orange, fig,
nut, greengage, currant, and raspberry flourish here. The kafir-baum,
which flowers profusely when leafless early in the spring, and abounds
at Zimbabwe, provides a striking contrast of brilliant scarlet to the
grey granite cliffs in front of which it flourishes. The flat-topped
umbrella trees (_mimosa_) impart an odd effect to the hill. The
Zimbabwe creeper grows very extensively on the north and west sides
of the hill. Cacti, euphorbia, and liliums, also bulbous plants, are
multifarious, while tall aloes give an old-world appearance to the hill.

Palms with fronds 10 ft. long, tree-ferns 8 ft. high, and large
areas of _Osmunda regalis_ (royal fern) are to be seen in most of
the glens and gorges of this locality. The blue lotus lily (_Nymphæa
stellata_) grows in most pools of water, while the yellow everlasting
flower (_Helipterum incanum_) is plentiful, and the bright red
sealing-wax-coloured flower (_Erythrina kaffra_) shots the veld grass
as daisies do an English meadow. The sugar bush (_Protea mellifera_)
though present is not found in quantity. Bamboos grow in the
neighbourhood, also sugar-cane, and wild cotton. The mahobohobo is not
indigenous to the country, but is the most usual tree found here. Its
area covers many square miles of this district. Like the wild fig, the
mahobohobo fruit ripens in the spring only.

                               CHAPTER V

                           ZIMBABWE NATIVES

                         1. NATIVES AND RUINS

It may easily be imagined that researches as to the origin of the ruins
cannot be furthered by inquiries instituted among the present native
peoples as to any history or tradition concerning these structures.
The chief value, however, of such inquiries is that they enable us to
realise in what conditions both the ruins and the district have existed
during the last few centuries. But such inquiries only take us back
to a period of two hundred years short of that time when Portuguese
writers referred to these buildings.

The migratory character of the South African natives is well known.
Not only whole nations move, but the tribes among themselves move
also, thus making it exceedingly difficult to trace their migrations
except for a few generations back. The Portuguese historians of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries referred to the Makalanga nation as
occupying this country with their centre at “the Great Zimbabwe,” where
resided the Monomotapa, or supreme chief, and where was “the mightie
wall of five and twenty spans thick.” Three hundred years after this
was written we find a dense population of Makalanga (“the People of
the Sun”) still occupying Southern Mashonaland and forming the great
bulk of its inhabitants.[27] In this respect, though their various
tribes have frequently changed localities, the Makalanga as a general
rule have not followed the migratory custom of South African peoples.
Makalanga are to be found in both Matabeleland and Mashonaland, but
mainly in the latter province, where the Chicaranga language, which Dos
Santos in 1602 described as “the best and most polished of all Kafir
languages which I have seen in this Ethiopia,” is still the language
of the nation. Makalanga are also to be found in Barotseland, whither
the Barotse[28] and their dependents the Makalanga migrated, in 1836–8,
just previously to, and at the time of, the Matabele invasion of what
is now known as Matabeleland.



But for nearly four hundred years the historical relations and the
very existence of the Makalanga and their history were forgotten. From
being a powerful and semi-civilised people (see _The Ancient Ruins of
Rhodesia_, chapter x.) they have become a people of no account—mere
“Makalaka,” as the people of the present Bechuanaland scornfully
called them in reference to their present slavish position. To their
successive conquerors they have always been but “dogs of slaves.”

So far as the purely local natives are concerned, the following notes,
based upon a series of conferences of the oldest native authorities
held at Zimbabwe during 1902 and 1903, at which Mr. Alfred Drew,
Native Commissioner, the Rev. A. A. Louw, Dutch Reformed Mission
near Zimbabwe, and Dr. Helm, Medical Missionary, and other admitted
authorities on native language and customs, have taken part, will
explain the local occupations for almost if not more than one hundred
and fifty years. The local Makalanga, Barotse, and Amangwa are
agreed upon the correctness of the statements here recorded, and the
information so obtained has also been verified by the above-named
gentlemen in other quarters.

(_a_) In this portion of Southern Mashonaland the Makalanga have
formed, since long before 1570, the greatest portion of the population,
especially in the Zimbabwe district. This is both history and also
well-rooted tradition among the natives, going back for very many

(_b_) The Makalanga have been subject to several successive conquerors,
of whom the Barotse in Mashonaland and the Matabele in Matabeleland
were the last. They have only very indistinct traditions as to their
previous conquerors.

(_c_) The Barotse occupied both provinces, establishing central
strongholds in all districts. They collected tribute from the
Makalanga, and this was taken every year from all the centres to the
_Mambo_ or _Mamba_, the dynastic chief, for the time being, of the
Barotse. And these Mambos resided at Thabas Imamba. Both Makalanga
and Barotse were, and still are, most excellent builders with stones.
[Mr. Drew minutely cross-examined the natives with regard to the
situation or identity of Thabas Imamba]. This is the fixed belief of
every Barotse who is questioned on the subject, and the old men say
it is also within their own knowledge. Before this fresh evidence
was obtained, the authors of _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ had
published a similar statement on the strength of evidences secured in
Matabeleland. Mr. Neal also stated that no ruin in Rhodesia showed more
evidences of extensive and prolonged occupation than did the ruins on
Thabas Imamba.

(_d_) Jerri’s people (Barotse) never lived at or near Zimbabwe, as
white men had believed they had, but they left what they called “The
Great Buildings of Stone” (Khami) west of where Bulawayo now stands
in 1836–7, and moved to Jerri Mountains, seventy miles south of
Zimbabwe. They left Khami immediately before the Matabele arrived.
On passing through Zimbabwe they encamped for one night only on a
hill one mile west of the ruins. There are many old men who remember
these circumstances, while the general local belief is that Jerri’s
people lived at Khami Ruins, which are well known to the natives here.
[It has always been contended that this tribe of Barotse resided at
Khami for very many generations, but there are very many evidences in
support of this established belief, which are now in hand, and are now

(_e_) The head kraal of the Zimbabwe Barotse was at the foot of the
south-east side of the Rusivanga Kopje, and not on the summit, where
the walls and the remains of very substantial huts are old Makalanga.
The Barotse also had a large kraal on the north-east side of the
Bentberg overlooking the Elliptical Temple. [The present Barotse
headmen claim the pottery in the débris at these places as having
been made by their people some four or five generations back, if not

(_f_) The Zimbabwe Makalanga did not reside in the ruins, as this in
later generations was opposed to their traditions, but they used the
ruins up to ten years ago as cattle kraals and places for carrying on
their copper and iron-smelting operations, for offering sacrifices,
and for burial-places. Once they occupied them as residences, but
possibly the fear of the ruins at night caused them to desert them as
residences, probably owing to the increased number of graves which they
contained. The Barotse did not appear to have been inspired by this
fear, for they have occupied ruins all over the country.

All the remains of native huts and many of the native articles found
in the ruins must be at least six generations old, if not much older.
When the present Mogabe Handisibishe took up his residence on the
north side of Zimbabwe Hill, in the ruins of the Acropolis, there had
been no Makalanga occupations for many generations previously. All
the remains of Makalanga huts found on the Acropolis, and round the
faces of the hill, and outside the area occupied by Mogabe’s kraal,
belong to Makalanga, who had ceased to occupy them for very many years
previously. When Mogabe arrived these remains were considered by his
people to be exceedingly old.

(_g_) The present Zimbabwe Makalanga originally came from Masungye, in
the direction of the Lower Sabi. Mogabe is the dynastic title of each
succeeding chief of this tribe. The Mogabe-Molinye moved to Jena and
finally to the Beroma country, in the neighbourhood of Zimbabwe. The
succeeding Mogabe, a son of Molinye, moved up from Beroma to Mangwa
(Morgenster), four miles south of Zimbabwe, from which place he drove
out the Amangwa people, who occupied the Zimbabwe district and the
country for a considerable distance round about. The next Mogabe,
Chipfuno, a son of the previous Mogabe, settled at Wuwuli, five miles
south of Zimbabwe, and later his younger brother, Handisibishe, the
present Mogabe, succeeded Chipfuno in the dynastic rule. Handisibishe
is seventy years of age, but Chipfuno was much older.

The connection between the present Zimbabwe Makalanga and the Zimbabwe
ruins only dates back authoritatively for some sixty or seventy years,
but their opinion as to the age of the native remains at the ruins, as
found by them when they arrived, added to a similar account based on
the longer residence of the Barotse and Amangwa, and on their history
and traditions, enables investigations to be carried back at least
eight generations.

(_h_) The oldest known natives who have resided at Zimbabwe are the
Amangwa, who were driven out by Mogabe Handisibishe. These were
originally a tribe of pure Makalanga, but by marriage with their
erstwhile over-lords, the local Barotse, many of their people have
acquired some of the distinctive features of the Barotse, while a large
proportion are still in every respect true Makalanga. These people now
reside in Nini district, eight miles south-west of Zimbabwe, their
nearest kraal being Bingura’s, which is two miles distant. They can
speak with regard to the state of the ruins as they were conditioned
some generations ago. They state they never occupied the Acropolis
ruins except when Amaswazi raiding parties were in the district,
and then only as a temporary refuge, and that many large walls have
completely fallen down. The Amangwa were once a numerous and powerful
people. Their kraals were built in the valleys, close to the ruins and
on the nearest kopjes.


[Illustration: MOTUMI MONGWAINE ]

Mogabe Handisibishe took advantage of a famine in the Zimbabwe district
when he attacked them, and perpetrated great cruelties on their women
in order to make them divulge where the relics from the ruins were
hidden, but the Amangwa did not yield on this point. It is curious
that so many relics of prehistoric value have been found in the Nini
district where the Amangwa now reside. The wooden bowl, carved with the
zodiacal signs, the soapstone cylinder, etc., were discovered in Nini,
and the best native authorities affirm that the Amangwa still have
relics in their possession.

(_i_) The correct name for Zimbabwe is _Zim-b[=a]b-[=gw]i_, meaning
“buildings or houses of stones.” The natives never apply the name
_Zim-bab-gwi_ to the Elliptical Temple, but always speak of it as
_Rusingu_, “the wall.” _Zim-bab-gwi_ is only applied to the ruins on
the hill.

(_j_) The natives have no recollection or tradition with regard to the
Monomotapas, the dynastic chiefs of the mediæval Makalanga who resided
at Zimbabwe.

(_k_) Barotse, Amangwa, and Makalanga have built walls in and near the
ruins. They state that their ancestors used to construct excellent
walls. [Mr. Drew, N.C., is of opinion that the Barotse now build better
walls than do the present Makalanga. The Makalanga were always famous
as good builders with stone.]

(_l_) The natives show little or no interest as to the original
builders of the ruins. Some will say they were built by white men for
prisons, others will affirm the ancestors of their tribe built them.
Some tribes make definite claims to have built them, but Mr. Drew
considers these claims to be only poetic expressions conveying the idea
that such tribes had lived for so very many generations in the ruins
that they knew of no occupiers before them, and so imagine that their
ancestors must have built them. Of course, their claims to have built
minor walls within the ruins are, in many instances, obviously well

(_m_) The natives assert, when pressed as to who removed the relics
from the ruins, that large birds came out of the sky, took them, and
carried them into the heavens.

(_n_) “Fuko-ya-Nebandge”—the Mashonaland relic—possesses an unique
history and a weird romance, and is also of great intrinsic value
for such in Rhodesia as revel in researches into the history of past
occupiers of this country. The image is made of pottery, and is
hollow, the head (which has not been discovered) forming the stopper.
It was discovered by Mr. Harry Posselt in a cave near Zimbabwe. It
stands 11 in. high, and is about 16 in. long, and is marked with
geometric exactness with zebra stripes all over its body. The pot is
black, but the stripes are of a dull red colour. The name of it is
“Fuko-ya-Nebandge” (“the king’s favourite adviser”), and for at least
some generations of Makalanga it has exercised a potent magic spell
over the minds of the natives. It has now been secured for the museum
at Bulawayo.

The following is Mr. Posselt’s account of its discovery:—

In 1891 he was encamped at Fern Spruit, south of Victoria, near which
point are some hills. His Mashona boy informed him that among these
hills could be heard by anyone going near them the sound of cattle
bellowing, girls talking and singing, and that up on the hills was
a pot full of beads, but the local natives were too much afraid of
venturing up there in search of the pot, as it would mean certain
death. He did not ascend the hills, but his drivers and leaders went
up, but heard and saw nothing unusual. Until 1899 he had quite
forgotten the incident, but in August of 1900 he happened to be near
these particular hills collecting labour for the Chamber of Mines, and
conversed with a chief living there. He asked the chief the native
name of the hills, and the chief told him about the pot containing the
beads. He further told him that long ago a native went out hunting
on the hills, and found the pot with the beads in. The chief’s story
was to the effect that the native seeing the pot wanted to take the
beads out, and putting his hand into the pot, the pot got hold of his
hands and he could not shake it off, and he was obliged to carry the
pot poised on his head with his hand still fixed inside it. When he
arrived at the kraal his people prevented him entering it, as he might
bring evil upon the tribe. He was consequently compelled to encamp on a
stream near the kraal until his hand dropped off. He was fed secretly
by some of his people. After his death, instead of being buried in the
usual way, they pushed him with long sticks into a cave.

The pot was left there for some considerable time afterwards, and it
was eventually discovered in another cave in the same hills, and was
regarded, and still is to this day, by the natives as a mystery, and
held in awe by them, and their belief was that if anyone approached the
cave he would die. If the pot changed its colours to dark red it meant
certain death.

After he had secured the pot the natives came from near and far to
see it. One old native then told him of another pot, made like a mare
zebra, and that the “female pot” contained beads that glittered, and
that the pot in his (Mr. Posselt’s) possession was the “male pot.” The
native was ignorant of what gold was. The two pots, so he stated, used
to travel by themselves from their cave to Fulachama, a distance of
eight miles, to obtain water from the stream where they drank, coming
and going so often as to make a path. This Kafir asked where the
“female pot” was, well knowing Mr. Posselt had not found it.

After his discovery he went to a chief who lives close by to where the
pot was found. This chief used to live in Zimbabwe. He said that the
chief who now lives in Zimbabwe was an enemy of his, and had supplanted
him, and that he had all the relics. To compel him to disclose the
place where the relics were hidden he resorted to torture, cutting off
women’s breasts and putting nose reims through men’s noses. Before
the ex-Zimbabwe chief was expelled from Zimbabwe he was in the habit
of offering up sacrifices of black oxen, and on each occasion used to
collect and display relics taken from the ruins. These consisted of
“yellow metal with sharp points” brought down from the top ruin, also a
yellow stick about 3 ft. 6 in. long with a knob on it, also a bowl or
dish, by information most probably of silver. The stick is now stated
to be in the possession of the chief.

                      2. LOCAL NATIVES (GENERAL)

The Zimbabwe district is very thickly populated by Makalanga. These
formerly lived in natural strongholds on the summits of rocky kopjes
difficult of approach, but now in almost every instance they have
removed their kraals from their almost inaccessible eyries, and have
built their villages on open country, without erecting any fences
whatsoever for their protection. Thus, locally, Mogabe has left his
hill fortress and caves, Baranazimba his strongly defended rocks, Lumbo
his rock-pillar, and now these three kraals, as in many scores of
other instances, are built in open country in absolutely indefensible
positions, with no post, rail, or thornbush to bar approach. At night
one can pass through almost any village unchallenged save by a Kafir
dog. Large stores of corn are in their granaries. Their belongings
are strewn about outside their huts, and everything is open to
the spoiler. But the inhabitants sleep soundly, assured and content,
because they recognise they are safe under the rule of a civilised



Slightly more than a decade since all was most terribly different.
Tribe fought with tribe and village with village. Repeated Amaswazi
and Matabele raids “wiped out” without warning and without mercy whole
populations, capturing slaves, seizing the women, and killing, as was
their practice, the old people and children. None dared to stir from
his rocky fastness to cultivate his little patch of ground. Little
wonder is it that the spirit of these people was broken.

To-day these Makalanga, who are essentially an agricultural race, have
covered the erstwhile devastated country with their plantations, and
converted these parts into the “Granary of Rhodesia,” and the leading
grain-producing district of this part of Mashonaland. Standing on
Zimbabwe Hill either at sunrise or sunset, one sees scattered over the
open country scores of columns of smoke rising from the villages, each
with its large area where the Makalanga work in absolute security,
and one is forced to realise that untold benefit has undoubtedly been
conferred upon the natives by the British occupation.

The Makalanga of Zimbabwe district are considered to be, in
intellectual and physical qualifications, above many of their tribes
elsewhere. In some respects they are marvellously intelligent and quick
to perceive, shrewd, calculating, and clever, while in others they are
astonishingly dull, so that it is almost impossible to get them to
understand the simplest matter. They certainly evince far more feeling
and sensitiveness, are more amenable to direction, and readier and more
anxious to work, and are more honest and reliable than the average
Matabele. Physically, they are as a whole somewhat shorter in height,
are less robust, and have not the weight and strength of the Matabele,
but their vigour and agility give them the greater advantage. Yet there
are very many Makalanga in this district equal to any Matabele in
height, strength, form, and endurance.

More than the French nation among Europeans, the Makalanga are
distinguished for their taste, tact, and courtesy among the Kafir races
of South-East Africa, only in their case the graceful movement, kingly
walk, politeness, neatness, rhythm of speech, and poetic expression,
are not the outcome of study, but are perfectly natural qualities bred
in the race.

The contact of these people for many generations with the Portuguese
is shown in their speech. This is a feature noticeable in all native
tribes in Mashonaland, which were at any time located in or near
Portuguese territory. As stated below, Mogabe’s people originally came
from the direction of the border. The terminations of some of their
words are as distinctly Portuguese as one may hear at Lisbon or Oporto.
Their connection with the Portuguese caused them to follow the rule
common to that and some other Latin nations, viz. the interchange of
_R_ and _L_. _Selukwe_ thus becomes _Serukwe_, _Belingwe Beringwe_,
_Bulawayo Burawayo_, while in almost every word used by their people
further west containing _L_ the latter is substituted for _R_. Locally
they call themselves Mokaranga (_mo_ is a Chicaranga plural prefix),
“the people of the sun.” The Portuguese writers, De Barros (1552), Dos
Santos (1570), and Livio Sanuto (1588), give their name as _Mocaranga_.
_Makalaka_, the name of derision bestowed upon them by the tribes in
Bechuanaland, is known to them, but is never used by them, nor is
_M’Holi_ (slaves), a title which some of the more degenerate Makalangas
in Matabeleland have adopted as their personal and tribal name.

The _totem_ or distinguishing sign of the local tribe of Makalanga is
_moyo_, the heart. Each tribe has its own totem, which may be the leg
of a certain buck or some particular bird. Should a bird or an animal
be the totem the tribe bearing that sign do not eat of the flesh of
such bird or animal, nor will they kill them. A man of one totem must
not marry a wife of a tribe bearing the same totem, but must seek one
of a tribe of Makalanga having another totem. Thus, as they affirm,
“Heart must not marry Heart, nor Lion marry Lion.” This rule enforced
through past ages has no doubt tended to maintain and improve their
physical condition, and accounts for their fine figures, splendid
health and general freedom from illnesses, and the almost utter absence
of deformity and lunacy. A tribe of the Baduma people also bears the
totem of the heart. The sub-tribal totem of the local Barotse[29] is
the lion. The lion, which is also the totem of the local Amangwa, only
includes rapacious animals, such as wild cats, wild dogs, etc. Certain
families in the same tribe or kraal have distinguishing signs, or what
may be termed sub-totems. The totem system also prevailed amongst the
early Semitic peoples prior to biblical times, and was later a feature
of Hebrew history; for instance, “The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” The
totem of the Ephraimites was a bull.

In addition to the animal or bird that may constitute the totem
there are other animals and birds which they venerate, and will not
kill, eat, or touch. The slaying of such creatures is regarded as a
crime against the whole of the tribe. The spirits of dead ancestors,
relatives, and chiefs are supposed to reside in such birds and animals.
The principal bird of local reverence is the _Harahurusei_ (Bird of
God), which is the _chapungo_, a large and beautiful bird, quite black
except its tail, which is red. The peculiarity of this bird is that
it soars overhead exactly as does a bird of prey. The natives assert
that the nest, eggs, or feathers of this bird have never been found
by anyone, nor do they know on what food it lives. A native will not
proceed on a journey if the chapungo appears in the air or settles on
the ground in front of him, but will at once return home. Natives hail
the bird and ask it for favours.

The local natives will not eat the following: Common grey hawk, black
crow, owl, wolf, crocodile, snake, or wild dog. Some will not eat hippo
or eland flesh. They will not kill the chapungo, owl, wild dog, heron,
and certain small birds. But while these are the general practices of
local Makalanga tribes, certain families in different tribes frequently
have additional and special objects of veneration, and any one native
may have some particular object for his own personal veneration. The
tribal custom with regard to not partaking of the flesh of certain
birds and animals is very strictly adhered to, even though natives
starve. To touch such, living or dead, is a defilement, and the remains
can only be moved by using sticks.

Of insects, they eat locusts, two kinds of cricket (_mashu_ and
_zukumge_), a caterpillar (_masonya_), a worm called _mambene_, and
different kinds of ants, including _shua_ and _madjuro_, but especially
flying-ants. All these insects they consider dainties, and cook them in
the soup-pot into which they dip each handful of _rapoka_ porridge. The
soup is made of fat, ground monkey-nuts, and many other ingredients.

The natives are known to draw certain star-pictures in the sky; for
instance, Orion is made out to be “two pigs and a dog.” The three stars
in the Belt form one of the principal subjects of children’s songs.
They, of course, know the Morning and Evening Star, while the Pleiades
in their rising and setting mark the sowing and reaping seasons.
They evidently only see six stars in the latter, as they call them
_Tshimtanatu_, which means anything containing six.

They believe the sun returns across the sky at night when everyone is
sleeping, and that it travels from west to east ready to start over
again at daybreak, but high up in the expanse of the heavens and hidden
from sight by unseen clouds. They ridicule the idea of the earth being

Eclipses of the sun or moon foretell war or some other great calamity.
They most usually say of them that the sun or moon is “rotten,”
frequently that they are “sick.”

They generally believe that each moon dies, and that every new moon
is _new_ in the strict sense of the word. Some, however, think that
it does not die altogether, but leaves a seed or germ, which in turn
grows big and then small until only the seed is left. The rising and
setting of the Pleiades, the new and full moon, are occasions of great
rejoicings, dancing, and beer-drinking.

Sacrifices are still made by local natives. Formerly a large number
of black oxen were killed at one sacrifice, but since the scourge of
rinderpest visited Rhodesia goats have been substituted. The last
sacrifice at Zimbabwe took place in February, 1904. The local natives
sacrificed in the Elliptical Temple, but they have no settled point
within the temple where they hold these ceremonies. The sacrifice was
conducted during the prolonged drought then prevailing. The natives
kept the ceremony private until after it was over, and the rain had

Makalanga of several tribes from near and far used to come to the
Elliptical Temple for sacrifices, and these were offered up within the
walls, but at different spots inside; while on several occasions the
ceremony took place just outside the walls. Once every village had
its own ceremony, and these took place in January, black bulls being
offered for males and black cows for females.

The sacrifices now made are to the spirits of departed chiefs, and are
offered on the suggestion of witch-doctors, who receive fees for their
advice, and who, to make money, declare that the spirit of some dead
chief or relative is angry and must be appeased. Some portion of the
meat was taken to the spot supposed to be haunted by the spirit, and
the rest is eaten by those present, the bones being sometimes burnt or
thrown into a river; but recently they have been left about the spot.
Sacrifices were usually offered to secure success in any venture to be
undertaken, or to obtain good harvests. Till recently they practised a
similar rite to that known in Mosaic times, and in this instance also
the animal was not killed, but was led out on to the veld and purposely
lost. If found it was not killed. The natives are aware that this rite
was once observed by their people, but state it is not practised now.

The Makalanga undoubtedly believe in the immortality of the soul, but
they have very vague ideas as to a future life beyond a thorough faith
in the transmigration of souls. They do not conceive the existence of
a Creator or Supreme Being, their highest conception being _M’uali_, a
spirit, who can make their crops a failure and their herds sick, and
to this spirit they offer sacrifices. The _M’uali_, judging by native
account, is not in any way an ennobling spirit, and they are constantly
in dread of him. The witch-doctors in order to acquire wealth for
themselves interpret the wishes of the _M’uali_ in the light of their
own purposes and interests.

With regard to burials the customs, even among the Makalanga, vary
considerably. In some instances the bodies are laid lengthwise and on
the left side facing the north. This seems to have been the original
custom of these people, but it is not now a general one. Burial in
a sitting position is very commonly met with. On the Acropolis,
during the preservation work (1902–3), about fifty Makalanga graves
were found, and the remains in a score of instances were removed.
Practically all were in a sitting position, only three having been
buried lengthways. These were discovered in entrances and passages, the
bodies having been laid on the surface, soil and stones, taken from the
nearest wall, placed round and over them. None of these were very old,
and most were Mogabe’s people. Their bark hunting-nets, assegais, pots,
and other personal belongings, were placed on the top of the grave, and
not inside with the corpse.

The Baduma, who live in Gutu’s country, and also the Barotse, still
embalm or, rather, dry the bodies of their chiefs, and also the dead
of certain families, though generally the bodies are buried lengthways
on their right side, facing the sun. The body is placed in the hut
on a bier made of poles near a large fire, and continually turned,
any blisters which may appear being carefully broken, until the body
is dry. Then it is wrapped up in a blanket and hung from the roof.
Annual sacrifices are made to the spirits, and the bodies are regularly
visited and kept in order by a person appointed for that work. The
rain-makers, who live on the Sabi, also dry their dead.

The manufactures of the Makalanga are fast declining. In very rare
instances may be found villages where bark and cotton are still woven.
Limbo from the stores is so cheap and attractive looking that it has
practically driven out the local article, and the clay whorls used in
spinning cotton are now discarded. Their once famous iron and copper
smelting industries almost disappeared on the advent of cheap and
substantial tools. At one time every village had its blacksmith and
its furnaces and forges, but during the last few years iron-working
has become far less general. Derembghe, near Mr. Nolan’s farm, in the
Victoria district, is the only representative of the old industry.
Pottery is still made, but at Chikwanda, near Arowi and east of
Zimbabwe, the people make pottery of a superior quality. This is also
the case at Mazuwa’s, in Nini district.

The people are essentially a race of agriculturists and cattle
breeders, and dislike working in mines. Though they are most
industrious in their own plantations, yet they will not work for a
white man for more than a month or two in a year, preferring to spend
the rest of the year in absolute idleness. Many are adepts in brass or
copper wire-work, with which they adorn their sticks and weapons. They
are also very skilful in wood-carving, basket-making, and in tanning
and preparing skins.

The Makalanga of this district are certainly above the average
type of natives in the possession of both intellectual and physical
qualifications. Light skins, Semitic noses, fine features, with an
absence of high cheek-bones, small, well-shaped hands—are frequent
features met with among them. The men, who wear but insignificant
aprons, are well proportioned, are as straight as an arrow, and have
athletic figures. Large turquoise-blue beads of glass form the neck
ornament of men, women, and children in this district, and these
contrast effectively with the colour and polish of their skins. Both
men and women frequently wear a narrow band of pink and white beads
round their heads. Brass bangles are worn on wrists, arms, legs, and
ankles, the women and girls wearing these in great profusion.

Women are bare to the low hips, and wear a short skin skirt reaching
almost to the knees. This is most generally adorned with chevron
pattern of pink and white beads. Their stomachs are covered with two
sets of lines worked into the flesh, one set under each breast. This
pattern is very general here, and is identical with the “breast and
furrow” pattern found not only on the fronts of the clay furnaces,
pillows, drums, and granaries, but on the ancient relics and sacred
emblems (phalli) discovered in the ruins. Bent and other writers
believe that these flesh-markings are a survival of the occult idea
of Fertility. There are generally about thirty rows of these lines or
cicatrices, and their regularity is most surprising.

The men are practically bare-skinned, and have their waists, shoulders,
and sometimes each side of their foreheads, marked with a row of bars
in threes, thus: /|\ /|\, and these closely resemble the sign of Light
as seen in the Welsh bardic symbol. These, many natives state, are luck
signs, and they would not be without them, for with them on their skin
they believe they shall always be healthy and strong and have many
wives and children. Other natives state that the flesh-markings on the
men’s bodies are but ornaments to attract the attentions of women,
while others assert they only bear the marks because it is a custom.
Each male has a forelock, some of these being erect and others pendent,
the latter being usually threaded with pink and white beads. These
often reach below the eyes. They are very proud of their forelocks, and
will spend most of their spare time in trying to pull them out longer.


Witchcraft still possesses a tremendous influence over the native mind,
although the practice of it is punished by imprisonment, but it is most
difficult to obtain evidences in most cases of offence. Before the
country was occupied by the British the witch-doctors practically ruled
the people, and their influence in many known instances was greater
than that of dynastic chiefs. The inclination of the people is to
revert to the old practices, and fear of punishment alone prevents them
doing so. There is no doubt that some of the infanticides and murders
happening to-day are the results of witch-doctors’ machinations.

Though every native appears to have a good idea of medicine and of
the uses of certain herbs and roots, and to be able to cure simple
complaints, yet the remedies for more serious matters are in the
hands of the medicine-men, who keep all such knowledge to their own

A rain-maker for a large present would, until recently, kill a child of
one of his many wives, and as long as the mother mourned for her child
the rain was supposed to continue.

The Makalanga undoubtedly possess a keener appreciation of music
and singing than many of the other native races in this part of the
continent. When at work, digging, hoeing, or threshing, they sing
continually, and in one morning they will spontaneously render fully a
dozen different songs and a large number of extempore recitatives and
choruses interspersed, also a few part-songs and catches. They sing
going to and returning from labour, and always sing at their work, and
when they cease singing one may be certain they are idling. There is
far greater harmony and variety of music produced from their pianos,
and their songs are brighter and more spirited, than any music or song
a Matabele can evolve, and the dreary monotonous chant of the latter
is almost entirely absent. The subjects of their songs are numerous,
and comprise many items which only a people who live face to face
with Nature could sing without offending the decencies as regarded by
civilised people, and in these songs the smallest child most lustily
joins. They will sing impromptu songs having reference to the tools
they happen to be using, or to anything they may chance to see. The
Native Commissioner is a great subject of their songs. They have
war-songs, lullabies, songs to the bride, to the child just able to
walk, to the new moon, to the butter they are making, besides a number
of children’s songs.

They also have a large number of proverbs which somewhat resemble those
employed at Home, thus:—

        _Translation._                   _English Equivalent._

  “The grass which is in the belly   “A bird in the hand is worth
  of the wild ox is his own; that     two in the bush.”
  which is in his mouth he might
  die with.”

  “Difficulty makes a plan.”         “Necessity is the mother of

  “Water spilt cannot be gathered    “No use crying over spilt milk.”

  “He is strong at the dish”;        “He is a good trencherman.”
  said of one who does not work,
  but knows well how to eat.

  “Comes out with holes in his       “Escaped by the skin of his
  skins (garments).”                  teeth.”

  “A tame dog is the one that        “Do not trust one who looks
  eats at the skins.”                 very innocent.”

  “Who has thrown out my basket      “Who has meddled with my
  of seed?”                           affairs?”

  “The short hare cannot eat the     “Don’t attempt things too high
  tall grass.”                        for you.”

The natives can make fire (_sika_) very easily. The woods usually
selected for this purpose are _Zumbani_ and _Bg̊ebg̊a_. One piece is
rounded, and the lower point is inserted in a small hole in the other
wood, and then twirled with the palms of the hands round rapidly till
sparks are emitted, and then very dry grass is placed at the bottom
of the rounded stick, when it will light. Should the wood be slightly
damp, a very small pinch of sand is placed in the hole to increase the
friction. The _sika_ sticks can obtain fire almost as quickly as can a
magnifying glass.

On felling a tree in clearing a plantation it is a general custom in
this district for the native to make a small ring of grass and lay it
on the tree stump, and then to spit on the ring and to cover it with a
large stone. Natives state, in explanation of this practice, that their
people have always done it, but they cannot say for what purpose.

The pottery whorls found in very old native huts are known to many
natives, but not to all, for the author has heard natives explaining
their purpose to other natives. These whorls had sticks inserted
top-fashion through the centre hole, and were spun rapidly between the
hands. These were used for drawing the threads from the mass of cotton,
also, some say, in producing fire. The children find them and use them
for tops. The whorls which are found in ruins, and which are doubtless
antique, are made of soapstone and are excellently finished.

The natives decorate the wooden doors of their huts, also the interior
walls—check pattern being general for this purpose. The best decoration
of doors is to be found in Gutu’s and Chibi’s districts.

The native name for Victoria is _Duruben_, or _Durubeni_, sometimes
_Vitori_. _Duruben_ is derived from the Dutch word _dorp_, and _Vitori_
is an attempt to pronounce Victoria. _Campeni_ is the name of the old
township of Victoria, which used to be known as The Camp. Several
isolated settlements of white people towards the south are called by
the natives of those districts _Durubeni_, the termination being that
of the locative case. The hillock in Victoria, near the gaol, used to
be called “_Gòna Zhon_” (“They failed to capture the elephant”). The
open veld about Victoria was called “_Bani ro moteio_” (“The plain
without trees”).

The salutation _Moro!_ or _Morra!_ employed by the natives is simply
a corruption of the Dutch word _Morgen!_ _i.e._ Good Morning! In Cape
Dutch _Morrè!_ is used, and from this the word _Morro!_ was evidently
derived. The natives agree in stating that it is a Dutch word brought
into the country by Dutch hunters and Cape Boys long before the
British arrived. They ridicule all idea of its being of native origin,
and state that in some districts it is not used. The practice of
handshaking on meeting is one which the natives state has been copied
from the white men.

The salute on meeting is by clapping hands. On greeting a man they will
clap the palms with the hands slightly crossed, the forefinger of the
right hand crossing the base of the forefinger of the other; but on
saluting a woman the forefinger is placed to forefinger with wrists
together. The length of time of clapping depends on the position of the
person saluted. On joining a group to talk, eat, or drink the new-comer
claps hands before sitting down and again when the food or drink is
offered him.

Among the Jewish customs of the Makalanga the following may be
noticed. (1) Monotheism and no worship of idols; (2) worship of, and
sacrifices to, ancestors—a practice condemned by the Prophets; (3)
rite of circumcision; (4) despising the uncircumcised: the taunt
of non-circumcision is commonly employed between disputants; (5)
purification and shaving of the head; (6) transferring impurity or
infection from individuals to some animal, which in some instances
is slain and in others purposely lost on the veld; (7) reception by
women of parties returning from hunting or war, as in the case of
Jephthah; (8) feasts of new moons and invocations to new moons; (9)
feasts of full moons; (10) offerings of first fruits; (11) defilement
by touching the dead; (12) defilement of eating flesh containing blood;
(13) abhorrence of swine as unclean; (14) sprinkling the worshippers
with blood; (15) places of refuge for criminals or people believed
but not found guilty of offending tribal custom;[30] (16) observance
of Sabbath, either every five or seven days; (17) marriage only among
themselves, but cannot marry into the same tribe; (18) casting of lots;
(19) sacrifices of oxen in times of trouble, such as drought; (20)
practice of espousal before marriage; (21) brother succeeds to brother
in office and property; (22) brother takes to wife the wives of his
deceased elder brother, and raising offspring, they rank in office as
if they were the children of the deceased; (23) a daughter does not
inherit property or position except on the death of all her brothers;
(24) rigid morality with regard to all fleshly sins, adultery and
fornication being punished with death and outlawry.

Additional parallelisms with Jewish customs could be stated, and all
these peculiar practices, together with the lighter skin and the Jewish
appearance of the Makalanga, distinctly point to the ancient impress of
the Idumean Jews, which can also be traced on the present peoples of
Madagascar and of the coasts of Mozambique and Sofala.[31]

Many of these customs are now falling into desuetude on the advance of
white civilisation. The Molembo tribe of Makalanga is noted for the
preservation and observance of the majority of these Jewish practices,
which are in character distinctly pre-Koranic in origin.

                              CHAPTER VI

                    LOCATIONS, AND ASSOCIATIONS[32]

                         1. SOAPSTONE ARTICLES

Sir John Lubbock once observed that one antiquarian relic found by
itself was no testimony as to any particular ancient occupation of
the spot at which it was discovered, but that the discovery of many
identical relics in one place, and under identical conditions, might be
considered as evidence of such occupation. Single specimens are known
to have been transported from one hemisphere to another during the
course of three or four thousand years.

At Great Zimbabwe it is not, except in a few instances, with single
relics that we have to deal, but with those found in tens and scores,
practically in identical and corresponding locations, and under
exactly similar conditions. So regularly are these relics situated on
certain floors that, with a few exceptions explained later, one is
always certain as to the class of relics which will be met with on any
particular floor which is being cleared. Of course, these relics and
“finds” are not distributed generally on their respective floors, and
frequently the realisation of one’s hopes of meeting with them were
greatly deferred, while on other occasions half an hour’s work yielded
them in quantities. Still, when once found, they were generally
abundant—at least, on those floors that were expected to yield them.


_South African Museum, Cape Town_]

A small quantity of articles having claim to some antiquity were found
out of relative position to the bulk of similar relics. For instance,
phalli, which were found in quantities on certain floors in the eastern
half only of the Elliptical Temple, also at the Eastern and Western
Temples on the hill, and at Philips Ruins in the Valley of Ruins, have,
in some few instances, been found singly, but most frequently fractured
or damaged, in positions which could not have been those occupied by
any of the ancient inhabitants. Single specimens are sometimes found in
the débris piles immediately outside the entrances to the three temples
and Philips Ruins. Those found lower in such piles were no doubt thrown
out by old native peoples who would not be aware of their purpose. Some
of these have been converted into amulets or charms, while others are
known to have been used for making _daha_ (hemp) pipe-bowls. Those
phalli found in the higher portions of such débris piles are shown
by the stratification of the débris to have been brought out by the
numerous relic hunters by whom the excavated soil from the interiors
was deposited on these débris heaps outside. This experience extends
also to almost all the more antique relics found at Zimbabwe.

[Illustration: Section of Floors of part of N^o 15 ENCLOSURE Elliptical
Temple looking North-West & shewing locations of “Finds” 11902–31.]

The _phalli_ found at Zimbabwe must now amount to at least one hundred,
of which more than half have been found recently. It is very probable
that on further examination of the lower floors of these four ruins
other specimens will be met with. The phalli found vary in size and
design. The largest (Pl. I., fig. 6) stood 7½ in. high, was perfectly
plain, but highly polished. The smallest were seven-eighths of an
inch long, but each had its base bevelled and a ring carved round the
summit. Except where the base is fractured, all stand erect on any
tolerably flat surface. The bases show signs of extensive scratchings,
as if they had been constantly moved. The average heights of the
phalli are from two to four inches. Round the bases of many of the
recently discovered phalli are small bevels, sometimes in two circles.
The majority were unadorned, but their identity was unmistakable. The
more ornate specimens bore the “female breast and furrow” pattern,
one had chevron pattern round its bevelled base, several showed the
circumcisional markings, and on the top of one (Pl. I., figs. 12 and
13) were carved in relief rosettes formed of a circle completely
surrounded by eight small circles, the latter a pattern which is
frequently found on soapstone beams and bowls, and is also used to form
the eyes of one of the soapstone birds found at Zimbabwe.

Worked and decorated _soapstone beams_ have been found only in four
localities within the ruins’ area, viz. (1) the Elliptical Temple, on
the summit and at the bases of the main east and south-east wall
within the limits of the chevron pattern; (2) also in quantities on
the summit and at the base of the circular granite cement platform
which lies to the north of the Conical Tower; (3) on the summit and
at the bases of the north wall of the Western Temple on the hill; (4)
on the summit and at the bases of the arc wall of the Eastern Temple,
decorated with dentelle pattern and facing east; (5) on or near the two
granite cement platforms in the interior, and on the site of Mr. Bent’s
“altar,” also in the same temple; and (6) on the summit and at the
bases of the arc wall facing east at Philips Ruins, the fragments of
beams found at this latter place being exceedingly numerous. Splinters
of soapstone beams are found in the soil in the larger ruins, showing
that some of the beams fell from their position and became fractured
after the filling in with soil which took place at least one hundred
and fifty years ago. Few, if any, worked soapstone beams were found in
any of the Valley Ruins, save at Philips. All beams have been worked,
and the marks of the tools and their sizes can still be seen on many;
some are also carved, the chevron pattern predominating.

[Illustration: _PLATE I._ “Relics & Finds” Great Zimbabwe 1902–3

Methuen & C^o]

A portion of a soapstone beam, 2 ft. 6 in. long and 1 ft. 5 in. in
circumference, formed part of what is known to have been a very tall
and slender pillar, which was once surmounted by a bird. This stood on
the north wall of the Western Temple on the Acropolis, and was found
in 1902. The beam is completely covered with most delicately carved
chevron pattern.

A carved soapstone beam, 11 ft. high, which showed signs of once being
taller, stood on the platform of the Western Temple on the Acropolis.
It fell about 1890, and broke into two parts, and these Mr. Bent

A section of a soapstone beam (Pl. I., fig. 3), carved into rounds
resembling a chain of connected balls and decorated with spiral lines,
was found in No. 15 Enclosure of the Elliptical Temple, on the lowest
floor and 2 ft. below the foundation of the north-east wall of that

A curiously carved piece of soapstone (Pl. I., fig. 2), evidently a
portion of a beam, was found close to the circular platform in the
Platform Area at the Elliptical Temple, among the numerous soapstone
beams found at some depth at that spot. The fragment has so broken that
it resembles a slipper with a band across the instep. The whole face of
it is covered with small raised circular knobs.

Eight carved _soapstone birds_ and _birds on beams_[33] are known to
have been removed from the ruins prior to 1902, and they were mostly
found on the Acropolis. Two, it is known, were taken to Johannesburg
in 1890, and about the same time the lower portion of a bird (of which
the upper portion was found by the author in 1902) was removed and sold
to Mr. Rhodes. In 1891 Mr. Bent removed four birds on beams and also
the lower portion of another bird, but he did not discover any of them,
as the position of all these was well known to settlers both before
the occupation and previously to this visit, many attempts having been
made to buy these relics from the Mogabe Chipfuno, who persistently
refused to part with them. These four birds on beams and another beam
on which had once been a bird were standing more or less erect and
fixed in granite cement on the Eastern Temple on the Acropolis, which
for years previously had been used as a cattle kraal, and the holes and
places in which they once stood, and from which Mr. Bent removed them,
can be seen to-day. But on the authority of very early visitors, and
of the Mogabe Handisibishe, there are still two birds unaccounted for.
Possibly the mention of this fact may lead to their recovery. There
is a general belief that one of these birds is in a certain museum in
Austria, and this is quite possible, seeing that at least two Austrian
scientists have visited this country. The total number of birds
known to have been found at Zimbabwe prior to 1902 was eight.


In 1902–3 the author unearthed the upper portion of the fractured bird
(Pl. I., fig. 1), the lower portion of which was found on the Acropolis
in 1890, together with a section of the beam upon which it once stood.
The head, neck, and shoulders of this bird are 9½ in. long. Up the
neck, front, and back is a carved protruding rib. This portion of the
bird is in an extremely good state of preservation, and the carving
shows more artistic skill than do any of the birds on beams in the Cape
Town Museum.

In 1903 the author discovered the tenth carved soapstone bird on
beam. This was found in Philips Ruins, the most interesting buildings
outside the Acropolis and Elliptical Temple. The bird and beam, which
are still intact, were found on the east side of a high and massive
wall and at the south side of a small conical tower in the North-East
Enclosure of these ruins, being buried in soil and block débris to a
depth of 3 ft. It was upside down, with the base resting against the
side of the cone, from the summit of which it most probably had fallen,
as the cone, which is approached by two steps and a platform on its
east side, was covered with granite cement, while the base of the beam
bears marks of its having once stood embedded in granite cement. All
the birds at Zimbabwe found standing, with one exception, had the bases
of the beams fixed in excellent granite cement. This bird and beam are
undoubtedly not only in the best state of preservation of any yet found
at Zimbabwe, but show evidence of more artistic workmanship having been
bestowed upon them than any of those previously discovered. Up the face
of the beam is carved a crocodile 16 in. long, and round the _cestus_
beneath the bird’s feet, which is 3 in. deep, is carved work—on one
side a large double row of chevron pattern, similar to the pattern
on the east wall of the Elliptical Temple, and on the opposite side
a single row of chevron, surmounted by two large embossed circular
discs; the back edge of the beam is plain, and the front edge above the
crocodile has two small embossed circular discs. The bird stands 11
in. high, the total height of the beam and bird being 5 ft. 5 in., its
width 8 in. on the flat sides, and 2½ in. on its end edges.

_Miniature soapstone birds_ on pedestals have been found by other
explorers of Zimbabwe, but the writer discovered only a portion of one
of such birds.

In Mr. Bent’s work are given the opinions of several of the best-known
scientists of Europe, who, by means of the birds and associated relics
found at Zimbabwe, connect the worship carried on there with that of
the ancient Sabæan people of South Arabia, who worshipped the goddess
Almaquah (Venus), the Morning Star. See Preface, also pages 181–87 of
_The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland_.

The best-made _soapstone bowls_ are found on the lower granite cement
floors of the ruins and far below any native clay floors, the southern
side of the Acropolis, the eastern half of the Elliptical Temple, and
Philips Ruins yielding these in quantities. The fragments of bowls
with carved processions of horned animals, of which a dozen pieces
have recently been discovered, and which fragments represent different
sized bowls, were found only on the lowest floors, and these only on
the Acropolis. This was also the experience of Mr. Bent. But there is
an exception to this rule, viz. that the ancients, or some people of
a period prior to the Makalanga, had, on the bowls becoming broken,
thrown the fragments over the west and south edges of the Acropolis
Hill, where fragments may still be found among and under the wall
débris which has fallen down the precipitous sides of the hill.
Probably before these fragments became, at a later date, completely
covered by further falls of wall débris, native people of a remote age
converted some of these into slabs for the _isafuba_ game, and cut the
sets of game-holes on their flat bases and on the inside of the higher
rims, while they have also rudely scratched the usual native designs
on the opposite side to the carving—crude designs which are obviously
in striking contrast to the artistic work of the original makers of the
bowl. Such portions, and but a few only, have been found on very old
native clay floors on the Acropolis.


The fragments of the soapstone bowls recently found vary in style,
size, and carving, and these fragments represent at least thirty
different bowls. Mr. Bent also found fragments representing some ten
different bowls, and as there still remain large areas of lower floors
to be opened out, there may be still further evidences of even more
extensive use of these articles by the ancients of all periods at
Zimbabwe. The diameters, judged by the radii of the segments, vary
from 1 ft. 1½ in., which is the smallest size yet found, to 1 ft. 3¾
in., the largest so far discovered. The heights of the outside of the
rims range from 2 in. to 3½ in., the majority being about 2¾ in. The
rims, which are all without flange, except in one instance, are from
1⅛ in. to 1⅝ in. in thickness. The bases of the bowls have about the
same average thickness, but in a few cases they are somewhat thinner.
The insides of the bowls from rim to rim are always beautifully flat
and smooth. The bottoms are thickly covered with fine scratches, as if
the bowls had been constantly pushed along the top of stone or fine
cement work. The insides of some of the bowls show signs of having been
subjected to very great heat previously to the breaking of the article.
It may well be imagined that bowls of these dimensions, cut out of
solid soapstone, itself an exceedingly heavy stone, must have been of
great weight, and that without considering any contents they might have

A few bowls only were plain—that is, with no decorative pattern on the
outside—though all are finely worked, and the plainest has rounded
sides which slightly project at the top of the rim. The designs on the
relics vary, and include procession of horned animals (Pl. I., fig.
4), zebras, dogs, a bird, and a man. The decorations on the majority
of the bowls comprise (1) herring-bone, plain; (2) herring-bone on
cords, _i.e._ two parallel cords with their respective lines of strands
inclining opposite ways, and thus together forming a herring-bone
pattern; (3) cord pattern, the strands of the parallel cords both
inclining in the same direction. These cords in (2) and (3) are found
both vertically and horizontally. In the case of cord pattern of any
sort the cords are carved in lengths, the lengths being divided by
plain protruding squares at intervals; (4) circular discs sunk into
the surface, the discs being either plain or covered with rings within
rings till the centre is reached; (5) a chain of diamond-shaped panels
with centres completely filled up with lines parallel to the outer

A pattern (6) (Pl. I., fig. 5), new in Zimbabwe relics, was recently
found on the rim of a soapstone bowl discovered in Maund Ruins in
the Valley of Ruins. This consists of two wave bands crossing and
recrossing each other throughout their length, and thus making a
continuous line of perfect circles. This is very correctly carved, and
the artistic merit of its workmanship is equal, if not superior, to
that of any soapstone relic yet found at Zimbabwe.[34]

Among other soapstone “finds” made recently at these ruins are two
fragments of two _double claw-hammer-shaped ingot moulds_ (Pl. I.,
figs. 7 and 8), each fragment being the major portion of such mould.
These were cut into the broken section of an ornamented beam. Moulds of
this shape are not, therefore, necessarily ancient, though the form may
have been handed down from ancient times. Mr. Selous, some years ago,
discovered considerable quantities of copper ingot moulds in actual use
by the natives of Katanga, and these were almost the identical shape of
the ingot mould discovered by Mr. Bent at Zimbabwe. The Administrator
of North-Eastern Rhodesia reported in March, 1900, that ingots of
copper in the form of a St. Andrew’s Cross were common articles of
trade in the Katanga district. It must also be recollected that three
such ingots have been found in Southern Rhodesia. Though old, their
appearance does not in any instance suggest antiquity. The author,
taking these points into consideration, does not believe that the ingot
mould discovered by Mr. Bent can be any evidence of the occupation of
this country by the Phœnicians, and this opinion is further confirmed
by the locations of the moulds found. (See _The Ancient Ruins of
Rhodesia_, pages 128 and 141; also Appendix thereto, Note C.)

A straight _bar mould_ (Pl. I., fig. 9) which shows signs of
considerable use has also been found, but on an upper clay floor. It
is believed that this was used for moulding copper bars. The natives
of Kafue, the Molembo people of modern times, and the local Barotse,
all these being races of skilful copper workers, are known to have made
identically shaped copper bars.

Other soapstone articles include a _ball_, a few _whorls_, _amulets_,
and _daha pipe-bowls_, the latter being of Makalanga make, while it
would be extremely difficult to say to which period the other articles

                         2. GOLD ARTICLES[35]

_Gold_ in almost every form has been found in quantities on several
of the lower floors of the ruins, and from its locations must have
been produced and worked, not only by ancients, but by very old Kafir
people, possibly under Moslem Arab supervision, for concave fragments
of Kafir pottery of a very far back period (and so pronounced by
Dr. Hahn and other experts) have been used as crude _scorifiers_,
and the gold can still be seen on them in the flux, while other
undoubted Kafir remains, some of which are claimed to be Makalanga of
an exceedingly old make, are found associated with the scorifiers.
The mediæval Makalanga, as early Portuguese records show, not only
produced gold but manufactured it, especially into gold wire. It may be
conjectured that this style of metal work was due to Arab influence,
for the earliest Portuguese records frequently testify that the Arabs
possessed important colonies in the country of the Monomotapa, colonies
sufficiently influential to mould the policy of successive Monomotapas,
especially as against the incursion of Portuguese, and that the main
purpose of the Arab intruders in the country was to obtain gold
and ivory. Until the last decade, when the cheap and ready-made
European goods became obtainable by the natives, the Makalanga can be
conclusively shown to have been a nation of metal smiths capable of
producing most excellent work, and of drawing very fine wire, while
to-day their art of making wire bangles and covering articles with work
in correct patterns is such that the difference between the quality of
the native work and that produced by machinery in Europe can hardly be
detected. It must be remembered, too, that previously to, and for some
time after, the occupation, it was possible to buy gold beads from the
natives in Mashonaland. These might to a large extent have been found
in ancient ruins, but the majority of such articles so bartered for
from the natives consisted of Kafir-made copper and iron bangles with
gold beads at intervals round the circle.

Gold and gold articles of the more delicate and artistic manufacture
belong mainly to the period of the ancients, but gold, as shown by
tradition, history, and “finds,” was also a product of mediæval
Makalanga, as can be further demonstrated by any excavator of very old
Makalanga floors, and of this the proofs exist abundantly.

The small _gold crucibles_ of granite clay similar to those described
on page 221 of Mr. Bent’s work, and found on the lowest floors and in
rock holes and fissures used for depositing débris, where they must
have been thrown away as rubbish after the small cakes of gold had been
removed, although they still contained in the flux large beady pieces
of gold. A large number of these have been found in positions where the
Kafir clay scorifiers are not met with. It would be well in considering
the “finds” of crucibles not to treat them with the pottery gold
scorifiers, for, so far as discoveries lead, they undoubtedly appear to
belong to entirely different ages.

Several sizes of _gold beads_ have been found. There is no doubt that
some places in certain enclosures of the older ruins will yield a fair
quantity when the soil on the lower floors is systematically treated.
Several beads are perfectly round, others are round but with flat ends,
others again show two facets encircling them and meeting at the widest

_Beaten gold_ to the amount of about 6 ozs. was found on the lower
floors. This was discovered in the form of plates usually about 1½
in. to 2 in. by 1 in., each plate having small holes round the edges,
in many of which holes the gold tacks still remained. One piece was
wider at one end than at the other, and this is believed to have been a
sheathing encircling a section of a piece of ebony found with it, the
ebony stick being thick at the top and tapered towards the end. There
were remains of embossed designs on two pieces of beaten gold, one of
diamond pattern and the other a plain circle with curved radiating

_Gold tacks_ were most usually found with the beaten gold. These are of
microscopic size. The majority have wedged-shaped heads, and the others
flattened heads. It is believed that these tacks served to fasten the
gold sheathing on to wooden articles used by the ancients.

_Bar-gold_ and _gold-cake_ were found on the lowest floors in the
Elliptical Temple and North-East Passage respectively. _Gold dust_ is
found in certain enclosures only, but on the lowest floors. Over two
hundred pannings of the soil in various enclosures have been made. The
soil of some enclosures is absolutely destitute of any trace of gold,
so also is the veld soil brought into the ruins by native people over
one hundred and fifty years ago. In some places outside the ruins
pannings show gold, and pieces of beaten gold and gold wire have been
found in such places.

One complete _gold bangle_ of twisted wire, most artistically wrought
and weighing 2½ ozs., was found on the bed-rock in an enclosure on the
Acropolis Hill. Another complete gold bangle was found on the lowest
floor of No. 15 Enclosure of the Elliptical Temple. Short pieces of
twisted gold wire of various gauges have been found at several ruins.
Most of such pieces are parts of broken bangles.

_Gold scorifiers_ of native pottery were found in quantities on an
intermediate floor in No. 6 Enclosure of the Elliptical Temple,
together with a pair of iron pincers and Arabian glass. The report made
by Dr. P. Daniel Hahn, PH. D., M.A., Professor of Chemistry, South
African Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory, Cape Town, on these
scorifiers, is as follows:—

  “The several fragments of scorifiers sent for analysis did not
  all contain sufficient flux to be removed without being mixed
  up with the substance of the scorifier. A fair quantity of flux
  could, however, be separated in sufficient purity for analysis.

  “The flux was composed of:—

      Silica             77.616%
      Ferrous Oxide        .464%
      Aluminic Oxide      6.703%
      Lime                7.095%
      Magnesia            7.421%
      Gold                 .363%
      Sodic Oxide          .210%
      Potassic Oxide       .106%

  “No Borate or Fluoride was found in the flux.

  “The composition of this flux is remarkable, inasmuch as the
  alkalies are present in very small proportion only, while the
  alkaline earths prevail. Also the amount of silica is very

  “The flux melted readily when it was heated on a platinum lid
  in a muffle furnace at the temperature required for expelling
  auriferous lead.”

Dr. Hahn has further informed the author that pieces of scorifiers are
fragments of native pottery similar to that found in different parts of
South Africa, and he adds, “They are certainly not European but native

                          3. COPPER ARTICLES

Discoveries of copper in several forms are made on intermediate and
higher levels. So far no copper article has been found by any explorer
at Zimbabwe which could be claimed as being ancient, though doubtless
the ancients worked also in copper, and it is quite probable that
copper articles made in pre-Kafir times may yet be found. Such copper
articles as have been found show a decided Kafir form, the copper
battle-axes and barbed spearheads, bangles, beads, and wire-work
closely resembling the iron articles still made by the natives,
though of a somewhat superior design and make, and some of these in
all probability, judging by their location and the associated finds,
covered a period extending from mediæval times until comparatively a
few years ago. The floors and immediate vicinity of native huts of
the oldest construction yield copper articles abundantly, while later
native floors have a larger percentage of iron articles.

Three pounds’ weight of thin and narrow strips of _copper sheathing_
with tack-holes round the edges and copper tacks were found on one of
the higher levels, and at a depth of several feet below were granite
cement steps and buttresses of excellent construction. This sheathing
had evidently covered some wooden article.

The copper used in most instances is pronounced to be pure metal and
free from the usual alloys. The metal in these is of so pliable a
nature that _spearheads_ can be easily twisted by hand into almost any
shape. One spearhead was copper and tin, but the latter was present
in very small proportion. Several articles once thought to be bronze
are now pronounced to be of copper only. A small piece of a bar of
tin was found on an intermediate floor. _Copper wire_, mostly in the
form of bangles, is very plentiful on intermediate floors, also large
_cakes of copper_ and _copper slag_, but so far the actual remains of
copper-smelting furnaces _in situ_ have not been met with at Zimbabwe,
though judging by the amount of copper slag and _copper ore_ found at
the extreme east of the Acropolis ruins, copper-smelting was carried
on in that locality during the period when the gold scorifiers made
of native pottery were being used. Here were found portions of clay
_cupolas_ which had been used for copper-smelting, circular and deep,
about the size of a small teacup. The fine and delicate _copper chain_
found in Renders Ruins is believed to be of Arab origin, and used to
suspend the lamp-holder found with it. Pieces of a small _copper box_,
and several solidly made _copper bangles_, and _copper finger-rings_
in snake form with the extremities coiled, were also found in Renders
Ruins on the same level where the copper chain and several articles of
Arab origin were discovered.

                           4. IRON ARTICLES

Objects made of iron are found in all floors, but mainly on
intermediate and upper floors. Makalanga iron tools, ornaments,
weapons, and iron slag are found in great profusion on the upper
floors, especially in the black surface mould and among grass and shrub
roots. Modern native-made _iron hoes_ are as a rule without any sign
of bevel to strengthen the blade, but iron hoes with a peculiar bevel
down the centre of the blade on both sides are found among native
articles of a rather superior character and at slightly lower depths.
These latter have a depression stamped down the centre of the blade
which raises a bevel on the opposite face, while on the opposite
side another depression has been stamped parallel with the raised
bevel on that side, thus providing a rib on each face, which greatly
strengthens the hoe. This class of bevel has been pronounced by experts
to be an old form employed also in other parts of the world, and local
authorities on Makalanga iron-work assign this make of hoe to several
generations ago, while the Makalanga themselves state that such hoes
are found in very old deserted villages of their people, but have not
been made during their time, but used to be so made by their fathers’

[Illustration: PLATE 2.

Methuen & C^o]

_Iron chisels_ (Pl. III., figs, 1 and 2) are found on almost all
floors, and were it not for noting the actual spots where they are
found and the associated articles, it would be difficult to state,
so closely do they resemble each other, which of them were antique
and which old or modern native. This difficulty is increased when old
Kafir iron-chisels and picks are found to be greatly corroded, while
some of the iron tools found in positions suggesting a great antiquity
are sometimes found in an almost perfect condition. The sizes of the
various chisels used by the ancients on blocks in the oldest portions
of the ruins, and also on the soapstone beams, are still clearly

_Iron picks_ are found on older native floors, and these vary in make
and design, and may be classified as follows:—

(_a_) Double-pointed picks made of a short, thick piece of iron tapered
at each end, the middle part of which is held by a short iron handle
(Pl. II., fig. 11). These have also been found in old workings in
both Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and especially in the Mazoe and
neighbouring districts. Several of the early writers on this country
state that these picks had been supplied to their native labourers
by the mediæval Portuguese, but it is impossible at present to state
whether this belief be correct or otherwise. Certainly these picks have
been mostly found in districts once occupied by the Portuguese. There
is a character in the design, class of iron used, and the make that
does not suggest a native origin.

(_b_) An iron pick (Pl. III., fig. 3), similar to the one shown on
page 217 of Mr. Bent’s book, but in a better state of preservation,
was recently found at Zimbabwe. It is almost certain that this class
of pick once had wooden handles up the middle of which was a hole, and
through it passed the iron bar which bound the pick and the handle
firmly together.

(_c_) The pick (Pl. II., fig. 11) is formed by a bar of iron which is
bent back a few inches from the top, and in the front of the bend is a
hole running up the centre inside the bent-back portion, and into this
hole the haft of the pick is fixed. These have been found complete.

All three classes of picks are found on intermediate and upper clay
floors, yet the local natives affirm that they have never known them to
be made, though they are aware of their purpose.

Included in the finds of iron articles was a well-made _iron spoon_
with a long handle squared at the end. This was found among the Arab
belongings in Renders Ruins, also an _iron spearhead_ (Pl. II., fig.
16) with peculiarly designed spaces in its edges as if for inflicting
a more than usually serious wound. An _ornamented spearhead_ (Pl. II.,
fig. 15) with its point decorated with bead-like bevels diminishing in
size from base to point. An _iron lamp-stand_ (PI. II., figs. 17 and
18) with eight bent-up arms (with which was found 12 ft. of fine copper
chain in lengths of about 18 in. with pottery affixed at intervals) was
also found with the Arab articles.

_Iron bangles_, both solid and of wire-work, are found on upper floors
in the black surface mould and among grass roots. Some of these must
be exceedingly old, and in the wire bangles the fibre or zebra hair
(this, in some instances, being found intact), round which the wire
was twisted, has completely disappeared. In many instances some traces
more or less distinct of the fibre or hair still remained. Twisted
iron wire-work, evidently imported wholesale, has been found at one
spot only, and in great quantities in the form of coils, and not cut up
into lengths for use as bangles. The coils, which are now fused, must
have contained very many feet of this twisted wire. The same applies to
coils of twisted brass wire in large coils found also at the same spot,
which, as is shown later, was evidently an old Arab trading station.

_Iron nails_ (Pl. II., figs. 2 and 4) are not limited to any particular
floor, and are found almost everywhere in the ruins. But these vary
considerably in make. The oldest form of nail and the best designed
is that found at greatest depth. This is wedge-shape headed. Another
form of exceedingly old class of nails is that where the head is formed
by doubling the nail back for about half an inch. But the head is not
welded, the bottom part of the bent-back portion being slightly tapered
where it meets the side of the nail. These nails in several instances
were made difficult of extraction from the wood by being barbed and
notched, and in some cases, especially of a rivet class of smaller
nails, the nails, when the iron was hot, were twisted in the centre
only, and a rude sort of screw was thus made with protruding edges.
It can be seen that several twisting operations were required to form
these spiral bandings, and that these separate twistings do not connect
together as in a perfect screw. The larger nails are from 4 in. to 6
in. long, the rivet class varying from 1½ in. to 4 in.

_Iron shoes and collars_ once having served as bands round wooden
posts, possibly to keep them from splitting, especially in a climate
where there are daily such rapid changes from heat to cold, and which
plays such havoc with the modern imported timber. These bands, which
average almost an inch in width, generally passed twice round the post,
and the shapes of the circumference of the post are square, oblong
(these are the most frequent), or circular, but always perfectly
exact, showing that the ancients and older inhabitants of the ruins
used wood that had been specially shaped with tools, and not the rough,
unworked poles used by old and present natives, many of which can be
still seen never to have been touched with any tool save in cutting
it from the tree and in lopping off small branches. These shoes and
collars are found on very old floors, their greatest length or diameter
being 4¾ in.

One important fact is clearly demonstrated by the presence in
quantities on the older floors of nails and shoes, and it is that the
original builders and their more immediate successors extensively
employed woodwork in the fittings of all the enclosures, some of it
being of large dimensions, and in all probability worked with tools,
and not used in the rough state. The general distribution of these
nails and shoes throughout the enclosures, and at some depth, convinces
one that substantial wooden fittings once existed in these enclosures,
for the large sizes of the older forms of nails and the make of the
shoes and collars preclude any suggestion of many of them having been
used in woodwork which could have been easily removed.

A _forked iron instrument_ (Pl. II., fig. 5), with six gold bosses
riveted with gold on to the iron, is certainly of a very antique
character, though possibly not an article belonging to the original
builders, for the condition of the iron and its location, while
pointing to some antiquity, rather precludes any idea of its being
of the earliest date. This was found in the Western Temple at the
Acropolis ruins, at a point near, but not so deep as, the spot which
Mr. Swan styles “the centre of the arc of the curved and decorated main
wall of the Western Temple on the hill.”

The _iron pincers_ (Pl. II., fig. 2), found with the gold scorifiers
on an intermediate floor in the Elliptical Temple, are of simple
construction, and are made of a bar of iron tapered at each end and
doubled together, the doubled end being hammered close, but not
welded. Traces of flux are on the tapered points. A second pair of iron
pincers, but not in such good condition, were found on an intermediate
floor in the Acropolis ruins.

Some six pairs of _double iron gongs_ were also recently found, but not
in any position or associated with articles suggesting antiquity. These
were found on old Makalanga floors, also among grass roots and in black
surface mould. Yet the type and pattern of gong is undoubtedly ancient,
being found in Egypt and seen in the ancient paintings in that country,
but like the rod of iron, the pillow, the ingot mould, and a score of
other articles used not only by Makalanga but by other peoples of this
continent, the form and make of these gongs have been handed down from
time immemorial. The local natives know the use of these gongs, and
say that they were beaten with an iron striker (Pl. II., fig. 20), but
they have not seen any at Zimbabwe since they arrived seventy years
ago, nor can they say that their own people ever made them, but they
suppose that the old Makalanga, who, up to at least one hundred years
ago, are known to have lived in the Zimbabwe ruins, made and used them.
These gongs are known to local natives who have travelled, and these
say they have seen them in use in the Zambesia districts, where they
are used to greet the arrival of chiefs and the appearance of the new
moon, also as a signal of warning. The two gongs are bound together
by an iron band, which forms the handle. One pair was found on the
floor of a hut built on block foundations with the usual clay-rounded,
bevelled, and circular base, exactly similar to those on the filled-in
plateau of No. 1 Ruins at Khami (see Chapter VII., section “Native
Huts found in Ancient Ruins,” _post_, p. 152). The gongs found at
Zimbabwe average 16½ in. high, and their sides are hammered together
out of two thick sheets of soft iron. They have no clappers, and are
intended to be struck from without. They have frequently been found
in Kazembe country between the Zambesi and Lake Tanganyika, where
the natives state that the gongs are not made now, and that they are
very old (_Anthrop. Journal_, 1901, Article 39). Dr. Holub (vol. ii.,
p. 147) gives an illustration of a double iron gong of crude make and
design, still in use among the Barotse as a musical instrument. Sir
H. M. Stanley states that these double iron gongs were in use by the
natives of Urangi (Upper Congo), and also at Mangala on that river.
His illustrations of these gongs show great similarity to those found
in various parts of Southern Rhodesia. Several writers on South-East
Africa describe an identical iron gong still in use among the natives.
Each gong gives a different sound to its companion gong.

A _single iron gong_ (Pl. II., fig. 22) was also found among old native
articles. The gong is oblong, and has an ornament at each end made
of tapered strips of iron coiled into circles, and these ornaments
strongly suggest that the gong was only used when suspended. It is 13½
in. long and 5½ in. deep. No explorer in this country appears to have
seen a gong of this description. Its style and make are altogether

One iron rod or sceptre, 3 ft. 5 in. long, was also found in a position
not suggestive of antiquity. This was recognised by the natives as
the rod of a chief, being a native symbol of power. Some of the
dynastic chiefs of the Makalanga still possess these iron rods. The
end of the rod is bent back to form the handle. Mr. Bent says the iron
sceptres borne by Makalanga chiefs have their parallels in the north
of the African continent! Ruling “with a rod of iron” is a scriptural
description of despotic government.

Pieces of worked iron, with rings let through the top ends and
broadening at the base, where there is a different shaped hole of a
distinct form on each base, appear to have been _keys_ (Pl. II., figs.
7 and 8). These were found with the Arab belongings in Renders Ruins.

[Illustration: _PLATE 3._

—Relics & “Finds”—
Great Zimbabwe 1802–3.

Methuen & C^o]

There are still to be seen the remains of native _iron-smelting
furnaces_, one being in almost perfect condition, but all are
exceedingly old, and were found standing seventy years ago, when the
present Makalanga came to live at Zimbabwe. The “female breast and
furrow” pattern is on every native furnace. Portions of _blow-pipes_
and great quantities of _iron slag_ are found on the higher floors of
clay in several of the ruins.

                           5. BRASS ARTICLES

So far as investigations lead, no relics of brass have been found on
the lower floors of any of the ruins at Zimbabwe. But on the upper
clay floors brass in several forms is found in abundance. It will be
remembered that in 1514 Duarte Barbosa wrote, “The people of Monomotapa
come to Sofala charged with gold, and give such quantities that the
merchants gain one hundred for one.” This was written soon after the
first arrival of the Portuguese at Sofala, and given in a description
of Arab trade on the coast, which they found to be flourishing. But
before that period the Arab barter article for the gold was mainly
brass, though “coloured stuffs and beads of Cambay” were also used
for the purpose of barter, for the Arab trade with this country dated
back long before the arrival of the Portuguese. The Arab writer, Omar
ibn l’Wardi, stated (_circa_ 1200 A.D.), in alluding to South-East
Africa, “The most remarkable produce of this country is its quantity of
native gold ... in spite of which the natives adorn their persons with
ornaments of brass.” So to-day a native will gladly pay an enormous
amount over the cost price for any attractive-looking but shoddy brass
article. The brass ornaments of women weigh from 1½ lbs. to 3 lbs.,
while the men spend hours in polishing and rearranging their brass
bangles. Therefore it is not surprising that brass wire, brass wire
bangles, and solid brass bangles, should be found on the clay floors of
the ruins. The quantity imported as barter goods for gold must have
been simply enormous, especially in view of the prevailing custom of
these people from time immemorial to bury with their dead all their
personal ornaments.

There is one class of brass bangle that deserves some attention, and
this is found in positions suggesting a greater age than any other
finds of brass articles. This is a twisted wire bangle, but the wire
is flat and exceedingly narrow. In many of these the hair or fibre
round which it was coiled has disappeared with time. Coils of this
make of wire-work ready to be cut into lengths for bangles were found
in Renders Ruins. This and some coils of very fine rounded wire-work
were discovered in a fused condition. Brass beads both imported and of
native make are plentiful.

                           6. FOREIGN STONES

Every enclosure in the ruins at Zimbabwe which has been recently
examined yields stone altogether foreign to the granite formation
of the district. Many tons of _slate_ have been brought here from
a distance of at least eight miles, and also large quantities of
soapstone from a similar distance, while _dolorite_, once used as
anvils, was discovered, also _diorite_ used as hammers, _quartz_,
_jasper_ stone showing gold, _serpentine_ stone, _calcedony_ pebbles,
_crystal_ pebbles, _metamorphic slate_, _mica schist_, _ironstone_
and _copper ore_, and one or two small fragments of _flint_, and some
_natural wind-worn stones_ of peculiar form. A lithologist could
very easily add considerably to this list. Two pieces of water-worn
diorite of the shape of rolling-pins were found in the débris below
the Platform at the Western Temple on the Acropolis. The finding of
one such stone might not in itself be considered of any moment, but
the discovery of two such pieces similar in shape may possibly have
some significance for the student of the litholatrous practices of
the ancients. The same might be said of several stones discovered
here, many of which in quantities naturally assume suggestive shapes,
while some are of purely imitative forms and not artificially treated.
Several of the quartz pebbles showed gold very richly. All these, with
the exception of the quartz, ironstone and copper ore, were found on
the lowest floors.

There were also found water-worn stones, mostly slates, with artificial
depressions which had undoubtedly been used as tools, in some instances
as burnishing stones, these latter being found associated with the
older form of gold crucibles, and some of these had been most probably
selected on account of their shape admirably suiting the fingers of the
right hand. Some small slabs of slate found at considerable depths show
evidences of having been extensively used as whetstones for sharpening
edge tools.

About one ton and a half of metamorphic slate, called by Mr. Bent
“black slate,” and similar to that used in the mural decorations on the
north face of the wall of No. 11 Enclosure and on the north-east wall
of the Platform, was found among the débris in the Sacred Enclosure and
in Nos. 9, 11, and 12 enclosures of the Elliptical Temple, especially
at the base of the wall containing the pattern formed by means of
these stones. All loose blocks are now stacked together in the Sacred
Enclosure (west) at the angle formed by the Platform and the wall
dividing off No. 9 Enclosure. At least some four tons of these blocks
had been brought to Zimbabwe, the nearest point being on the Motelekwe
River, at eight miles east-north-east of Zimbabwe. It is somewhat
remarkable that no such blocks were found in the western half of the
Elliptical Temple, nor on the Acropolis, nor at any other ruin in the

Beds of small splinters of imported quartz have been found at several
points within the ruin’s area, the largest being on the west side of
No. 1 Ruins and on the north side of the summit of Rusivanga Kopje.
Splinters of quartz are found on all cement floors and on such floors
as are made of burnt clay. Some of the quartz showed traces of gold,
but most of the pannings were blank. It has never been supposed that
the original builders carried on extensive quartz-crushing operations
at Zimbabwe, but that the gold was brought to Zimbabwe in the form of
dust to be smelted into ingots, both for export and local manufacture.
Possibly the quartz was brought here for testing purposes, for these
people who were so well acquainted with the nature of quartz-mining
must have had some centres throughout the country where quartz could be
tested, and it is quite natural that the “assay office” of the ancients
for the surrounding districts might have been at Zimbabwe.

                               7. BEADS

In addition to beads of gold, copper, and brass, several other
descriptions of these articles have recently been found at Zimbabwe.

The most important are two large beads similar to one found by Mr.
Bent, and to which he attributed a great antiquity, also some broken
pieces of similar beads. These are black, and are covered with flowers
resembling primroses, and the flower is outlined by parallel white
lines. The spaces between these lines are filled in with dark brown and
violet glaze. These were all found at great depth. The local natives
had not seen beads of this make before.

Beads of ivory and bone, also opaque glass beads—green and yellow,
porcelain beads of sea-green colour and ribbed, have been found, the
glass and porcelain beads being quite unknown to the present natives. A
diamond-shaped calcedony bead,[36] some clay beads bearing chevron and
herring-bone patterns, were found on the lower clay floors.

                               8. WHORLS

Pottery whorls of about 1½ in. to 3 in. in diameter have been found in
hundreds. These were used by old natives for drawing the threads out
of a mass of cotton. A stick was passed through the centre, and the
bottom end was inserted in the cotton, while the upper part was twisted
round quickly between the palms of the hand. Most whorls are cut out of
fragments of native bowls and pots. Many old natives will explain how
they were used. These clay whorls are found in old deserted villages
and in Makalanga débris heaps. The native children search for them, and
use them as tops. It is said they were once also employed in creating
sparks for a fire, but to-day the natives twirl the sticks between
their palms without using a whorl. A few soapstone whorls have been
found, but not in any position suggesting antiquity. The Makalanga of
but a generation past were adepts in carving soapstone.

                      9. GLASS POTTERY AND CHINA

These finds are so numerous and diversified that they require a
special work for their proper treatment. Some two hundred specimens
selected from the bulk have been collected, and these with particulars
as to their locations and associated articles, with specimens found
elsewhere in Rhodesia, will be laid before an expert for technical
classification, when another avenue of research with regard to the
ancient and mediæval occupiers of this country, both native and
foreign, will certainly be opened up. Meantime a brief reference to the
finds, or some of them, will here suffice.

Two portions of glass prisms, fragments of Venetian glass of dark
green colour, being as thin and sometimes thinner than an ordinary
watch-glass, have quite recently been found. Sections of two bowls
of Arabian glass[37] covered with very fine and delicately engraved
tracery of scroll-work of flowers and tendrils. The engraving is so
minute that it can only be seen in a strong light.

Over and across the engraved designs are hand-painted flowers of
primrose shape, each flower outlined in white, light blue, and pink,
the buds being pink and white, and the stems a dark red. The shape
of the bowls was that of the modern finger-glass. All these were
discovered at considerable depths.

[Illustration: Arabian Glass

  _Trace of Post-Koranic lettering.
  Painted in Blue._

        _Painted Flower._
  _Inner  circle_     _Torbay Red._
  _Middle   do._      _White._
  _Outer    do._      _Blue._

Most of the pottery was found in hundred-weights in débris heaps and
scattered throughout all the clay floors in all the ruins with the
exception of some enclosures in the Valley of Ruins. But such pottery
can be shown to be of native make. To anyone casually inspecting the
pottery it may appear as of one and the same make, save perhaps in the
colour of the clay of which it is made. But there are wide differences
in the pottery, both in the clays, the make, designs, ornamentation,
colourings, and also in their locations and in their manufacturers,
just as among the present natives.

The Barotse pottery, for instance, is of a more substantial make than
is that of any known period or tribe of Makalanga. The patterns are
large, bold, and entirely geometrical, and are coloured yellow, red,
or black, with the designs painted in strong contrast to the general
colour of the pot. Thus black patterns are laid on yellow and red
grounds, red patterns on yellow and black, and yellow patterns on black
and red. A collection of Barotse pottery made by Major Corydon from
north of the Zambesi is a facsimile in make and design of the Barotse
pottery found at Thabas Imamba, Khami, Zimbabwe, and other ruins known
to have been occupied by Barotse up to seventy years ago. A collection
of pottery from Khami which was brought for comparative examination to
Zimbabwe was at once claimed by the local Barotse as being of Barotse
make, while the local Makalanga not only emphatically denied that it
was of their class of make and design, but added that it was the work
of the Barotse people. The encircling bands of ornamentation on Barotse
pottery vary from 1½ in. to 3 in. or more in depth.[38]

Thus Makalanga pottery has its own peculiar characteristics which are
easily discernible on examination. It is generally found to be black
with a highly polished surface. The bowls and pots have a lighter and
more delicate appearance, and the excellent quality of clay used, and
its thorough manipulation, enables it to be much thinner in make yet
equally as strong as those of coarser make; the coloured decoration
also is altogether absent, while the pattern is more neatly executed,
and is enclosed in encircling bands of from only half an inch to one
inch in depth. Further, the Makalanga have always decorated their
pottery with protruding bosses of shapes and designs peculiar to
themselves, the female breast pattern predominating. There are at
least fifty different sorts of such protruding designs already found
on undoubted Makalanga floors, and these have been selected for
examination. The pot shown in the illustration facing page 90 of _The
Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ is of very old Makalanga work, of which many
scores are found represented at Zimbabwe.

Finds of native pottery bear no traces of the potter’s wheel. All
native pottery is made by hand.

Very common sun-burnt earthenware, more earth than clay, and very
light, is found in great quantities everywhere in the ruins, most of
this having no decoration.

Old Makalanga smeared the body of a pot with several thin coats of
different-coloured clays, and sections of such pottery show the lines
of smearings very distinctly.

The best quality of pottery was found on one of the lowest floors in
the Elliptical Temple. The fragments are very heavy for their size,
and the surface is coated with soapstone clay, giving them a light
greenish-grey colour. These must be exceedingly old if not ancient.

The china discovered includes Nankin china identical in every
particular with the Nankin china discovered at these ruins by Mr. Bent
and others, and with that found in Mazoe and so many other districts
where there still exist distinct evidences of occupation by the early
Portuguese. The china, or porcelain, is covered completely with a
highly rich glaze of bright blue and sea-green shades, and the articles
when pieced together resemble in shape, an ordinary soup-plate. The
edges are bevelled in sections of circles, the bevels extending in
fluted form to the base, where can be seen evidences of the use of the
potter’s wheel. The fragments found represent three different plates.
These were discovered at some depth, but not on any ancient floor.

One find made among the Arab belongings in Renders Ruins consists of
excellent china of a light brown colour, about a quarter of an inch
thick, and covered with a high glaze of blue, white, and gold enamel,
the white forming the background. There are at least four bands of
pattern encircling what was a large open bowl with upright edges. The
conjectured Arab lettering is laid on with blue enamel and is outlined
with fine scroll-work tracery in gold. The inside is glazed white, and
has lines of faint blue enamel artistically drawn without being of any
set pattern. The pattern on the lowest band is of palm fronds in brown
paint and in outline only.[39]


Some very thin pottery covered with white enamel some inches only
down from the rim towards the outer and inner base, with thick
perpendicular bars of dull blue glaze. Excellent pottery of brown clay,
very thickly covered with glaze of sea-green and deep lake colours, was
found near the same spot.


One of the most interesting discoveries recently made was at Renders
Ruins in the Valley of Ruins. In a corner of one of the enclosures of
these ruins, and at some depth, and all within a few feet, were found
the glazed pottery with Arab lettering, an iron lamp-stand and copper
chain, an iron spoon of great age, copper snake-rings (pronounced not
to be of native make), and several other articles suggesting some far
back period of an Arab occupation, most probably of mediæval times.
Over this collection of finds was a deep bed of soil silted by rains
from higher ground, and on this surface were fragments of a Makalanga
clay floor broken up by the roots. The Arab traders gave the first
description of these ruins to the Portuguese, and Barbosa (1514), De
Barros (1552), and Livio Sanuto (1588), mention the existence of Great
Zimbabwe on the strength of information concerning it received from the
Arab gold and ivory traders.

In all probability this was an Arab trading centre of mediæval times,
and by “taking stock” of the barter goods, some corroboration of this
suggestion may be obtained. The “stock in trade” consisted of:—

  2 pints of small yellow and green glass beads which are unknown
      to present natives.

  1 pint of similar beads of larger size, also unknown to present

  100 (at least) porcelain beads, ribbed, and of sea-green
      colour, also unknown to natives.

  15 lbs. of twisted iron wire-work in large coils for making
      bangles, and cut up into lengths for bangles.

  5 lbs. of twisted brass flat wire in large coils also, not cut
      into lengths for bangles.

  5 lbs. of twisted brass rounded wire, ditto.

  4 doz. brass flat wire bangles and a great quantity of
      fragments of other bangles.

  Cowrie shells.

The mediæval traders might have received the following from the

  2 elephant tusks (decayed).
  2 wart-hog tusks.
  20 (about) pieces of beaten gold.
  Several pieces of broken gold-wire bangles.

As the Arabs traded for gold produced by the natives, and also for
ivory, no doubt they or the natives would fossick in the ruins, then
much clearer of débris, for gold which they or the Arabs might have
known was to be found in the enclosures. The beaten gold was all found
within a few inches, and though its edges were pierced with tack-holes,
pannings of the soil showed no gold tacks. As the Makalanga of those
times were at their zenith of power, it is quite possible they did the
actual searching themselves, and then parted with their finds to the
Arabs, who, as history shows, only occupied the land on sufferance, the
Arabs making their usual gain, which, according to Barbosa, was “one
hundred for one.”

It might well be asked why these old Arabs left their goods behind
them. The fickle policy of successive Monomotapas might be a sufficient
explanation of their apparently hasty exodus. According to Portuguese
records Kapranzine, the Monomotapa in 1620, sided with the Portuguese
as against the local Arabs, and the succeeding Monomotapa “Pedro” in
1643 maintained this policy. But the disappearance of the Arab traders
from Renders Ruins will in all probability always remain an unsolved
enigma. But one question may be asked with regard to the beads found
here—Were they “beads of Cambay”?

A large piece of coral still in perfect condition was found with the
Arab articles. It has been stated, with what truth the author cannot
say, that finely ground coral powder makes an excellent metal polish,
and that the Arabs and Indian metal-workers on the coast use it for
this purpose. Certainly the Arab traders up country would constantly
require to refurbish their brass goods, and so keep them attractive for
sale to the natives. Fragments of coral have been found in other ruins
at Zimbabwe, also at ruins in different parts of Southern Rhodesia very
much further inland from the coast than is Zimbabwe.

[Illustration: Section of Floors of part of N^o. 6 ENCLOSURE Elliptical
Temple looking South-East & shewing locations of “Finds” (1902–3)

  1. _Modern Kafir articles & traces of Iron smelting furnaces._

  2. _Excellent native pottery, pottery gold scorifiers, iron
      pincers, beaten gold, Arabian glass, burnishing stones,
      coral, very old yellow & green beads, large iron nails, crude
      soapstone moulds, Nankin china._

  3. _Fragments of soapstone beams._]

                              CHAPTER VII


  Introduction—Durability of Walls—Dilapidations—Makalanga
      Walls within the ruins—Remains of Native Huts found in
      Ruins—Passages—Entrances and Buttresses.

Since 1892, when the late Theodore Bent published his work on _The
Ruined Cities of Mashonaland_, and 1893, when Sir John Willoughby
issued his monograph on _Further Explorations at Zimbabwe_, though
much has been discovered concerning the varying architectural types of
ancient ruins throughout Southern Rhodesia, little has been added to
our previous meagre store of information concerning the important group
of ruins at Great Zimbabwe.

But in the work now in progress of preserving these ruins from
preventable decay and dilapidation, and of clearing away the block
débris from the faces of the walls and the huge piles of soil débris
deposited within the ruins by a long succession of explorers, both
authorised and unauthorised, there have been within the last two years
rescued from oblivion many important architectural features, the
existence of which was altogether unsuspected by previous writers. Many
of the interiors of the ruins are now exposed to view, thus enabling
examinations, comparison, and measurements to be taken which before had
been altogether impossible. Within the last eighteen months Zimbabwe
has revealed many of the long-buried secrets of the ancient architects
which were hidden from the eyes of Bent, Schlichter, and other
scientific explorers of the ruins.

Zimbabwe is stored with surprises for archæologists and antiquarians.
Absorbing romance is buried deep below its floors. Its soil is richly
charged with long-ungazed-at gold and prehistoric relics of high
intrinsic value. The mysteries of the absence in Zimbabwe of any
definite records in the form of inscriptions,[41] and also of the
non-discovery within the Zimbabwe area of the burial-places of the
ancients, have yet to be solved.

It has quite recently been held by scientists at home that the late
discoveries of ancient ruins in Rhodesia, with their classifications
into types and probable time-sequences and periods of distinct forms
of architecture, have so advanced investigations in this country
that, until similar work has been carried on among such of the ruins
of Southern Arabia as are believed to synchronise with, or be the
architectural prototypes of, the earliest of the Rhodesian monuments,
it would be idle to speak dogmatically as to the lands of origin of
the succession of ancient builders and gold miners who toiled so
industriously in this portion of South-East Africa.

Still, but so far only as authentic discoveries have been made, the
suggested occupation by the Sabæo-Arabians as outlined in chapter iii.
of _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ affords for the present a good
working hypothesis for the student in Rhodesia whose aim should be to
closely watch the operations of archæologists and antiquarians in the
land of ancient Yemen, while at the same time recording with the utmost
exactness and fullest detail all and every possible architectural
feature of such of the ruins in Rhodesia as may fall within the
description of the First Period of Zimbabwe

Architecture, of which the Great Zimbabwe is undoubtedly a most
perfect example. This work will awaken the most piquant interest and
fascination, for in this direction may be found the definite solution
of our local problem as to which particular wave of the Semitic
migrations is responsible for the erection of certain of our ruins.

That the Great Zimbabwe will be found to be pregnant with clues to
solve the mystery is undoubted. Notwithstanding two years’ work in
clearing the ruins of fallen walls and silted-in soil, nine-tenths of
the ruins still remain practically buried. Sir John Willoughby, after
spending two months in exploring the Elliptical Temple with a large
staff of labourers, writes that it would take at least two years to
complete the exploration of that building, and this without touching
anything ancient or piercing ancient floors, but simply leaving the
building clear of all débris and just in the same condition, save for
dilapidations, as the last race of ancient occupiers knew it. If,
therefore, the Elliptical Temple would require this amount of time
to be spent upon it—and this is a fair estimate of work yet to be
done—then the Acropolis ruins must require at least a further three
years to be spent upon them, and this calculation does not include
the large number of ruins in the Valley of Ruins, which, if situated
elsewhere in the country, would be considered of major importance.
But the area of the Zimbabwe ruins, as known to Sir John Willoughby,
was only 945 yds. by 940 yds. To-day, after carefully searching the
surrounding kopjes, kloofs, and valleys, other ruins and walls, and
traces of ancient walls, can be found at a distance of a mile from the
Elliptical Temple. The Bentberg has its northern face covered with
walls. Rusivanga Kopje shows foundations of walls and débris. Near
Bingura’s kraal, a mile to the south-west, is a ruin, while extensive
beds of imported gold quartz—the nearest reef being some miles
distant—with piles of ancient blocks are to be discovered after a grass
fire in almost all directions within the distance of a mile, and fresh
traces of old peoples, other than those early Makalanga, are to be met
with in the course of almost every walk. Thus the probabilities of new
and important discoveries are incalculably great.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Degree of durability of walls._—(_a_) As may be seen by anyone
inspecting the walls, as well as on perusing the published description
of many ruins of the earliest types, the elliptical and curved form
of building has proved the most durable. In many instances the
elliptical structures are more or less intact, while the angular and
less skilfully built additions, extensions, and alterations of a later
period have largely become ruinous and chaotic.

(_b_) This is accounted for by the more excellent workmanship in the
construction of the ruins of the elliptical type, which have far
broader foundations, are more massive, have a decided batter-back both
inside and outside, bonded courses, the blocks of each course being
more carefully selected, and the summits tied with “throughs,” while
the angular type of ruins, with their plumb walls built on straight
lines, with independent faces either side and carelessly filled-in
interiors, and a less superior workmanship, have caused these walls to
suffer more than the older type of ruins.

(_c_) Walls built on curved lines are in a far better state of
preservation than those built on straight lines, the curves having
served to strengthen the walls.

(_d_) Rounded ends of walls and rounded buttresses have proved to be
far more durable than angular ends or squared buttresses, though most
of these latter erections are obviously of a later date.

(_e_) The portions of divisional walls near main walls are in a better
state of preservation than the other portions which are in the open
parts of the ruins. This is owing to the protection and support of the
larger walls. Many of the divisional walls are practically independent,
and therefore more liable to collapse, but if not independent the
number of entrances passing through them practically makes them such.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Dilapidations._—At Zimbabwe both the ravages of time, as well as
preventable damage during the last decade, have brought about the
wholesale destruction of walls as seen to-day in their dilapidated
condition. This is the plaint of all who have known the ruins since
the time of the occupation. These all bemoan the fact that on each
renewed visit to the ruins some wall is found to have disappeared, or
some new bulging out of the massive structures threatens serious and
immediate destruction, which no amount of lateral support or pinning
up can now possibly prevent. Many such visitors complain that the
decorative patterns are becoming less perfect. Photographs show this to
be the case. In fact, so much dilapidation has taken place within the
last few years that it is a common remark of pioneers that “the ruins
are becoming less and less every year,” while intense disappointment
and vexation are expressed by “old hands” when they revisit the temple
after an interval of a few years at the serious reduction in the height
of the Conical Tower. Photographs of the tower taken as recently as
1896 represent the summit as being higher than is seen to-day, while
almost every photograph taken within the last two or three years of any
single part of these ruins shows portions, if not the whole, of walls,
with their distinctive features that have completely disappeared. To
those who venerate these ancient edifices nothing can be sadder than a
comparison of the ruins as seen to-day with the ruins as they were some
years ago.

But before dealing with the dilapidations of later years it might be
well to examine the history of such of the dilapidations as can be
read in the wall débris heaps which line the bases of every wall, for
these débris heaps can be read with the same facility as one can read a
book. These dilapidations are what might be termed legitimate, being
the natural results of the ravages of time, which no means taken could
possibly have avoided, and which have extended for very many centuries
on end since the latest of the ancient occupiers disappeared.

In Tintern, Melrose, and many another old building at Home we have
ruins even now incomplete, owing to the dilapidations of but a few
hundred years. But the most ancient ruins of Great Britain, excepting,
of course, Stonehenge, the round towers of Ireland, the Druidical
circles of Wales, the stone circles and cloven stones of the Isle of
Man, and the reputed pagan temples found elsewhere, and certain of the
Roman remains of which at present little is known, possess histories,
and _Domesday Book_, and even much later records, state the names of
the actual builders of these castles and abbeys. These buildings have
a stamp upon them of modernity which is altogether absent at Zimbabwe,
in comparison with the age of which the term “ancient,” as applied
to those at Home, elastic as it is, sounds strangely inappropriate.
And yet after a comparatively short period of non-occupation of these
castles and buildings only sections of them can now be seen. Guides
will state that the walls have been quarried for material for farm
buildings, most probably for the erection of the adjoining mansion, and
that portions were destroyed by lightning.

But Zimbabwe, with its minimum age of some three millenniums,
stands far more firm, more intact, and complete than any one of the
comparatively few-centuried old ruins to be found anywhere at Home.
Planted in South-East Africa at over two hundred miles inland from the
coast, in the midst of populations that know nothing whatever of its
origin, Zimbabwe’s massive and imposing walls reveal even to the most
casual and indifferent of visitors the plan, purpose, and design of the
original builders. Yet has it been subjected for three millenniums to
the destructive agency of lightning storms, the frequency and severity
of which in South-East Africa are well known. Severe earthquakes must
have shaken its foundations, but the massive walls remain practically
intact. Arab tradition speaks of violent earthquakes in South-East
Africa during the fifth century, while the condition of some of the
ruins in Rhodesia, where the walls have fallen _en bloc_ sideways on to
the ground, testifies to frequent, general, and violent earth-movements
and earth-strains having taken place. The South-East African cyclones
passing over it during thirty centuries probably have caused further
dilapidations. Still, though so many walls at Zimbabwe remain more
or less intact, it would be impossible to estimate the extent to
which many walls may have suffered, or what have possibly disappeared
altogether from the effects of earthquakes, for it would be difficult
to suppose that these extensive ruins—some walls being built on the
actual brink of precipices—have escaped all the destructive effects of
earth-movements and storms which have occurred during the last three
thousand years.

The action of sub-tropical rains for centuries has destroyed whole
lengths of walls. For instance, a trench which occupied half a dozen
labourers two days to excavate was, after a heavy shower lasting but an
hour, completely filled up by mud streams from a higher level. There
is hardly a wall on the Acropolis Hill that has not had to bear some
added weight of silted soil from higher levels, and these in places
have been so extensive that when accumulated on the upper sides of
walls the effect has been to push the wall bodily over. In this way the
terraces of enclosures round the north, west, and south faces of the
Acropolis have in most instances been entirely filled up and buried,
while in others the outer and down-side wall has been burst through
and destroyed. Streams of water during storms of real African violence
have worn deep channels along the bases of some of the walls, exposing
the foundations which bridge across the holes, the water causing the
decomposition of the cement bed of the foundations and making the
wall throughout its complete height to sway downwards and to bulge
threateningly outwards. Some of these water-made holes up against the
bases of the walls contained damp and moisture all through the dry
season, especially those on the south side of walls where the holes
were protected from the sun. In as many cases as possible for the time
engaged on the preservation work (1902–4) these spots were levelled,
and catchment areas were made, so that for the future no rain-water can
lodge there, but the waving lines of the courses in the walls still
show where these holes existed.

In a similar way block débris falling from higher levels has lodged
behind lower walls and eventually pressed them over. In some instances
on the Acropolis a mass of walling has fallen from a great height and
completely demolished walls below. These were no gradual dilapidations,
but instances where sections of the higher wall had gone completely
over _en masse_. Such falls almost entirely explain the damage done
to the outer walls of the South-East Ancient Ascent, lengths of which
have evidently been made good by Kafirs of a very old period, as the
well-built ancient foundations can be seen below the later walls.

But some walls have also been seriously damaged by falls of huge slabs
and boulders from the faces of the granite cliffs, buttresses have been
broken, entrances and passages completely blocked up if not utterly
demolished. These falls, though later than the times of the ancients,
occurred very long ago, for the depressions in the cliffs from which
these slabs and boulders fell are now become weather-stained, but the
shapes of the depressions and of the slabs and boulders still agree. It
is conjectured that the gap in the central portion of the main wall of
the Eastern Temple was caused by the fall of an immense boulder from
the summit of the sixty-foot cliff on the north side of the temple.
By the moving forward of a boulder for six feet from the position it
occupied at the time of the ancients—and they had utilised this boulder
in forming the west entrance of the same temple—the entrance was
completely blocked up.

But there is a process of dilapidation going on continually, a
process which, judging by the débris piles, has been operating for
many centuries. When walking near a wall one has to be very careful
not to walk under any of the overhanging blocks on the summit of the
wall. Some of these blocks are very delicately poised on the edges of
the walls, so much so that it seems as if a shout would cause them
to fall. Wherever possible these blocks have been drawn back flush
again with the face of the wall, but in very many cases the walls
are so ruined that it would be dangerous work to do this. It is one
of the unfortunate effects of this ancient dry masonry that when one
block topples over a small cascade of blocks usually follows it. Such
falls, followed by cascades of blocks, are continually taking place.
One hears them night and day, especially after rains, and frequently
these cascades, especially those from walls above the precipice
on the Acropolis, will continue uninterruptedly for some minutes
together. There are many points in walls so threatening to collapse
that no builder’s art of shoring-up could possibly prevent their fall,
for sooner or later they must come down with a crash. Natives give
the information that from the time of their childhood they always
remembered these falls taking place when no one was near the walls.
Probably the noise of falling blocks, especially at night, has served
to inspire the local natives with some of the dread in which after
sundown they regard the ruins. After a heavy shower one can always find
some damage done to the walls. This is mainly due to the quantity of
silted soil behind walls, which, becoming overgutted with water, forces
the walls over. The only remedy, and that a partial one, would appear
to be to remove the silted soil from behind the walls, but to complete
such operations a large gang of labourers would have to be engaged for
many months. Still the complaint of the early pioneer that the walls
at Zimbabwe are gradually becoming not only less but fewer remains
perfectly incontrovertible.

But there is an infinitude of other causes working for the dilapidation
of the ancient walls at Zimbabwe, and some of these are undoubtedly
preventable. It was for the purpose of removing such causes of damage
that the recent work of preservation was undertaken on behalf of the
Rhodesian Government, and these operations it is the purpose of this
volume to describe.

The Great Zimbabwe, as also the many associated ruins scattered
throughout Southern Rhodesia, has been subject to wholesale destruction
of its walls by the growth of trees, the presence of damp, the falling
of immense trees across walls, the quarrying of its walls by past and
present natives for building material, for cattle kraals, and other
purposes. All the ruins at Zimbabwe afford ample evidences of the
ravages caused by vegetable growth, and no ruin appears to have escaped
some measure of destruction from this cause.

In 1902 the Elliptical Temple was found to be full of large trees of
immense girth, some being at least sixty feet in height. The shelter
from the chilly winds prevailing at night and in the dry winter
season, and the protection from damage to bark by grass fires provided
by the high and massive walls, together with the perpetual state
of damp from wet season to wet season prevailing within the walls,
the close, hothouse temperature most favourable to the promotion of
growth, provided an area in which trees and plants could flourish most

The trees within the temple are almost all hard woods of slow growth.
One tree, not by any means a large one, showed by its rings an age of
over a hundred years. The numerous fig-trees must be of great age.
The three immense hard-wood trees in the centre of the building may
possibly be a hundred years old. The rest of the temple was as full of
soft-wooded trees as space permitted, while the branches of trees near
the main walls crowded over the tops of the walls towards the outside.
Undergrowth of monkey-ropes, wild vines, thorn creepers, and large
bushes formed a dense jungle through which it was almost impossible to
pass, while the damp maintained the soil in a wet, soggy state, the
trees being covered with orchids and long, trailing festoons of lichen,
the shaded walls being one mass of creepers, green moss, lichens, and
ferns, and dripping with damp. Certainly such growth made the temple
beautifully picturesque, and added greatly to its weird, desolate, and
solemn appearance.

But a succession of “dust-devils” or “wind twisters” that very
frequently pass over the country in the breathless sultry hours of
noon passed over Zimbabwe on the second day after our arrival, and at
once demonstrated what damage the trees were inflicting on the ruins.
Branches were set crunching and thumping on the summits of all the
walls, soft-wood trees bent and swept the walls of loose blocks, two
huge hard-wood branches remorselessly scraped noisily up and down the
sides and on the top of the Conical Tower, while small trees growing
on the actual summits of the walls shook and bent and still further
loosened the blocks among which their roots extended. During the few
minutes these “twisters” lasted the labourers studiously avoided the
walls from which the ancient blocks were falling. Under every branch
that crossed over a wall was a deep depression in the summit caused
by the branch thudding upon it. Many of the trees growing close to
the walls had, with long years of banging against the side of the
wall, lost all their bark on their inner sides, and these had become
perfectly flat. All this havoc, caused by rocking trees and sweeping
branches, and by huge broken limbs falling upon interior walls, must
have been going on for many years. The effect has been to cause the
removal of the “throughs,” ties, and large bonding stones with which
the ancients secured the summits of the walls, and these once gone
the wall was subject to rapid dilapidation. Later, during high winds
which prevailed for some days, it was most distressing to hear the
noise of the trees grating and heavily beating against the walls,
and the constant falling down of ancient blocks. The effects of such
destruction can be seen to-day in the broken edges of the summits
and in the deep depressions which occur at intervals along the lines
of both main and divisional walls. Even the chevron pattern has been
irretrievably damaged by branches of trees growing outside the temple,
while the little tower in the Sacred Enclosure has, within the last few
years, been thrown over by a huge branch.

But in 1902–4 all trees growing near walls were felled, all projecting
branches and rotten limbs were removed, as well as all trees which
caused damp to collect on walls, while a general thinning out was made
of all branches which interfered with a general view all round the
building. Such trees as had done all the possible harm they could do
and all trees standing at a distance from walls were left standing.
The result has been to make the temple less “picturesque” than in its
neglected state, but it still remains picturesque. The temple now
appears to be larger, and its massive proportions now made visible
stand out far more prominently than before.

The present trees appear to have been the first that ever grew within
the temple area. In the soil removed from ancient floors there were
no signs of any older generations of trees having existed. The first
appear to have arrived with the soil brought in by the past Makalanga
in the course of their usual practice of converting ancient enclosures
into platforms on which to erect their huts. The trees evidently
flourished in the soil made rich by huge piles of bones of oxen and
buck, the remains of feasts and sacrifices. Except in a few instances
where rain-water was unable to escape, and has caused the ancient
cement flooring to become decomposed, the roots of the trees rarely
pierce below the ancient floors, the surfaces of which are covered with
matted roots closely interwoven in masses like the roots of a large
plant growing in a small pot.

The jungle growth of small trees, bushes, and creepers would seem to be
the result of excavators, who have broken up the hard clay floors of
the old Makalanga and thus ventilated the soil below, as those places
where most excavation work has been done have produced the greatest
quantities of trees and the densest jungles. Until the whole of this
foreign soil is removed down to the level of an ancient floor this
jungle growth will always spring up afresh.

But the growth of creepers such as monkey-rope, wild vines, and a
climbing plant known as “Zimbabwe creeper,” has wrought untold havoc,
but mainly on the faces of the walls. These creepers pierce into the
joints of the dry masonry and emerge at a point some feet higher up.
Later the branch inside the wall swells and forces out of the face of
the wall all the blocks between the points where it enters into and
emerges from the wall. This destruction of the walls by creepers is
seen in many places at every one of the numerous ruins at Zimbabwe.
Monkey-rope at the Elliptical Temple and wild vine on the Acropolis
have been the most destructive agents of any of the creeper plants. The
“Zimbabwe creeper” was found to be growing on the temple walls with
its roots on the summits. This plant covered the main walls as with a
thick green mantle, at some points completely hiding the entire surface
of the walls. It also had its roots in the interstices of the Chevron
Pattern, from the blocks of which it hung in festoons of over one
hundred-weight each. This constant strain on the pattern has effected
some destruction in addition to the injuries caused by the overhanging
boughs of trees. The dilapidation of the walls of the Elliptical Temple
is fairly typical of the dilapidations at all the ruins at Zimbabwe.

But there are also minor causes for the dilapidation seen in the walls
outside the larger ruins. The restless herd of some seventy cattle
belonging to the Mogabe climb the lower walls with ease, and will walk
along their whole length clanking the ancient blocks, and awkwardly
clamber down broken ends of walls and gaps, bringing down a cataract
of blocks as they descend. Some two hundred goats appear to live on
the walls. Large baboons can be seen taking their morning exercise on
the walls of the Acropolis, and as these scamper about and chase one
another the blocks fall off the walls. Natives pull out the faces of
the walls to secure honey, or in ferreting out small animals for food.

It must also be remembered that the ancient walls have been quarried by
Makalanga of past times and even by the present local Makalanga, all
of whom have extensively used the ancient blocks for their inferior
walls. But perhaps the greatest amount of dilapidation was effected
when the large enclosed areas of the ruins were filled up and converted
into raised platforms. In these instances, which are very numerous, the
divisional walls suffered most, the blocks from their summits being
thrown into the area till the interior was raised from 4 ft. to 7 ft.
above the ancient floors, when clay floors were laid upon the filling

On entering the Elliptical Temple of the Acropolis one of the first
questions asked by visitors is—Are all these walls ancient? It is to
the interest of our local archæological researches that such a question
should be fairly dealt with, and the frank admission made that certain
of the walls are not ancient. In examining the evidences against the
antiquity of such walls a further proof is secured, were it needed,
that such of the walls as are ancient possess undoubtedly the true seal
of antiquity.

_Makalanga walls within ancient ruins at Zimbabwe._—It would be
preposterous to expect anyone who visited the ruins to believe that
every single wall one saw at Zimbabwe, whether at the Elliptical Temple
or on the Acropolis, was necessarily ancient.

Some of the slighter-built walls within the ruins, which are of poor
construction, and were once thought to be ancient, can now be shown
to have been built by the Makalanga, the evidences of whose long and
successive periods of occupation of these ruins are not only most
obvious to all explorers and are confirmed by finds and conditions
generally, but are a matter both of actual history as well as of
tradition among the local natives themselves. Some of the ruins have
been used by them for kraals, others—the smaller ones—were converted
into cattle kraals with the huts outside the walls, while some have
served both purposes. It is highly probable, judging by the state of
the wall-débris, that the natives, in converting an ancient enclosure
into a cattle kraal, have found portions of the divisional walls to be
so dilapidated that they have rebuilt those portions after their own
peculiar and recognisable fashion in order to keep in the cattle, at
the same time building up gaps and entrances.

While, according to statements of natives and judging also from the
state of the ruins, there has been no occupation of the Elliptical
Temple as a place of residence for the last three generations,
still there are Makalanga walls to be seen, both here and in the
Acropolis, at which latter ruins was the kraal, till four years ago,
of the present Mogabe; and on the Acropolis are walls of Makalanga
construction, both old and comparatively recent. The western enclosures
of the Elliptical Temple have been used as cattle kraals up to the
early seventies.

The following are some of the evidences of Makalanga construction of
walls within the ruins:—

(_a_) The definite and circumstantial claim of the Makalanga to have
built certain walls, and their ability to assign particular generations
for the erection of other walls.

(_b_) The construction of such walls is identified with obvious
Makalanga buildings in their kraals, where there are no ancient ruins.
The purpose of the later walls is in many instances patent, especially
when the smell of the modern byres still lingers in the soil of the
areas used by natives as cattle kraals enclosed by such walls.

(_c_) Stones once part of the faces of ancient walls are used in the
construction of those walls, the weather-stained, lichen-covered, and
decomposed faces of the blocks being turned inside the walls either
sideways or backwards, while the walls show no sign of age, and have a
comparatively fresh appearance. Slate and granite monoliths, as well
as ordinary slate beams which had once been lintels, have been used as
building material.

(_d_) Débris heaps of ancient blocks have been used as foundations, and
sometimes these heaps acted as sections in the length of wall.

(_e_) Frequently such walls are built in a very irregular line along
the almost buried summits of ancient walls, and across filled-in
entrances and even passages, the foundations of such walls projecting
from underneath the Makalanga walls on either side.

(_f_) Some of the Makalanga walls are built over damp, black leaf mould
containing undecayed vegetable matter and also ordinary Kafir articles,
the mould being over a stratum of red clay foundations of Makalanga
huts, and with two or three feet of soil and stones between the clay
and any floor below for which antiquity could be claimed. Makalanga
pottery has been used to support and wedge up uneven ends of blocks.

(_g_) The made foundations of Makalanga walls are of common clay, those
of ancient walls being of a splendid quality of granite cement.

(_h_) Nothing ancient or even approaching to antiquity is ever
discovered on the levels of the bases of Makalanga walls, but round
about their bases quantities of Makalanga articles may be found, some
perhaps of better make and quality than now produced by them.

(_i_) Local natives can to-day build very fair stone walls, but these
have straight joints and are without tie or bonding, the courses are
most erratic, and the line of wall wavering. The common feature of
Makalanga wall construction is to build the stones up exactly over one
another, giving the appearance to the wall of being built on columns.
Their stone walls of cattle kraals can be seen in many deserted
villages, as well as other of their walls where there are no ancient
ruins. The Makalanga graves in the passages, both in the Elliptical
Temple and in the Acropolis, were very well built in with cross-walls.

(_j_) The Makalanga since mediæval times have always been known as
builders in stone. Their circular hut and granary foundations of stone
can still be seen in many parts of the country, especially on the
clay floors of filled-in enclosures of ancient ruins of the terraced
order. This art is mentioned by Mr. Selous and by almost all writers
on this country before the Occupation, and pioneers and early settlers
have affirmed this to be the case. Bent gives the names of Makalanga
villages which he visited where these contained stone buildings of
native construction. The names of other villages where such buildings
are to be found are given by other writers. Bent actually saw their
stone-building operations being carried on at Chipanza’s kraal.
Professor Bryce describes a Makalanga village with stone buildings, but
just as the arts of mining, smelting, wire-twisting, and cloth weaving
are now fast disappearing on the advent of the cheap imported article,
and on the natives finding other objects upon which to spend their
time and labour, the art of stone building is becoming neglected. Old
pioneers visiting the ruins are unanimous in affirming that such walls
so built and so conditioned are of undoubted Makalanga construction.
There are stone buildings at Cherimabila’s kraal, nine miles west from
Zimbabwe. Mr. Drew considers the Barotse to be now the best stone
builders in this district.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Other walls not ancient._[42]—But there are other walls in these ruins
which are not believed to be ancient, and these have not been erected
by recent generations of Makalanga, but possibly by mediæval Makalanga,
or by Arabs, who had large influential colonies in this country,
especially at the various Zimbabwes of the successive Monomotapas.
The arguments against these walls being ancient are just as numerous
and equally as cogent as those just enumerated, but the consideration
of such walls is dealt with in detail in the description of the walls

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Remains of native huts found in the ruins._—In many of the enclosures
of the ruins at Zimbabwe are to be found on the present surfaces, and
frequently, if the floor of the interior is not formed by the rock
formation, on two floors beneath it, the remains of at least three
entirely different descriptions of native huts. This is a feature
constantly met with in ancient ruins throughout Southern Rhodesia,
and in the early days of investigation these remains occasioned
considerable perplexity to the explorer. In some ruins only one type of
such structures is found, in others two classes of such dwellings, and
in others three if not four different types of structure, all the three
main types presenting different features in plan, construction, and

That these erections are not ancient is a matter of ocular

(_a_) This is shown by their position on the clay floors laid over the
débris which has been filled into the enclosure to the depth of
from 3 ft. to 7 ft. above any ancient floor, hiding rounded entrances,
passages, and smaller sub-divisional walls, and burying, as at some
ruins, the ancient decorative patterns on the walls. The examination
of the material employed, and the class of its make so similar to the
remains of native huts in old deserted villages, all negative any
suggestion of antiquity.



(_b_) The stonework of the foundations is, as is shown later, of a
totally different character from that in undoubted ancient walls, and
is practically identical with the stone foundations of granaries still
to be seen in any of the villages, some of which are not twelve months

(_c_) The “finds” in these structures do not suggest ancient
occupation, but they include articles of superior native make and
design, some of which are either not now used by Makalanga or Barotse,
or are only met with in rare instances, but are claimed by local
natives as having been made and used by previous generations of their
people. For instance, double iron gongs, such as are plentifully found
north of the Zambesi and in the higher Congo districts, where they may
still be seen in actual use, pictures of which occur in works of travel
in Central Africa; or copper bangles of exceedingly fine wire, which
ornaments have fallen into desuetude and can be but seldom met with
now; or carved soapstone daha pipe-bowls, for the making of which the
Zimbabwe Makalanga, even at the time of the Occupation, were famous.

(_d_) Several of these structures at Zimbabwe are claimed by the local
Makalanga and Barotse to have been built by their respective people of
previous generations. The Barotse lived on the Bentberg at Zimbabwe
up to fifty or sixty years ago. The remains of their old kraal can be
seen to-day. The circular shallow stone foundations of their huts,
the courses rising in “cat-steps,” the immense rounded clay rims
which supported the poles of the sides of their dwellings, are still
in evidence. These were erected on platforms made by filling in the
spaces between the inner sides of ancient enclosure walls and the slope
of the hill, a practice to be noticed on all the faces of Zimbabwe
Hill, except the eastern.

The different types of such structures so found in the ruins may be
described as follows:—

(1) The ordinary clay ruins of a present-day Makalanga hut, with clay
floors, butt-ends of side poles still in position, clay ruins on floor
marking off the fire-place, the stand for pots, the higher floor for
sleeping-place of occupants and the lower floor for goats. These are
found on the present surface or immediately under black leaf mould
soil, and resemble huts built in local kraals, only they are neater,
of better make, and of slightly superior quality of clay. The articles
found here are similar to those belonging to present Makalanga.

(2) The foundations of huts with large rims of clay with rounded
edges on both sides, the diameter being some 9 ft. to 12 ft., and the
rims 16 in. in length and about the same width, the poles being fixed
along the centres of the rims. The material in the floor and in the
rim is of a superior quality of clay, which builders state it would
be misleading to describe as cement. Under the clay floors, which are
about 3 in. thick, are platforms of stones laid flatwise in three or
four courses, the outer faces of the courses receding from 1 in. to 3
in. behind the faces of the courses below. Sometimes the stonework is
laid upon a bed of clay. This class of hut is found upon a lower level
than the undoubted Makalanga dwelling. In the Eastern Temple this type
of remains was uncovered at a depth of 3 ft. below the surface, and
there were no less than two clay floors, each with a layer of ashes,
and two granite cement floors below it. These can be seen in the trench
made alongside the stone foundation. Glass beads of old make, copper
spearheads, and thick copper bangles, beaten copper and copper tacks
were among the principal finds discovered in this type of building.
In and near such remains were found the four double iron gongs (May,
1902-March, 1903), piles of animal bones split open in ordinary Kafir
style for marrow, broken pottery, and quantities of ashes.

(3) On still lower levels were found the floors and lower portions of
the sides of huts made of a red-coloured cement without poles fixed in
the cement sides. This is not ordinary daga. The inside faces of the
walls, as well as the floors which are beautifully smooth, have been
baked with fire, and fragments will ring almost like metal, portions
having become white with the heat. This cement has in most instances
been faced with a thin yellow glaze. On the floors are quantities of
small rims very neatly bevelled, with three or four parallel faces on
the top, the ends of the rims being rounded off. The bevelled rims
are from 1½ in. to 4 in. wide. The roofs of these buildings were
supported by poles inserted in the cement floors outside the huts at
the distance in many instances of 1 ft. The posts round the outside of
the huts were from 1 ft. 6 in. to 2 ft. 4 in. apart, and, judging by
their butt-ends, which have been preserved by the cement, were made of
hard woods, including mahobohobo, which is plentiful at Zimbabwe. The
best examples of these huts, of which some score can be seen, are in
No. 1 Enclosure in the Elliptical Temple, in the North-West Enclosure,
Acropolis, and on the cleared section of floor in the Western Temple.
These huts stand on cement platforms without stone foundations, and the
platforms are about 1 ft. high, and the top edges are neatly bevelled.
In two of these remains at Zimbabwe have been found gold dust, iron
spring pincers with flux on the top, pottery, gold scorifiers, and the
crudely-shaped soapstone moulds.

Old pioneers assert that these buildings are of Makalanga construction.
The Makalangas themselves claim these as having been built by their
people in a very remote past. Similar buildings, but without traces
of gold-smelting, are known to have been built by the Makalanga in
different parts of Southern Mashonaland.

Mr. Alfred Drew, Native Commissioner for Victoria district, who
arrived in this country in 1890, and is a recognised authority on old
Makalanga buildings, expresses his entire agreement with the above
descriptions of old native clay huts, also with the conclusions arrived
at concerning them.

(4) There is another class of native hut which is not very frequently
found in Southern Rhodesia, but is commonly met with in Basutoland
and Swaziland, and in other territories further south. At Zimbabwe
there are four such huts on the higher floors of filled-in ruins. This
class of hut is constructed of cement of a good quality and of great
thickness, with no poles to support the roof. It is circular in form,
and from its exterior sides are four, sometimes five, short radiating
walls of stones extending outward some 5 ft. or 6 ft. The walls are
about 4 ft. wide, and in height reach almost to the top of the cement
sides of the hut. The entrance usually has an immense cement buttress
on either side, while between each radiating wall, and at the base of
the side of the hut, runs a cement bevel rounded on its outer edge as
if to form a seat. This bevel is about 14 in. high and 16 in. wide. In
all weathers and at any time of day the occupiers could have sat in
some one of these partially open spaces between the radiating walls
sheltered from sun, rain, or wind. The remains of two such huts were
found in the Western Temple on the Acropolis, and one of the radiating
walls of one of them, which was more exposed and less ruined than the
other short walls, was fixed upon by Swan as an “altar.” This wall is B
wall, mentioned in the description of the Western Temple, which follows
in Chapter XV.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Passages._—Every writer on Zimbabwe appears to have been greatly
struck with the number of passages both at the Elliptical Temple and
on the Acropolis, and particularly with their labyrinthine character.
During 1902–4 further passages were discovered and opened out, and
these had a total length of 2,130 ft. The total length of passages
opened out, or which can be clearly traced, now amounts to 5,202 ft. As
is shown later in this section, this by no means exhausts the tale of
passages to be found at Zimbabwe.

  _Elliptical Temple_:—

      Situation of Passages.           Cleared.  Traced.
    Parallel Passage                  193 ft.
    Inner Parallel Passage             71  〃
    South Passage                      73  〃
    *West Passage                      30  〃      30 ft.
    *South Entrance to No. 10
       Enclosure                       14  〃

  _Outside Elliptical Temple_:—

    Outer Parallel Passage            125 ft.
    *North-East Passage (remainder
       of length included in the
       “Valley of Ruins” passages)     50  〃

  _Acropolis or Hill Ruins_:—

    South-East Ancient Ascent         349 ft.   1260 ft.
    Higher Parapet                     78  〃
    Central Passage                   103  〃
    *Sunken Passage, Eastern Temple
       (traced further)                28  〃
    North Passage, Eastern Temple      23  〃
    *South Cave Passage                46  〃
    Covered Passage (cleared in 1902)  10½ 〃
    Parallel Passage                   71  〃      20 ft.
    *Cleft Rock Enclosure to foot of
       Platform stairs                 10  〃
    Winding Stairs                     14  〃
    Upper Passage                      28 ft.
    East Passage                       80  〃
    Buttress Passage                   39  〃
    *South Passage                     38  〃
    Pattern Passage (upper portion
       cleared in 1902)                51  〃

  _North-West Ascent_:—

    *Sunken Passage in Platform
       Enclosure                       72 ft.
    Ditto through main wall            16  〃
    Ditto on Northern Parapet          28  〃
    *Ditto from Northern Parapet to
       Visitors’ Part                 223  〃
    *Ditto from Visitors’ Part to
       Water Gate                     150  〃     510 ft.

  _Minor Ruins_:—

    *Outspan Ruins                     56 ft.
    Ridge Ruins, Parallel Passage     246  〃
    *Ridge Ruins, other passages       25  〃
    No. 1 Ruins                       142  〃

  _Valley of Ruins_:—

    *North-East Passage                          600 ft.
    Passage referred to by Mr. Bent              300  〃
    *Posselt Ruins, Parallel Passage   65 ft.
    *Philips Ruins                     51  〃
    *Maund Ruins                       24  〃
    *Mauch Ruins                       99  〃
    *Renders Ruins                     31  〃
                                    —————————  —————————
        Totals                      2,752 ft.  3,620 ft.

  * These passages were discovered in 1902–4.

In addition to these totals of lengths of passages cleared out or
traced, there are many other passages still buried in débris, the
outcrop of their side walls being seen here and there on the surface
near several ruins. Many, of course, must be completely buried under
the veld, for some were lately discovered at least 3 ft. below the
surface, with native paths crossing them in all directions, while it
is quite reasonable to suppose that with the great area of ruins yet
unexplored very many more passages will yet be found, especially when
it is recollected that the discovery of one buried passage has most
frequently led to the discovery of several side passages.

Traces were found of two other passages leading from the base to the
summit of the Acropolis Hill, and these remain unexplored, and each
would be fully 900 ft. in length, while traces of several lines of
passages are to be seen encircling at various heights the south, west,
and north faces of the Acropolis Hill. These also at present remain

There are many points of interest concerning these passages:—

(_a_) Passages were evidently constructed as part of the plan of the
fortifications, but in some instances only as means of communication
between certain buildings within the fortified area and for securing
privacy. In the one class of passage buttresses and traverses are
repeated with a marvellous redundancy; in the other class of passage
not a single buttress or traverse is to be found.

(_b_) In passages leading from main ruins to exterior buildings the
walls of the passage nearer the main ruins are better built, and the
steps and floors are better constructed in the portions nearer the
main ruins than are those of the more distant portions of the passage.
So imperceptibly do the better-built portions merge into the less
superior class of wall that it is extremely difficult to ascertain the
exact point where the change in the quality of the construction takes
place, though the difference in the class of building at one end of
the passage and that of the other is most obvious. But though this
difference in the construction of the passage walls is so apparent,
there is no suggestion that portions were of a later period, for
they are built upon one plan, have one line of direction, serve as a
complete communication with one obvious and particular point, and one
length of the passage without the other would be purposeless, so far
as the intention of the builders may be gathered. With regard to the
passages ascending the Acropolis Hill, the completeness of the plan of
these passages is best seen from the summit of the hill or from the
summit of Makuma Kopje on the opposite side of the valley, from which
heights respectively a complete view of those passages in their entire
length is to be obtained.

(_c_) Excepting some of the passages in the Elliptical Temple and a few
others on the Acropolis, all the passages at Zimbabwe are exceedingly
narrow and tortuous, many being only shoulder wide, while, owing to
their winding lengths, it is not possible to see many feet on ahead.
Such of these passages as have their floors below the levels of
adjoining enclosures have in many places their side walls bulged by
the weight of earth and débris behind into the passage-ways, and in
some such instances the side walls have collapsed and blocked up the

(_d_) Almost every passage appears to have originally been paved with
blocks which were covered over with granite cement, but the cement,
except in a few instances, has decomposed and been washed away by
centuries of rains, though abundant traces of it remain.

(_e_) Sunken passages built very much below the levels of the ancient
floors on either side of them are numerous. The best instances of
sunken passages are the North-East Passage between the Elliptical
Temple and the Valley of Ruins, also the North-West Ascent to the
Acropolis (upper portion), and the sunken passage in the Eastern
Temple on the Acropolis.

(_f_) The walls of the ascents to the Acropolis as originally built
would have precluded any outsider from seeing, even if standing on
an adjoining kopje, the movements of people passing up and down the
ascents; and to-day as a native ascends these passages it is almost
impossible to see him till he reaches the summit, except as he is
passing gaps or walls which have become considerably dilapidated. Some
of the outer walls of these ascents are still 10 ft. in height.

(_g_) The Elliptical Temple and the Western Temple on the Acropolis
have each long and narrow and deep parallel passages on the inside of
their main walls, and it is possible that the Pattern Passage served
for a similar purpose at the Eastern Temple. The Parallel Passage in
the Elliptical Temple communicated only between the North Entrance and
the Sacred Enclosure where are the conical towers, and this passage has
no communication with any other portion of the interior of the temple.
Several of the known writers on these ruins, including Bent, have
conjectured that these parallel passages in the temples were reserved
for the use of the priests.

(_h_) Cliffs and large boulders have been frequently utilised to form
lengths of passages. Instances of this practice are to be seen on
the Acropolis in the Rock Passage of the South-East Ancient Ascent,
Buttress Passage, North Passage, and elsewhere. In some instances the
walls are made to go out of their line so as to include neighbouring
boulders, the sole object, so it would appear, being to deprive any
invading force of the vantage offered by the height of the boulders for
an attack to be made on the passage.

(_i_) There are no evidences that any of the passages, except as stated
later, were ever roofed. Possibly the winding stairs and the sunken
passage in the Eastern Temple were originally covered over, as a great
quantity of long, flat slate beams were found on their floors. It is
believed that a single wall once crossed over the sunken passage in
Platform Enclosure at about 15 ft. from its upper end, for when this
passage was opened in 1902 slate beams were found at this spot, but at
no other point in the passage. The passage through the main west wall
of the Western Temple, which was blocked up by a Makalanga-built wall,
of course, was covered over by the main wall, while the Covered Passage
in the same temple remains intact as originally built. Moreover, the
widths of many of the passages though narrow on their floors are
wide at the summits of their side walls, and their irregular form
precludes suggestion of any roofing having been placed over them, some
being doubly as wide as the longest of the slate and granite beams
found, beside which the general absence of long slate and granite
beams on the floors of the passages would seem to further negative
any such conjecture. The West Passage leading to the South Cave was
not artificially roofed over, but the outer wall was raised up to the
height of the boulder which overhangs the passage.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Entrances and buttresses._—When in 1891 Bent approached Zimbabwe
through North Bechuanaland, Gwanda, Tuli, and Belingwe, he passed
through the centre of that area in which the earliest of the many
ancient ruins of Rhodesia are located. All the ruins he described or
mentioned had rounded ends of walls and rounded buttresses, all angular
features being conspicuous by their absence. This fact appeared to
him so striking that he was constrained, after comparing these ruins
with Zimbabwe, to believe that such rounded features belonged to the
earliest period of Zimbabwe architecture. Fully a score of competent
writers on our ruins, whose valuable and trustworthy contributions,
based on personal examination of the same area, have been welcomed by
the leading scientific associations of Great Britain and Germany, are
also emphatic as to the rounded entrances and buttresses being one
of the chief distinctive features of the earliest Zimbabwes. This is
further demonstrated in the detailed descriptions of almost one hundred
ruins within the same area which are given in _The Ancient Ruins of
Rhodesia_, in the great majority of which ruins angular features,
except in reconstructions of a later period, are altogether absent.

[Illustration: South Entrance N^o. 7 ENCLOSURE Elliptical Temple

W. _Divisional Walls_ B. _Buttresses_ s.s. _Steps_]

But the Great Zimbabwe being the finest type of that early class of
ancient building, it may be interesting to know that Bent’s conclusion
is thoroughly confirmed by these ruins.


         Ruins.                          Rounded.  Angular.
  Elliptical Temple                         23        1
    (One other entrance is partly
      rounded and partly angular.)
  Acropolis                                 31        4
    (One of the angular entrances is
      of obviously later construction.)
  No. 1 Ruins                               10        1
    (One entrance is partly rounded
      and partly angular.)
  Valley Ruins                              33        4


         Ruins.                         Rounded.  Angular.
  Elliptical Temple                        24       Nil.
    (Two buttresses are partly angular
      and partly rounded)
  Acropolis                                19       3
  No. 1 Ruins                               8       Nil.
  Valley Ruins                              *       *

  * All rounded except three as so far discovered.

All ends of walls which are still intact are rounded, there being only
a few examples so far discovered of angular-ended walls.

[Illustration: North Entrance N^o. 7 ENCLOSURE Elliptical Temple

W. _Divisional Walls_ B. _Buttresses_ s.s _Steps_ P. _Portcullis

The above figures show conclusively that these rounded features,
excluding the ends of walls which are almost always rounded, are in a
far greater proportion than 146 to 13 which are angular, and at least
three of the latter, if not others, for reasons explained elsewhere,
can be shown to have been erected at a much later period, one being
built upon a floor of common Makalanga daga, and another débris
containing ordinary Kafir articles of no very great age.

All the entrances in the main outer walls, save one, are rounded, the
few angular entrances being found, with two exceptions, in slighter
walls, mainly divisional, some of which were erected later possibly to
suit the immediate convenience of later occupiers, for divisional walls
had been removed, reconstructed, or entirely fresh ones erected in new
directions in almost every ruin, and in some instances the foundations
of the later walls cross at right or oblique angles over the reduced
summits of older divisional walls.

Walls of the earliest period widen out as they near entrances. This
feature is not present in plumb and angular walls of later construction.

There is no evidence whatever in the rounded entrances that they were
ever covered over, but in two angular entrances on the Acropolis the
butts of the broken slate lintels still remain in the side walls.

Although there are not sufficient proofs to enable one to definitely
determine whether the rounded entrances as a rule were once covered
over, some of the evidences to negative the covering in of rounded
entrances may be noted:—

(_a_) Had such entrances been roofed in, the collapse of the lintels
must have brought down far more of the walls than have fallen.

(_b_) The courses of the blocks at the necessary height above the floor
of the entrances on either side do not always correspond.

(_c_) The top courses near the summit of the walls on either side
of the entrances show distinct signs of curving inwards towards the
entrances. This is particularly noticed on the east side of the
north-west entrance to the Elliptical Temple.

(_d_) No splinters of slate or granite beams which could have been used
as roofing were found in any of the very many rounded entrances.

(_e_) Two intact rounded entrances, one open up to the summit on either
side to a height of 19 ft., one entrance being at the east end of
Pattern Passage on the Acropolis.

No main entrance has buttresses on either hand on the outer side,
possibly because these would have provided any attacking party with
excellent shelter. All buttresses of such entrances are on the inside.
Divisional entrances which have buttresses have them on the inside only.

The entrances through a wall of the earlier period are carried over
the common foundation in the opening forming the steps, which were
evidently constructed before the side walls were erected. These steps
are large, broad, and high, and where intact look most imposing. Such
entrances resemble stiles, as they are much higher than the levels of
the floors on either side.

The entrances through an angular wall of a later period have steps
which are not part of either side walls, but were built in after the
entrance passage had been constructed, and these show poor workmanship
and are very shallow, and recede only two to four inches. As the levels
of the enclosures on either side have filled in over the original
floors, such “cat-steps” have in some instances been built over the
original large steps for the purpose of raising the floor of the
entrances, seeing that the enclosures on either side had been filled in
some feet above their original levels.

Directly opposite the main entrance of the “Outspan Ruins” is a large
circular buttress, as if it were intended to divide any attacking party
into small numbers.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Cause of dilapidation to entrance buttresses._—The entrance buttresses
with portcullis grooves are in most instances comparatively small, some
projecting only two to three feet towards the interior of the building,
and these are built up against main and divisional walls, and are in
point of construction altogether independent erections, there being no
dovetailing or binding between the buttresses and the walls.

In some of the entrances the side lintels of slate, granite, and
unworked soapstone beams have been found built into the portcullis
grooves. In _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ it was noticed that at
several of the ruins therein mentioned stone side lintels were found
_in situ_. The stone lintel posts _in situ_ at Zimbabwe had not then
been discovered. The tallest of such stone lintels at Zimbabwe is 8 ft.
above the ground. The buttresses appear to have been built after the
stone posts had been erected, for the walls at the sides of the lintel
follow the irregularities of the side faces of the beams.

The great destruction which has occurred to these structures might
possibly be accounted for by (1) the weight of the stone lintel on
getting off the perpendicular, which would lever down the buttress into
which it was built; (2) the foundations of buttresses are not so deep
as those of the main wall up against which they were built; (3) when
some later people, possibly natives, deliberately built up and blocked
the entrances they might have used the blocks of these buttresses
for their building material; (4) the passage-way between each pair
of buttresses being so very narrow, damage could easily have been
wrought by ordinary traffic; and (5) the main walls are much higher
than the summits of the buttresses, and the walls on either side of the
entrances being always more dilapidated on the summits, the falling of
huge masses of masonry on to the buttresses immediately below might
have effected their destruction.

                             CHAPTER VIII



  Drains—Battering of Walls—Monoliths—Soapstone Monoliths and
      Beams—Granite and Slate Beams—Cement dadoes—Built-up
      Crevices—Holes in Walls other than Drains—Blind Steps
      and Platforms—Ancient Walls at a Distance from Main
      Walls—Cement—Caves and Rock Holes.

                      DRAINS IN ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

_Drains through main walls_:—

1. At (352 ft.);[43] from Parallel Passage to exterior of temple; has
a decided fall outwards; curves round at half through towards south;
covered with large slabs; inner hole 1 in. below granite cement floor
of passage, which slopes downwards from either side towards hole;
interior opening 14 in. high, 9 in. wide; exterior opening, 12 in.
high, 6 in. wide.

Between Nos. 1 and 2 drains the cement floor rises a few inches to a
raised step-barrier 4 in. high, 3 ft. 10 in. broad, from which the
flooring slopes down to No. 2 drain, thus forming catchment areas for
each drain to clear off rain-water, so that each drain only had such an
area to clear which its capacity would allow.

2. At (391 ft.); from Parallel Passage to exterior of temple; decided
fall outwards; curves towards north-east; covered with large slabs;
cement floor of passage level with floor of drain; interior opening 11
in. high, 11 in. wide; exterior opening 17 in. high, 11 in. wide.

[Facing this drain and on the west side of the passage is the drain
(No. 7) from No. 14 Enclosure, described later.]

3. At (442 ft.); from Parallel Passage to Outer Parallel Passage;
fairly straight; steep fall outwards; covered with large slabs;
interior opening 12 in. high, 8 in. wide; exterior opening 15 in. high,
6 in. wide. [It was from this drain that fragments of cement lining
were taken.]

4. At (476 ft.); from Parallel Passage to Outer Parallel Passage;
partially obstructed at half-way through by stones and dirt; very
decided fall outwards; curves slightly towards east; covered with large
slabs; interior opening 11 in. high, 7 in. wide; exterior opening 10
in. high, 10 in. wide.

5. At (515 ft.); from Parallel Passage to Outer Parallel Passage;
interior opening buried in débris supporting wall threatening to
collapse; exterior opening 10 in. high, 6 in. wide; covered with large
slabs; exterior portion shows decided fall outwards; clear for 8 ft.,
probably further.

6. At (549 ft.); from No. 2 Enclosure to exterior of temple; clear for
13 ft. from interior; exterior opening buried under very old Makalanga
clay floor; covered with large slabs; interior opening 11 in. high, 8
in. wide; shows a fall outwards.

[Drains Nos. 1–6 pass through main wall at points where it is from 13
ft. 6 in. to 16 ft. wide.]

_Drains through divisional walls_:—

7. From No. 14 Enclosure to Parallel Passage facing drain 2 at (391
ft.); exterior opening 12 in. high, 7 in. wide; shows outward fall;
covered with large slabs; passes through wall 6 ft. wide at drain
level; interior end blocked up.

8. From No. 11 Enclosure to Sacred Enclosure (east); on north side of
small conical tower; penetrated for 6 ft., at which point it is blocked
up; rises sharply inside; exterior opening 9 in. high, 6 in. wide;
interior opening blocked up and covered over.

9. At north end of South Passage; from South Passage to Parallel
Passage; decided fall outwards; covered with large slabs; clear for
5 ft.; interior opening 10 in. high, 8 in. wide; blocked up at outer
opening by débris supporting dilapidated wall.

[Pieces of granite cement lining also found here in 1892 and 1902.]

10. From No. 1 to No. 3 Enclosures; at south corner of No. 3; exterior
opening 11 in. high and 7 in. wide; shows fall outwards; covered with
slabs; curves towards south; clear for 6 ft. 6 in.; interior opening
covered by clay floor of Makalanga hut.

11. From No. 15 Enclosure to Inner Parallel Passage; fall outwards;
exterior opening 12 in. high, 8 in. wide; interior opening blocked up
and covered over by soil and wall débris; clear for 5 ft.

_Drains at entrances_:—

12. Through south entrance to South Passage; discovered by Sir John
Willoughby; under centre of steps; outlet on lower face of steps.

13. Under step and parallel with wall at entrance to Sacred Enclosure
(west) from No. 9 Enclosure; two similar drains on Acropolis.

_Drains through an outer wall_:—

14. On north-west side of southern end of North-East Passage; through
base of wall 4 ft. 6 in. wide; eastern exterior opening 8 in. high, 9
in. wide; covered with lintels; clear for 3 ft.; extended eastwards as
an open drain 8 in. wide towards foot of steps of north entrance to the

15. Through wall dividing No. 10 Enclosure from Platform Area. This has
a fall eastwards, and is in a good state of preservation.



(_Also see p. 315_)]

                       DRAINS AT ACROPOLIS RUINS

16. In Western Temple, in divisional wall “A” (see plan and
description); drain-hole passes 5 ft. from north to south; northern
opening 9 in. high, 11 in. wide; impossible to state the fall owing to
stones and dirt inside; fragments of cement lining were found here in
1891, 1892, and 1902. [The interior of this temple was on the north
side of wall “A,” as well as on the south side of wall “D,” much higher
than between these two walls, which form a small amphitheatre (Bent)
within and at the west end of the larger amphitheatre formed by the
main walls of the temple. This is obvious to anyone examining the
interior. Practical builders have recently stated their belief that
when the lower and western side of this smaller amphitheatre is cleared
of débris drains will be found at the base of the main west wall,
which, so far as discoveries have been made, is the widest ancient
wall in Rhodesia. The whole interior of the temple, and the formation
rock over which, but not upon which, it is built, slant at all points
downwards to the foot of the inner face of the main wall.]

17. On west side of Upper Passage and leading from _Little Enclosure_;
exterior opening 9 in. high, 6 in. wide; clear for 3 ft. inwards;
interior opening covered with débris.

18. East corner of South Enclosure A; through south wall; 4 ft. long;
fall outwards; covered with large slabs; exterior opening 12 in. high,
8 in. wide; interior opening dilapidated.

19. East entrance of Eastern Temple leading from temple to Gold Furnace
Enclosure; under pavement of entrance; still 5 in. deep.

                       DRAINS IN VALLEY OF RUINS

20. In B section of Posselt Ruins in a divisional wall at extreme
north-west end of ruins.

21. In B section of Posselt Ruins in a divisional wall on north side 4
ft. wide.

22. In B section of Posselt Ruins in main south wall.

23. In Philips Ruins through a substantial wall east of large curved

24. In Philips Ruins through wall on east side of previous drain.

25. In Mauch Ruins in divisional wall.

26. In Mauch Ruins in east main wall.

27. In Mauch Ruins in east wall of the outer enclosure.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_The battering of walls._—The backward incline of both faces of walls
from their bases to summits is a general characteristic in ancient
architecture at Zimbabwe, and in all other ruins which belong to the
earliest known type of ancient buildings in this country. This feature,
so far as examinations have been made, is conspicuous by its absence
from all buildings of the second or later period. So noticeable is
this feature in the main walls of the Elliptical Temple that visitors
viewing the walls from the interior constantly affirm their belief that
the walls have commenced to lean over towards the exterior, and when
viewing the exterior faces of the identical walls declare that the
walls are leaning inwards and must ultimately fall inside the building.
This is a mere optical delusion.

The main walls, portions of which are believed to have stood some
3,500 years, are, if given the same conditions to which they have been
subjected in past times, quite likely to be standing at the end of
another millennium, if not longer, for the battering-back is a most
important element of their massive strength, and has proved to be the
main factor in securing their durability. Of course, some main walls
in certain places show signs of bulging out and of damage caused by
earth movements, possibly earthquakes, also by lightning, the sinking
of foundations by water or damp, or growth of trees within their
open dry masonry during the long period since their erection. Some
faces of the walls show a complete swagging from end to end of their
lengths, and yet the batter-back has preserved the walls practically
intact throughout with each block occupying its original relative
position. The appearance of such walls strongly suggests the effects of
earthquake, and while these earth-movements would destroy a plumb wall,
a wall with a severe batter-back, such as is seen in all the older
walls at Zimbabwe, would on this account be comparatively safe from
such effects.

In some instances the battering is very severe and exceeds that of
1 ft. in 6 ft., and the native labourers can scale such with ease.
Looking at the rounded extremities of any of the most ancient walls,
one notices that their sides resemble the lines of a lighthouse as
popularly conceived, in many instances the batter-back being more
severe near the base and near the summit, and many of such rounded ends
of walls where still perfect show very graceful lines of battering. So
carefully is the batter-back worked out in the courses that looking up
or down the face of the wall one can scarcely see a quarter of an inch
of face of protruding block out of the line of the battering.

To secure the batter of the walls the blocks are not slanted downwards
at their inner side, but are laid on a true dead level reaching from
face to face of the wall on either side, and in their outer courses
their outside edges are placed back from the outer course below. So
slightly do these courses recede one above another that in the height
of only a few courses it would be almost impossible to detect the
presence of any battering, while it is very decidedly noticeable in a
height of some few feet.

Bent’s estimate of the extent of the battering of walls at Zimbabwe,
namely, 1 ft. in 6 ft., is fairly exact with regard to many of the
walls, but excessive with regard to others, such as the main walls of
the Elliptical Temple, while for many walls it is perfectly correct.
The battering in most instances being more perceptible near base and
summit than on the intermediate face of the wall, and the summits in
many cases having disappeared, the batter-back, as ascertained by
plumb lines, has consequently been considerably reduced. Where the
original summits are still practically intact, and where there have
been no bulging out of the faces of the walls, and the top courses on
the edges do not lean outwards as they frequently do, on account of
creeper and tree growths, the 1 ft. in 6 ft. is frequently approached,
for instance, south wall _Western Temple_, 4 ft. 8 in. in 31 ft.;
_Pattern Passage_, 2 ft. in 13 ft. In low walls 1 ft. in 6 ft. is very
frequently reached.

The main walls of the Elliptical Temple, as shown in the _Table of
Battering_ (see _Elliptical Temple, Main Wall_, Chapter IX.), are much
less than 1 ft. in 6 ft., a fair average for inside faces being 1 ft.
in 11 ft., but at some points it is only 1 ft. in 15 ft., and for
outside faces 1 ft. in 10 ft. and 1 ft. in 8 ft.

(For the battering of the _Conical Towers_, see descriptions of those

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Monoliths._—In most of the ruins of both major and minor importance
at Zimbabwe, numerous beams of slate and granite, varying from 4 ft.
to 14 ft. in length, have been found, some of the slate beams showing
signs of having been treated with tools. It has been the custom of
many writers to call these beams “monoliths.” In the greater number
of instances these beams can be shown never to have been employed as
monoliths. So far, at Zimbabwe, authenticated monoliths have been
discovered only at the Elliptical Temple, and the Eastern and Western
Temples of the Acropolis and Philips Ruins. Many of the beams found
in these buildings are not and never were employed as monoliths, and
the greatest possible care has to be taken in discriminating between
monoliths and ordinary beams.

Monoliths have their bases marked and worn by the stones in the sides
of the holes on the summits of the walls in which they now stand or
once stood, as if they had later become loose and had moved or even
oscillated constantly while still in a fairly upright position. The
marking of such as have fallen shows that they were made by rubbing
against the edges of the enclosing blocks when the monoliths were in a
perpendicular position, while some of the jagged notches on the bases
must have been made when the monoliths were in a slanting position.
The stumps of beams left in the side walls of entrances and passages
which were once covered by slate and granite lintels, and across which
the upper portions of the walls were carried, do not show the same
markings; in fact, such ends of slate and granite lintels are not found
to be worn by the friction caused by contact with the edges of blocks,
and besides, these lack all evidence of having occupied a perpendicular
position, or of having been exposed to the weather. Monoliths are
decomposed and weather-worn on all faces, but there is generally more
lichen on their south faces.

Further, the bases of monoliths, plain or carved, especially those
of soapstone and slate, are found to have their lowest extremities
water-worn into smooth faces or grooves at such points round their
faces where the bases did not come in contact with the enclosing
blocks, and this smoothing has obviously been caused by rain-water
running down the faces of the monoliths to the lowest part of their
bases, till at last, especially those of slate, the bases which
were once of greater circumference have become worn and tapered.
The thickness of the wall and the depth to which the bases of the
monoliths were built into them would prevent the sun’s heat drying the
damp bases, and would so keep them moist for a long time after every
shower. This constant moisture has caused the bases to splinter while
the exposed portions of the monoliths remained practically intact.
This water-wearing and the splintering on account of damp are absent
in beams employed for any purpose in a horizontal position, and these
usually show unmistakable signs of having been very well preserved from
the effects of the weather, and the extremities of such beams do not
taper, neither have they become splintered, and are usually as wide as
the main portion of the beam.

Undoubted monoliths of granite and slate have been found used by
Makalanga as building material for their walls, and also as posts
for cattle kraals. Also, in many cases, as posts for graves, and for
decoration of Makalanga walls.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Soapstone monoliths and beams._—Monoliths of soapstone have only been
found in the three temples, but in greater profusion in the Eastern
Temple on the Acropolis, and at Philips Ruins. Here they were found by
their sections to have been of various diameters, but every one had
been shaped with tools, some being artistically, others only crudely,
decorated, but the majority were plain. Chevron pattern was evidently
the favourite design employed. The Makalanga are believed to have
used some of the broken sections of soapstone monoliths and beams for
carving their _I-daha_ pipe-bowls, in making which they are known to
have excelled. This would save them the necessity of transporting the
material to Zimbabwe from the soapstone formation, the nearest point of
which is twelve miles in a north-western direction. Natives to-day have
been seen taking away very small splinters of soapstone found in the
débris heaps. These they cut with a knife into any crude shape that may
be suggested to their passing fancy. The number of bases of soapstone
monoliths is far greater than the number of splintered or broken
sections found in the wall-débris heaps along the foot of the walls.

Several sections of rounded soapstone beams were also found among the
blocks on the summit of the main wall of the Elliptical Temple, and
other sections were also discovered here in the débris at the foot
of either side of the main wall. These sections, though plain, are
beautifully finished, but being the lower portions above the bases, are
without pattern. Probably the higher portions were decorated, as the
decoration in several instances of soapstone beams discovered does not
extend low down on the monoliths. The radii of the sections found in
the Elliptical Temple varied considerably, while some had flat-worked
faces with narrow ends artificially rounded.

The discovery in all three temples of so many bases and sections of
different sized soapstone monoliths suggests the question: Have the
present standing slate and granite monoliths been, at any rate in some
instances, erected at a later period to replace fallen or fractured
soapstone monoliths?

(_a_) Splinters of undoubted soapstone monoliths, some carved with
geometrical patterns, have been found in large quantities in the lowest
strata of wall-débris at each of the three temples only; sometimes they
were found on the formation rock and below the wall débris, but at
the foot of all the faces of the walls on the summits of which are at
present only slate and unhewn granite are monoliths still more or less
complete and erect.

(_b_) On the summits of walls on which are slate and granite monoliths
numerous small fragments of rounded lengths of soapstone, identical
with soapstone beams and some similarly carved, have been found. These
instances were frequently noticed in all the temples, May-November,
1902, but especially in the Elliptical Temple, where are now only
granite and slate monoliths.

Bent deduced from the various succeeding styles of Zimbabwe
architecture that the ancient style of workmanship changed its form
some time between the period of the earliest builders and the later
ones, and this would explain why the original monoliths were of more
artistic form, with carvings and decorations. How far this has any
connection with the theory of the probable substitution, patent, at
any rate, in some instances, of plain and unhewn granite and slate
monoliths for the fallen and ornate soapstone monoliths, it might be
premature to enlarge upon at present, for, judging by the condition of
the oldest walls on which certain granite monoliths are fixed, some of
these monoliths sunk deep into the summits of the walls were obviously
erected when the walls were originally constructed. For instance, one
carved soapstone monolith was found built into a wall on the north side
of the Western Temple to a depth of 5 ft., while the original height of
the wall could not have been more than 8 ft.

However, both ancient architecture and relics unquestionably prove that
between the earliest and the latest periods of ancient occupation there
was a marked falling off and decadence in the conception and erection
of both buildings and in the character of the articles found.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Number of monoliths still more or less erect._—The number of monoliths
still erect, or which have fallen, is as follows, but the number may
be further increased as the débris at the bases of the temple walls is

At Elliptical Temple.—Nine granite monoliths still erect, nine fallen;
no slate monoliths erect, five fallen; two granite monoliths, one of
which is fractured, stand in No. 5 Enclosure.

At Eastern Temple, Acropolis.—There are no soapstone monoliths now
standing, but a considerable number of sections of slate and soapstone
monoliths, including bases, were found in the débris. Mr. Posselt, who
resided at Zimbabwe before the Chartered Company took possession of
the country, states that in 1888 three soapstone beams, with birds
on their summits, were standing in the interior of the left-hand side
of the West Entrance, and one at the northern end of the summit of
the main east wall, on which is the dentelle pattern. The three beams
stood on a small raised platform, and as this temple was then used as a
cattle kraal, the cattle rubbed against them and eventually pushed over
the beams.

At Western Temple, Acropolis.—There are twelve slate and four granite
monoliths still standing on the walls, and four slate monoliths, three
still intact, have been found in wall-débris. Originally those on the
south and west walls were exactly equi-distant. Bent found and removed
several sections of different soapstone monoliths, both decorated and
plain, but he found no soapstone bird in this temple. In 1891 the lower
portion of a soapstone bird was discovered and taken to Johannesburg,
and its whereabouts are at present unknown. In August, 1902, the head
and neck of this same bird were found, as also a length of the beam
upon which it stood, and this is beautifully carved with chevron
pattern. This beam originally stood on the summit of the north wall.

All slate monoliths are plain, but many of those of slate have been
rounded with tools of which they bear the markings.

Several monoliths have fallen since 1888. One immense granite beam
which occupied an upright position immediately north of _The Platform_
in the Elliptical Temple has disappeared since 1891. A monolith in
the interior facing the _Western Entrance_ has fallen within the last
few years, while a tall granite beam at the same spot has broken off
just above the ground within the same period. Another tall granite
beam occupied the _Central Area_ in the temple, and this has also
disappeared within the last seven years.[44] Relic prospectors of the
nineties appear to have excavated round the spots occupied by monoliths
and caused their fall.

The finest specimen of a bird on a soapstone beam yet discovered at
Zimbabwe was found by the author in _Philips Ruins_ in February, 1903.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Slate and granite beams._—These are plentifully found in all the
enclosures. Sections and splinters of slate beams are found in
entrances which have portcullis grooves, one still standing in
position 8 ft. above the floor. Slate beams used as entrance posts in
portcullis grooves were erected before the building of the entrance,
as the enclosing blocks follow the irregularities of the beams. Wood
posts found in some portcullis grooves in poorer built walls are not
considered ancient, and their comparative modernity is testified to by
experienced builders who have very recently examined a collection of
such posts. Mopani hard wood and mahobohobo have not been used in all
such instances, some of the posts being of soft wood. Wooden posts have
not so far been found in well-built entrances. The posts outside the
clay huts of old Makalanga are older in appearance and condition than
the majority of the posts found in the poorer entrances, though they
very closely resemble one another in measurements and in the wood used.
In one instance the groove was too large for the wooden post which had
been wedged in with granite splinters, the granite being only slightly

Slate and granite beams were also employed for the bonds and ties of
walls, also for ties in sharply curved walls, also for supporting the
roofs over covered passages.

The nearest point to the slate formation is seven miles in a
north-easterly direction. It is believed that the long granite beams
were brought from the Lumbo Rocks, one and three-quarter miles to the
south, where a great quantity of exactly similar shaped beams are to be
seen lying scattered round the high perpendicular column of granite,
the sides of which split off into the shape of the long monoliths found
on the Acropolis.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Cement dadoes._—One of the discoveries made recently in clearing the
lower portions of interior faces of walls from débris, which appears to
have covered them for centuries, is that some portions of such walls
have been found to be covered with the remains of excellent granite
cement dadoes. This is particularly to be noticed on three walls of the
_Sacred Enclosure_, on the south wall of _No. 11 Enclosure_, and at the
_Little Enclosure_ and the _Upper Passage_ on the Acropolis, and in
other ruins where portions of this dado still remain.

These dadoes extended to a height of 7 ft., the cement being found in
patches still intact and in the joints of the blocks to this height,
the courses above this height being entirely free from traces of cement.

In passages and narrow places great quantities of this cement lay on
the original floors along the bottoms of the walls on either side, some
fragments showing on their backs the ribbed markings of the courses
up against which the cement had been pressed, also bevelled edges, as
if from the top and ends of such dadoes. This was particularly the
experience on clearing out the _Parallel Passage_ in the Elliptical
Temple. It is possible that these dadoes had once facings of white
soapstone clay, beautifully smoothed, for this was found on some
fragments of such cement dadoes, and the facing, when cut with a knife,
powdered exactly as soapstone does.

It can be noticed by anyone that the lower portions of the walls which
once had dadoes have their block faces somewhat roughly built as
compared with the upper portions of the walls. This appears to suggest
that the original builders, in erecting the wall, had calculated upon
certain portions of the faces being covered with dadoes. These rougher
surfaces would provide a better hold for the cement than would the
smoother faces of the walls above.

The cavities in the dry masonry of the main walls of the Elliptical
Temple contain cooled air even at noontide, and this rushes out from
between the courses with such a force as to make it impossible to light
a match close to them, while it is a very easy matter to carry on a
conversation through a wall 15 ft. thick and 32 ft. high.

To the original builders who, as is shown elsewhere, thoroughly
understood and appreciated the art of sanitation, it is quite probable
that these dadoes were considered necessary, especially as these dry
masonry walls are the homes of snakes, lizards, and other unpleasant
reptiles and creatures which probably were more abundant here three
thousand years ago when, as competent scientists affirm, the climate
was more humid. Whether for the exclusion of sound, for the securing
of privacy, for the protection of their dwellings from reptiles, or to
avoid the tearing by rough granite blocks in very narrow passages of
such garments as they might have worn, or for the purpose of artistic
effect—and these ancients practised several fine arts—the fact has
recently been revealed that at any rate some of the ancient walls were
once covered with these cement dadoes.[45]

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Built-up crevices._—On the Acropolis Hill cliffs and boulders form
such prominent features that these have often been employed as sides
of enclosures. The ancients were in many instances at great pains to
build up crevices and fissures in rocks, especially where these are in
or near the enclosures. Even small crevices only a foot or so wide,
and penetrating into the face of the cliffs and rocks for but two
or three feet, the front being the only part giving access to such
fissures, are carefully built up flush with the face of the rock. Some
large perpendicular fissures in the cliffs have been so built up to an
immense height. One fissure on the south side of the Rock Holes Path
has been built up for 40 ft. above the ground. This fissure is from 1
ft. to 3 ft. wide. The effect caused by this column of blocks running
up the face of the cliff is very strange. Some fissures are so narrow
that very small blocks have been used. From some of such fissures the
built-up courses have fallen away, leaving a few courses, here and
there at different heights wedged in between the sides of the fissures,
and occasionally one sees a single block wedged into a fissure at
an immense height above any ruin. This building-up of crevices and
fissures is to be found almost over the whole face of the hill where no
ruins are now to be seen. If two boulders are near together, it may be
taken as almost a moral certainty that on examining the boulders they
will be found to be connected with a wall, even if the space be only a
foot or two wide.

In a similar manner the holes under overhanging boulders have been
neatly built up so as to effectually hide the hole. The natives have in
two or three instances removed sufficient of the blocks to enable them
to pass a corpse through, after which, with their peculiar style of
building—column form—they have filled up the gaps with walling.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Holes in walls other than drains._—This peculiar feature of ancient
architecture is especially prominent at the Acropolis, also in East
Ruins, and in almost all the ruins in the Valley of Ruins. There
are holes, generally square, in the lower parts of the walls at two
or three feet above any ancient floor. They are found only on the
inside faces of walls, not one as yet having been discovered on the
outer face. That they are intentionally made is a matter of ocular
demonstration, for many have lintels either of large granite slabs or
of slate beams. The blocks of the side framings are all built flush
with each other. Their peculiarity is that they do not extend back
into the wall for more than the length of a block, in one case of two
blocks, and the internal packing blocks in the wall are seen inside.
One such recess on the Acropolis shows traces of having once been lined
with granite cement. The bottom portion of a similar recess in Upper
Passage also has remains of cement lining. The largest recess is to be
seen on the west side of a divisional wall in East Ruins. This is 3 ft.
high and 1 ft. 10 in. wide. No such recess has so far been discovered
in the Elliptical Temple, but at least fifty have been found elsewhere
among the ruins.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Blind steps and platforms._—In several enclosures in the principal
ruins at Zimbabwe, but mainly at the Elliptical Temple, and in the
angles formed by the meeting of side walls of the enclosures, are to
be seen small raised platforms approached by two or three steps. These
steps could not have led to higher positions than the small platforms,
that is, they could not have been intended for mounting to the summit
of the wall, for the bottom steps are at far too short a distance from
the walls in comparison with their heights, besides which, the steps
and platforms are perfect in themselves, and their summits, judging by
the condition of the cement floor, terminated as is seen to-day. Nor
are there any signs on the faces of the walls above such platforms of
any steps, or that the blocks in the angles of the walls were at any
time protected from the weather by any higher structure.

These blind steps surmounted by miniature platforms are made of blocks
thickly covered with granite cement similar to that found on the lowest
floors of the temple—the steps being large and deep and boldly rounded
off. The shape of these erections reminds one of the steps and raised
platforms which are frequently seen in stableyards at home, and were
once very generally used as mounting blocks.

Bent, unfortunately, discovered only one of these platforms, and this
was the one on the north side of the Sacred Enclosure (west), and when
he saw it the platform was covered with débris, evidently débris,
judging by its age, put there by Dr. Mauch, who had been exploring
in this portion of the enclosure. This débris was foreign to this
particular spot and had evidently been removed from nearer the Conical
Tower. Bent therefore conjectured that these blind steps once led to
the summit of the south wall of The Platform. The height of the wall
here, 12 ft., could not have been surmounted by these steps, for if
carried upwards with the same class of step as below, they would have
failed to reach half-way up the wall.

These erections might have served a similar purpose for the enclosures
in which they were erected, as did the large Platform immediately
in front of the Conical Tower for the whole of the Temple. The best
examples are in the north-east corner of No. 12 Enclosure, the south
corner of No. 7 Enclosure, both in the Elliptical Temple, and in the
south-east corner of the Western Temple and in the north, east, and
west angles of the Eastern Temple, both on the Acropolis. Possibly the
platform and steps in the South Passage of the Elliptical Temple were
used for a similar purpose, for this latter structure, though not built
into any angle of walls, is of exactly similar construction to the

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Ancient walls at a distance from any main ruins are of a less
superior construction._—There is another class of building found in
walls erected at a distance from any main ruins, and these, though
constructed in a somewhat rougher form, are otherwise all built upon
the principles of the First Period of Zimbabwe architecture. These
walls can be clearly shown to have formed part of the original purpose,
plan, and construction as the main ruins, and prove that the original
ancient builders, while devoting their best skill to the temples and
residential portions of the building, were satisfied with a somewhat
inferior quality of workmanship for their more distant walls, and for
such of their outlying buildings as were used for some purpose, judging
by the finds, other than those of workshop or residence, most probably
as forts, workshops, stores for grain, or as the housing places of

The close connection between the well-built walls of the main ruins
and these outlying walls and buildings is, in many instances, easy to
establish, and this may be shown as follows:—

1. The sole difference between the construction of the main ruins and
the outlying buildings lies in the quality of workmanship and material,
these outlying walls showing all other features of first-period
architecture to the exclusion of any feature of the second or later
periods of construction.

2. Connecting passages between the inner portions of main ruins and
the outlying buildings are well built in and near the main ruins, but
are excellently constructed as distance is reached, though the line of
foundations throughout, as also the cement flooring, are one and the

3. Undoubted ancient floors are laid up to and against such walls.

4. Relics of prehistoric character, similar to those discovered within
any of the main ruins, have been found beyond main walls in connecting
passages and in the more distant ruins.

These evidences as to the early period during which some of the more
distant walls were erected are also found in other large ruins of
Southern Rhodesia, but at Zimbabwe, where the Acropolis affords such
a commanding view of the lines of walls of the outer ruins and of the
directions of recently unburied passages of great length, and of the
sweep of the walls connecting main ruins with outlying buildings, the
original purpose of many of the walls and minor ruins appears to be
very manifest.

In these outer walls the blocks are of far greater size, their shape
is frequently irregular, and unhewn stones are employed, but their
faces are even on either side and the internal parts are neatly filled
in with stones. All these walls have the usual Zimbabwe batter-back,
have rounded entrances, and the steps are not built in between the side
walls, but are formed by the courses of the foundations. Plumb walls
and angular entrances are very rarely met with.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Cement._—The original builders of the Zimbabwe ruins, as well as
those of later ancient periods, can be seen to have shown a peculiar
partiality for the employment of cements for all constructive work save
that of building the walls, which are all, without exception, of dry
masonry. Evidently the ancients, judging by the immense quantity of
cement work throughout the ruins, much of which is still in splendid
condition, deliberately avoided the use of cement in the construction
of the walls. Probably in this respect, and in the employment of blocks
of a certain size, they were but following the methods of building to
which they were accustomed before their arrival in this country.

(1) The cement work of the oldest periods has been pronounced by
practical builders to have been made of crushed fragments of decomposed
granite mixed with a large proportion of lime, the latter being found
in Suku Glen (see _Suku Glen_) in extensive areas. This cement is
exceedingly hard, and has a glaze on the outer surface which, once
broken, has caused the internal body of cement to rapidly decompose
into yellow soil. Thus on the faces of steps, dadoes, and all
perpendicular work, the cement is more intact, while on flat surfaces
where rain-water could not be carried away owing to the stopping up of
drains the cement floors are in many instances considerably ruined.
Tree roots are rarely found to have penetrated any cement floor which
was in a whole condition, and where a root has so penetrated the
cement, the root, acting as a conductor of water, has caused all the
cement along the line of root to become decomposed. All the roots of
trees which have recently been removed from above cement floors are
flat, while some of them assume the shape of the structure that was
underneath. In one instance the roots of an immense fig tree, which was
thought to be over one hundred years old, had wound round and round a
circular cement platform which they had failed to penetrate.

This class of cement has been very extensively used by the older
occupiers for (_a_) flooring, (_b_) dadoes, (_c_) covering steps and
platforms, (_d_) construction of steps and platforms made entirely of
cement, (_e_) raised rims for dividing floors into separate catchment
areas, so confining rain-water over certain areas to particular drains,
(_f_) foundations of walls, (_g_) for short, low divisional walls made
entirely of cement.

(2) There is another class of granite cement which closely resembles
the first-mentioned, and this is found on the higher levels. It is
also yellow, but in it occur pieces of granite, and it has a decidedly
coarser appearance. This is not so lavishly laid, being only one or
two inches thick, whereas the former cement is most frequently found
to have a thickness of at least 6 in., that is, in those instances
where the structures are not entirely composed of this cement. A great
quantity of this cement work can be seen on the Acropolis or in the
Valley of Ruins.

(3) A further class of cement is of a dull reddish colour, containing
more soil than granite. Practically it is clay, but so fine and well
polished that it deserves the designation of cement. This work had been
burnt white, and its material is very strong and far superior to the
best clay used by the oldest native occupiers.

(4) A greyish-coloured cement, in which there are large proportions of
lime. This is found in ruins. On the summit of Rusivanga Kopje there
are floors and walls made of it. There is difference of opinion between
builders and native authorities as to the makers of this cement. It is
most certainly superior to any such material made by the natives of
to-day. It closely resembles, if it is not identical with, the material
used in building the two classes of huts Nos. 1 and 2 (see _Native huts
found in ruins_). The natives state it is not of any known Makalanga
make. It is found in large slabs, as if from the side walls of circular
huts, fully 14 ft. in diameter, also in bevelled ruins of all sizes.
This cement can be seen in some of the ruins, also on Zimbabwe Hill,
where the natives state there has been no occupation, excepting, of
course, Mogabe’s brief residence, for at least five generations.
Judging by the high-class quality of Kafir “finds” here, it is quite
possible that this cement is that of the mediæval Makalanga.

(5) The other descriptions of _daga_ (clay) vary in quality from
fairly good to most inferior. These are mere veld soil, without being
mixed with lime, and are seen in portions of distinctly old Kafir huts
resembling the types Nos. 2 and 3. It is also to be found in quantities
on the Bentberg and on Rusivanga Kopje. In many trenches can be seen
three or four layers of this _daga_ one above another, each layer being
about one inch thick, and there are layers of ashes between the floors.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Ancients and caves and rock holes._—There are innumerable rock holes,
chasms, and large fissures among the cliffs and boulders of the
Acropolis Hill, but there is only one—the Balcony Cave—that actually
deserves the title of cave, though this name is bestowed upon them all
by several writers. Perhaps Balcony Cave approaches nearest to the
general conception of what is a cave. But the holes under beetling
boulders which constitute these “caves” are as a rule shallow, low, and

There are no evidences in any of these holes, so far as they have been
examined, that the ancients cut into the rock or quarried to make or
improve these holes, the faces of the rock being all natural, and
devoid of any traces of their having been worked. Sir John Willoughby
makes a similar statement as to the rock never having been cut. It is
also noticeable that small spurs of formation rock jutting up through
the floors of enclosures have never been cut away. But the ancient
builders were very clever in artificially improving the fronts of the
rock holes, so as to add extra space to the size of the holes. This
was done in at least two instances, though there are traces of its
having been done elsewhere. A wall was built at some feet immediately
in front of the hole, and this was carried up so high that its summit
was connected with the cliff or boulder which rose above and arched
outwards in front of the hole. This is seen at South Cave, where a wall
was carried up to the over-arching boulder, thus more than doubling the
area of the cave (see descriptions of each cave).

There are a series of such rock holes on the north-east side of the
hill and on the south of Rock Holes Path. The covered holes between
the large boulders look very romantic, and their appearance suggests
the probability of there being large caves here, but the appearance is
most deceptive. The greatest number of such hollows are to be found at
the east end of the Acropolis Hill, and some few of these are worth
visiting, but the irregular and rugged contour of that face of the
hill makes climbing there a most difficult matter, besides which our
labourers have recently killed two tiger-cats at these holes, and they
state that there are more of such animals there.

Some few only of the caves near the main ruins of the Acropolis have
had cemented floors, the formation rock being in most instances
sufficiently smooth and level to make it unnecessary to lay cement
floors. Platform Cave has at least three levels of cement flooring one
above another.

The purposes for which these caves have been used cannot be determined,
for the finds made in them were very meagre and common, most being
Makalanga hoes, spearheads, brass wire bangles still containing hair or
grass, and fragments of pottery of poor and modern make. The only caves
which yielded anything of antique character were Platform and Balcony
Caves. In the former were sections of soapstone monoliths and fragments
of soapstone bowls. In the latter were about a dozen large slate beams
and plain soapstone beams. The soil in this cave has often been panned
by visitors, as there has always been an idea that gold dust was once
stored here. Almost all the pannings showed faint traces of gold, and
one or two rather richly. Theodore Bent, Sir John Willoughby, and also
many searchers for relics, have practically cleared the most important
of these caves of all finds.

A cave hole under an immense boulder on the south side of the Gold
Furnace Enclosure is about 15 ft. square, but one has to crouch low
down to move about in it. Here have been found quantities of quartz,
copper ore, and ironstone, pieces of beaten copper and copper wire,
sections of gold crucibles, and pottery whorls. No industry could
have been carried on in this low-roofed area, but gold-, copper-, and
iron-smelting were evidently conducted in the adjoining and higher Gold
Furnace Enclosure, and this hole or chasm, as Bent calls it, was used
for depositing the debris from such furnaces.

Nearly all the rock holes on Zimbabwe Hill had been used for some
purposes—up to four years ago by the Makalanga as burial-places, the
hill abounding in such graves. Now the local Makalanga are prohibited
burying on this hill, and at the same time their kraal was removed from
the Acropolis. The bodies were placed in the corners of these rock
holes and piled over with stones; the pot, assegais, knobkerries—and in
one instance a large bark-string hunting-net, 5 ft. high and about 30
yds. long—which belonged to the deceased, were laid upon the top of the

There are no Bushman paintings in any of these caves, nor on the
immense rocks which are strewn all over the hill. Nor does the district
round about possess any of these paintings. Almost every kopje within
a few miles of Zimbabwe has very recently been carefully examined for
walls, relics, caves, and paintings, several of the hills having been
within the last few months ascended several times from various points.
Natives, farmers, and prospectors state that these are altogether
absent from this portion of the Victoria district.

But caves and rock holes are very numerous on some of the kopjes which
are within an easy walk of the ruins, and if some of these were cleared
out some discoveries might possibly be made. It will be recalled that
both the ancient cylinder with rosettes, the wooden platter with the
signs of the zodiac, and the notorious pot “Fuko-ya-Nebandge” were all
found in caves at some little distance from Zimbabwe.

                              CHAPTER IX

                         THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

 Main Walls—Plan—Construction—Measurements—Summit—Foundations—Chevron
                  Pattern—Ground Surface of Exterior.

_Plan of main wall._—Though popularly spoken of as the “Circular
Temple,”[46] the building is of elliptical plan, “a form of temple,”
says Bent, “found at Marib, the ancient capital of the Sabæan kingdom
in Arabia, and at the Castle of Nakab al Hajar, also in that country.”
The resemblance between the temple at Marib and the Elliptical Temple
at Zimbabwe is remarkable, and several scientists of repute, who have
considered the plans of both these ruins, emphasise the remarkable
resemblance, not only in the plan, but in the forms of worship
practised by the ancients, as evidenced also by the relics discovered
at both temples. For instance, Professor Müller, of Vienna, the great
South Arabian archæologist (_Burgen und Schlösser_, ii. 20.) compares
these two ruins as follows:—

          _Marib._                           _Zimbabwe._

Plan, system of curved walls,         Practically the same.
geometrical building, orientation.

Inscription on Marib is in two rows,  Two rows of chevron pattern run
and runs round a fourth of the        round a fourth part of the
circumference.                        circumference.

Half of elliptical wall, on side of   The same at Zimbabwe, where the
inscription, is well built and well   pattern side of the wall is well
preserved, but opposite side is       built. The other portion is rough.
badly built and ruined.

Temple was dedicated to the goddess   Highly probable that Zimbabwe was
Almaquah—the star Venus, which is     a Sabæan Almaquah temple, as it is
called in the Himyaritic tongue       orientated and geometrically built
Ialmaquah, or Almaq = illuminating.   for astronomical purposes, as in
                                      all cases of such buildings used
                                      for the worship of Almaquah.
                                      Sacred birds found at Zimbabwe are
                                      said to represent Venus the
                                      “Morning Star.”[47]

Herr Brugsch believes the images of the birds found at Zimbabwe
emphasised a Sabæan occupation, while M. Naville is especially of
opinion that there exists a strong connection between Venus, the star
of the Sabæans, and the goddess worshipped at Zimbabwe. The evidences
pointing to the close connection of the South Arabian temples and
Zimbabwe are almost inexhaustible. On this point Bent and Schlichter
are at one with each other (see _Petermann’s Mitteilungen_ 1892; also
_The Gold of Ophir_ by Professor A. H. Keane; and M. Arnaud’s plan of
the temple at Marib).

Professor Müller also states that the elliptically formed wall appears
to have been always used in the temple buildings of ancient Arabia, and
states that at Sirwah the Almaquah temple is built in an oval form. In
these old temples, he says, sacred inscriptions to the deities were set
up on stylæ (stone beams). At Zimbabwe some scores of carved soapstone
beams have been discovered in the three temples, also ten birds perched
on tall soapstone beams and three other birds detached from their
beams, also four miniature birds on pedestals carved out of soapstone.

The Elliptical Temple at Zimbabwe is a much larger building than that
at Marib, having a circumference of about 833 ft. as against the 300
ft. of the Marib temple.

On entering the building it is at once seen that the most massive
and excellently constructed portions of the main wall extend
from slightly north of the North Entrance to the east and south and
south-west, and that the other portions, particularly the north-west
and west, are slighter, and though showing fairly good workmanship,
it is not nearly so well built as the other portion of the wall, the
average width of the summit of the poor wall being barely a third
of the average width of the better-built portion. The general line
of the summit is also fairly level, but it averages some 5 ft. to 8
ft. less in height than that of the northern and eastern walls. The
distinct character of the two portions of the main wall is very plainly
noticeable on viewing the temple from the summit of the Acropolis Hill.

[Illustration: THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE Great Zimbabwe

_Methuen & Co._]

But this temple does not stand alone in showing its main wall massive
and exceptionally well built at one point of its circumference and
slighter built on the other part. This feature is common to many ruins
in Rhodesia, excepting, of course, ruins of forts and those ruins
built upon the angular plan and terraced. Bent was fully aware of this
feature, and cites instances of its occurrence. Mr. Swan does the same,
and so does Schlichter. At some time or another before the north-west
and west wall was built that portion of the original wall had become
dilapidated, and the temple had become “half-moon,” “section of a
circle,” or “crescent” shaped, these being the terms applied by all
writers, without exception, to such of the circular ruins in the First
Period Ruins’ Area,[48] where portions of the main wall had fallen
down. The published plans of ruins demonstrate this fact. Probably
Zimbabwe will again become a “section of a circle,” for it stands to
reason that the weaker wall will be the first portion to disappear.

The massive and well-built portions of the ruins, built upon a system
of curves, almost always bear the mural pattern of the oldest types,
while the slighter portions are without pattern. It is so at Marib,
it is so at Zimbabwe, and it is so in some score of ruins built upon
the same principles, as shown in the Elliptical Temple. This has been
found to be so invariable a rule that on sighting a building of this
class of ruin even at some distance one can almost fix the position
of the pattern, that is, if the wall is not so reduced in height that
the decoration, if originally any, has not disappeared. Assuming no
principle of orientation to attach to such ruins, there yet remains
something to be done in explaining the directions of the massive curved
and decorated walls of the circular ruins, for the existence of so many
scores of parallelisms can hardly be explained away as being but so
many coincidences.

It has now (June, 1903) for the first time been shown by ocular
demonstration that the slighter wall, though ancient, is a
reconstruction of a still more ancient wall which curved outwards more
to the north and north-west. Recently some thirty tons of granite
blocks which lay in the gap on either side of it were removed, and the
foundations at this spot uncovered, showing the meeting in a mis-joint
at an oblique angle of two distinct walls, the foundations of the
massive north wall being 9 ft. 10 in. wide, and that of the later wall
6 ft. wide, while the class of building in the two walls is obviously
distinct. The face of the end of the north wall was extended further
outwards towards N.W. 40 ft., and the line of its foundation, according
to its curve, points in that direction, where, it is believed, the old
extended foundation has been come upon at 36 ft. outside the later
wall. The slighter wall approaches the massive wall from W. 80. The
bases of the foundations are practically on the same level.

Though the later wall is not so well constructed as the older wall, it
must not be taken as poorly built. (See “_Construction of main wall_,”

The wonderful feature is that no joint in the wall has so far been
discovered in its south-west portion. Practical builders who have
examined the wall on this side for such a joint are perplexed at
not being able to discover it, and some consider, from certain
circumstances noticeable, that it must have been at the West Entrances
where this later wall was commenced, in which case no such joint would
in all probability be found.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Construction._—The construction of the main wall from the north to the
east, and round to the south and south-west, is admittedly by far the
finest specimen of ancient constructive work yet found in Rhodesia; it
has consequently been made the standard by which the best-known writers
and greatest authorities judge of the quality of the work shown in
other walls in the country. Certainly two large and important ruins in
the Lower Sabi Valley, which are much larger in area but with lower
walls than Zimbabwe, closely rival the Great Zimbabwe in construction
and boldness of design. But with regard to the more massive and highest
portion of the main wall every practical builder who visits Zimbabwe
is amazed at the equal distribution of the joints, the conscientious
bonding of the outer courses, the good quality of stone selected, the
careful dressing and the regularity of the sizes of the blocks, the
neat packing throughout the whole width of the wall, and the tiling of
the summits of the wall with “throughs.” The filling-in of the wall
has been most conscientiously executed, and is seen to have been done
course by course with the faces of the wall, as the courses throughout
are pronounced to correspond with the outer courses of the wall on
either side, and some builders have positively stated that some sort
of a levelling instrument must have been used. “Straight joints” for
more than two or three courses are absent, and these are rare, “false
courses” are also rare, and there is little seen of chips levelling up
the corners of the blocks.

The marvellous symmetry of the batter-back of the dry masonry,
especially in the boldly conceived and most excellently constructed
sweep of the wall on its inner face from north to north-east and
south-west, secures the admiration of every visitor, and forms one
of the chief features by which the Great Zimbabwe stamps itself on
one’s memory. The scrupulously careful workmanship displayed here, and
particularly in the courses near the Chevron Pattern and on the outer
face of the north-east portion of the wall, show undoubtedly the most
superior of any ancient building yet discovered in Rhodesia, if not
also of the important ruins lying at some distance, to the south-east,
of which only sketch-plans and a few photographs are yet to hand. The
massive solidity and excellent construction, together with its batter
(see _Architecture_, section “Battering of Walls”), which this wall
displays, have, no doubt, secured its wonderful preservation in spite
of earthquake, effects of tree and creeper growth, and the ravages of
some millenniums of time.

The construction demonstrates the fact that the ancients in their own
home in the north were thoroughly well-practised in the building with
either stone blocks or bricks. Moreover, as suggested by Bent and
Schlichter, the extensive use of granite cement in making floors both
inside and outside the ruins at Zimbabwe proves that it was by design
that the ancients adopted the system of building with dry masonry.

Concerning the construction of the north-west and west portions of
the main wall there has been much controversy, Bent and Schlichter
being emphatic in stating that not only was it most inferior to that
of the other portions of the main wall, but that it was obviously
of later construction on contracted lines, but still ancient. These
two archæologists could have arrived at this conclusion only by the
measurement of the wall and by its quality of workmanship. Sir John
Willoughby, on the other hand, contended that it is built as well as
any other portion of the main wall. It is certainly not poor building
that renders it less easy to climb along its summit, the difficulty
being the number of loose stones which line the top owing to the
summit having been threshed by branches of large trees.


This wall—now recently shown to be a reconstruction in a later ancient
period[49]—is in every point better built than many walls on the
Acropolis, and is superior in workmanship to many of the divisional
walls of the Elliptical Temple. The outer face is fairly well

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Measurements of main wall._—The circumference of the outer face of the
main wall taken at the level of the threshold of the entrances measures
about 831 ft. As the foundations throughout the circumference are, as
is shown later, some 3 ft. to 5 ft. below this level, and as the usual
Zimbabwe batter-back prevails, the circumference of the foundations of
this building may safely be estimated at a further 40 ft., which would
make a total circumference of the base of the temple some 873 ft.

The circumference of the inside face of the entire main wall measured
at a corresponding level is about 776 ft. 6 in., the foundations, as
shown later, being from 3 ft. to 5 ft. below the level at which this
measurement was taken.

Granite slabs with painted figures now mark the distances both outside
and inside round the main wall, commencing in either case at the south
side of the West Entrance and going south. The distances on the outside
are marked at every 50 ft., and those on the inside at every 20 ft. A
small black spot is painted on the wall just above each slab to denote
the exact spot in each length measured.

In this description of the Elliptical Temple all measurements in
angular brackets are exterior measurements of the main wall only, and
those in rounded brackets are those of interior measurements of the
main wall, all commencing at the south side of the West Entrance and
going south. For instance, “The North-West Entrance is situated between
the following points in the main wall—[656 ft.] and [660 ft.] and (606
ft. 6 in.) and (611 ft.),” or “A large granite beam lies at the base of
the main wall at (338 ft.).”

                     WEST ENTRANCE AND GOING SOUTH

Position   Point  Height above  Height above   Width of     Batter-back
of wall.     of     cleared      bottom of     present      of face of
          compass   surface.    foundation.    summit.         wall.

 [0 ft.]     W.    7 ft. 6 in.  11 ft.         6 ft. 6 in.         8 in.

    Between [0 ft.] and [10 ft.] summit of wall rises from 7 ft. to
        22 ft.

[10 ft.]     —    22 ft.        23 ft. 10 in.  4 ft. 2 in.  2 ft.
[25 ft.]     —    21 ft. 6 in.  23 ft.  6 in.  5 ft. 6 in.  2 ft.
[50 ft.]     —    22 ft.        24 ft.         6 ft. 6 in.  2 ft.  6 in.

    Between [98 ft.] and [104 ft.] are traces of a wall of this width
        running towards S.W.

[100 ft.]   S.W.  22 ft.        24 ft.         6 ft. 6 in.  2 ft.  6 in.
[150 ft.]  S.S.W. 22 ft. 6 in.  24 ft. 6 in.   6 ft. 6 in.  2 ft.  6 in.

    Between [161 ft.] and [166 ft. 6 in.] are traces only of wall of
        this width protruding from main wall towards S.W.

    Chevron Pattern commences at [189 ft.] and extends to [455 ft.
        6 in.].

[200 ft.]    S.   22 ft. 8 in.  25 ft. 2 in.  10 ft. 2 in.  1 ft. 10 in.
[250 ft.]   S.E.  25 ft.        26 ft. 6 in.   8 ft. 2 in.  2 ft.  6 in.
[300 ft.]   S.E.  29 ft.        30 ft. 6 in.   8 ft. 6 in.  1 ft.  8 in.
[350 ft.]    E.   29 ft.        31 ft. 6 in.   9 ft. 6 in.  1 ft.  4 in.

    At [380 ft.] outer end of drain-hole through main wall.

[400 ft.]    E.   30 ft.        31 ft. 9 in.   7 ft. 4 in.  2 ft.  6 in.

    At [425 ft. 9 in.] outer end of drain-hole through main wall.

[450 ft.]  E.N.E. 32 ft.        34 ft.         9 ft. 6 in.  3 ft.

    From [450 ft.] to [565 ft.] is Outer Parallel Passage.
    Chevron Pattern ends at [455 ft. 6 in.].
    At [482 ft.] outer end of drain-hole through main wall.

[500 ft.]   N.E.  33 ft.        35 ft. 6 in.  12 ft. 2 in.  3 ft.  6 in.

    At [510 ft. 6 in.] outer end of drain-hole through main wall.
    At [530 ft.] line of summit falls to 28 ft.

[550 ft.]   N.E.  19 ft.        21 ft.        13 ft. 4 in.  1 ft.  4 in.

    Summit of wall very considerably dilapidated.
    At [560 ft.] outer end of drain-hole through main wall.
    At [571 ft. 6 in.] to [576 ft. 6 in.] steps of North Entrance.

[575 ft.]   N.E.  11 ft.     (not examined)   14 ft.        2 ft.  6 in.

    West side of North Entrance, 11 ft. high, rises to 17 ft. at
        [580 ft.].

    Between [586 ft.] to [590 ft.] wall this width, forming
        north-west side of North-East Passage, protrudes from main
        wall towards N.E.

    From [610 ft.] to [620 ft.] is gap in main wall and mis-joint of
        earlier and later walls.

[625 ft.]    N.   16 ft. 6 in.  19 ft.         5 ft.        1 ft.

    Original height of wall reduced to 16 ft. 6 in. on west side of

[656 ft.]  N.N.W. 17 ft.        19 ft.         3 ft. 6 in.  1 ft. 10 in.
    East side of North-West Entrance.

[660 ft.]  N.N.W. 17 ft.        19 ft.         5 ft. 6 in.  1 ft. 10 in.

    West side of North-West Entrance.

[675 ft.]   N.W.  17 ft.        18 ft. 6 in.   5 ft. 2 in.  1 ft. 10 in.

    Face of wall bulges outwards above foundations.

[700 ft.]   N.W.  18 ft.        19 ft. 10 in.  4 ft. 6 in.  1 ft.  6 in.

    For several feet on either side of [700 ft.] summit of wall is
        considerably depressed by tree boughs hitting it.

    A wall connecting No. 1 Ruin with Elliptical Temple protrudes
        from main wall between [705 ft.] and [710 ft.].

[750 ft.]  W.N.W. 21 ft.        23 ft.         4 ft.  8 in. 2 ft.  6 in.
[800 ft.]  W.N.W. 20 ft. 6 in.  22 ft. 4 in.   4 ft. 10 in. 3 ft.

    From [814 ft.] to [829 ft.] the line of summit breaks downwards
        abruptly from 20 ft. to 8 ft. in height.

[827 ft. 9 in.] W. 8 ft.       (not examined)  6 ft.              10 in.

    This is the north side of West Entrance.

[831 ft. 9 in.] This is the south side of the West Entrance, where the
    first measurement started.


Position  Side of    Height above    Batter-back of  Point in interior
of wall.  temple.  cleared surface.  face of wall.      of temple.

(0 ft.)  W.N.W.    7 ft. 6 in.           8 in.        No. 5 Enclosure

    Between (0 ft.) and (10 ft.) is a large rounded buttress
        projecting into the temple. (See description of West

    Between (0 ft.) and (10 ft.) summit rises sharply from 7 ft.
        6 in. to 18 ft. 6 in., measurement from present surface of
        interior soil.

(10 ft.) W.N.W.   18 ft. 6 in.     2 ft.              No. 5 Enclosure
(20 ft.) W.N.W.   21 ft.           1 ft. 10 in.             〃

    Measured from bottom of trench showing an old cement floor now

(40 ft.)  W.N.W.   21 ft.           1 ft. 8 in.       No. 5 Enclosure

    Measured from bottom of trench showing an old cement floor now

(60 ft.)    W.     21 ft. 4 in.     1 ft. 6 in.       No. 5 Enclosure

    Measured from bottom of trench showing an old cement floor now

(80 ft.)    W.     21 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 2 in.       No. 5 Enclosure

    Measured from bottom of trench showing an old cement floor now

(100 ft.)   W.     18 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 9 in.       No. 6 Enclosure

    Measured from top of débris on summit of low divisional wall.

(120 ft.)  S.W.    20 ft. 10 in.    2 ft. 1 in.       No. 6 Enclosure

    Measured from red clay floor, believed to be of Makalanga

    At (134 ft.) to (138 ft.) are traces only of a divisional wall.

(140 ft.)  S.W.    21 ft. 8 in.     2 ft. 2 in.       No. 6 Enclosure

    Measured from a yellow granite cement floor.

(160 ft.)  S.W.    22 ft. 4 in.     2 ft. 2 in.       No. 6 Enclosure

    Measured from a yellow granite cement floor.

(179 ft. 3 in.)

    Angle of walls.

(180 ft.)   S.W.   21 ft. 6 in.     2 ft.             No. 6 Enclosure

    Measured from a yellow granite cement floor.

    At (180 ft.) step-down of foundation of 5 ft.

(200 ft.)  S.S.W.  17 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 2 in.       No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from summit of old excavated débris,     Sacred Enclosure
        5 ft. high (since removed).                       (west)

(220 ft.)  S.S.W.  22 ft.           1 ft. 6 in.       No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from summit of old excavated débris,     Sacred Enclosure
        5 ft. high.                                       (west)

(240 ft.)    S.    23 ft. 6 in.     3 ft.             No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from summit of old excavated débris,     Sacred Enclosure
        5 ft. high.                                       (west)

    The large Conical Tower stands between (246 ft.)
        to (264 ft.).

(260 ft.)   S.     26 ft. 6 in.     2 ft. 10 in.     No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from yellow granite cement floor.        Sacred Enclosure

(280 ft.)   S.     26 ft. 6 in.    2 ft. 4 in.       No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from yellow granite cement floor.        Sacred Enclosure
    The roughly built buttress at (286 ft.) to (303 ft.)
        is not ancient.

(300 ft.)   S.     28 ft.           2 ft. 6 in.       No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from yellow cement floor.                Sacred Enclosure
    There are doubts as to the antiquity of buttress
        at (306 ft.) to (319 ft.).

(320 ft.)  S.S.E.  29 ft.           2 ft. 4 in.       No. 8 Enclosure

    Measured from yellow granite cement floor.        Sacred Enclosure
                                                       (east). At West
    Granite monolith (conjected) fallen from wall at     Entrance to
        (340 ft.).                                    Parallel Passage.

    Drain-hole through wall at (352 ft.).

(340 ft.)  S.S.E.  28 ft. 10 in.    2 ft. 2 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

    At (352 ft.) is a drain-hole.

(360 ft.)  S.S.E.  30 ft. 6 in.     2 ft. 2 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

(380 ft.)   S.E.   30 ft. 4 in.     3 ft.             Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

    Drain-hole at (391 ft. 6 in.).

(400 ft.)   S.E.   29 ft.           3 ft. 2 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

(420 ft.)  E.S.E.  30 ft. 4 in.     3 ft. 2 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

(440 ft.)  E.S.E.  30 ft. 6 in.     4 ft.             Parallel Passage

    Measured from cement floor.

    Drain-hole at (442 ft.).

(460 ft.)    E.    31 ft.           3 ft. 6 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from soil surface.

    Drain-hole at (471 ft.).

(480 ft.)    E.    31 ft.           2 ft. 4 in.       Parallel Passage

    Measured from soil surface.

(500 ft.)   N.E.   27 ft.           2 ft. 10 in.      Parallel Passage

    The summit of the wall is much dilapidated. Between (500 ft.)
        and (520 ft.) the wall is broken, there being a large gap of
        this width, the bottom of which is 14 ft. above present level
        of floor.

(520 ft.)   N.E.   13 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 6 in.       Parallel Passage

    Between (520 ft.) and (530 ft.) is the North Entrance. Wall on
        east side 6 ft. high, on west side 6 ft. 6 in. high, but on
        each side rises sharply within a few feet of the entrance.

    From (536 ft.) to (544 ft.) are remains of small banquette
        below summit, and at 6 ft. above ground.

(540 ft.)  N.N.E.  18 ft.           1 ft. 8 in.       No. 2 Enclosure

    Drain-hole at (549 ft.).

(560 ft.)  N.N.E.  12 ft.           2 ft.             No. 2 Enclosure

    Centre of line of summit is 3 ft. higher than reduced inside

    Between (566 ft.) and (570 ft.) is the mis-joint in earlier and
        later walls.

(580 ft.)    N.     3 ft.             —               No. 2 Enclosure

    At (580 ft.) the wall on west side of gap rises abruptly.

(600 ft.)    N.    18 ft.           1 ft. 10 in.      No. 3 Enclosure

    Measured from an old cement floor.

    Between (606 ft. 6 in.) and (611 ft. 6 in.) is the North-West

(620 ft.)   N.W.    6 ft.           10 in.            No. 3 Enclosure

    At (614 ft.) this wall rises perpendicularly to 16 ft.

(640 ft.)  N.N.W.  16 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 6 in.       No. 3 Enclosure

    Measured from granite cement floor.

(660 ft.)  N.N.W.  19 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 4 in.       No. 3 Enclosure

    Measured from granite cement floor.

    Depression on summit caused by a tree.

(680 ft.)  N.N.W.  20 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 2 in.       No. 4 Enclosure

    Measured from granite cement floor.

(700 ft.)  N.N.W.  20 ft. 6 in.     2 ft.             No. 4 Enclosure

    Measured from granite cement floor.

(720 ft.)   N.W.   18 ft. 6 in.     1 ft. 4 in.       No. 4 Enclosure

    Measured from granite cement floor.

    Depression on summit caused by a tree.

(740 ft.)   N.W.   19 ft.           2 ft. 1 in.       Wall separating
                                                       Nos. 4 and 5
    Measured from base of divisional wall.              Enclosures

(750 ft.)   N.W.   18 ft. 10 in.    1 ft. 10 in.      No. 5 Enclosure

    Measured from surface of soil.

    Near (54 ft.) summit of wall drops to 9 ft. at north side of
        West Entrance.

(763 ft. 6 in.) W.N.W.  7 ft.       10 in.            No. 5 Enclosure

    Opening of West Entrance between (763 ft.) and (766 ft.).

(776 ft. 6 in.) This is the south side of West Entrance, where first
    measurement started.


_Summit of main wall._—For some fairly extensive lengths along the
summit of the more massive portion of the main wall the blocks and
stones are higher on the centre of the floor of the summit than at top
outer edges on either side, from which edges the measurements of the
heights above the exterior and interior surfaces of the ground were
taken. Branches of trees beating in high winds upon the summit, the
weight of heavy festoons of creepers hanging from the summit, and the
growth of monkey-ropes and wild vines in the joints of the dry masonry
have destroyed some of the upper courses on either side of the wall.
Therefore to the heights stated in the foregoing tables should be
added at least 1 ft. or 2 ft., this being a fair average height of the
whale-back ridge along portions of the summit of the wall.

An interesting question arises: What was the original height of the
massive portion of the wall? There are some evidences that the original
height could not have been more than six courses above the chevron
pattern which runs on a true level on the upper and outer face of the
wall between [189 ft.] and [455 ft.]. The greatest number of courses
now remaining over this pattern is five, but these are only found at
two points and for the length of a few blocks. At most points above
the pattern there are no upper courses remaining; at other points one
or two courses are perfect for some distance; the most frequent are
three courses; while at several points there are four courses. To the
heights given in the tables can safely be added 1 ft. to 2 ft. Were the
obviously missing courses to be restored, the raised ridge along the
centre of parts of the summit would be cleared, for these ridges of
stones are formed of blocks once carefully packed, all on their flat
sides, between side walls, and are similar to the existing internal
portions of other well-built walls at Zimbabwe.

Adding this further height of from 1 ft. to 2 ft. to the tabulated
heights, we can carry the investigation much further. The upper faces
of the blocks of the fourth and fifth courses above the pattern are too
free from decomposition, weather-stain, and lichen to have formed the
topmost courses; in fact, their upper surfaces are decidedly fresh,
as if the courses above them had not long disappeared, and when it is
recollected that experience shows that the exposed top surfaces of
blocks are found to take on signs of decomposition and of exposure to
weather, and also to become covered with lichen quicker than the side
faces of blocks in the body of the wall, and that the upper courses
would have given some evidences of long exposure, which they do not, we
may be certain that the wall was carried a further course, or possibly
two courses of the wall higher than the fifth course above the pattern.
Therefore at many points along the highest portions of the wall, as
shown in the tables, 2 ft. 6 in. may be added to the tabulated heights,
and this would include the height of the six courses above the pattern
throughout its whole length.

Whether the original summit was higher than these six courses is a
matter of conjecture. Possibly the wall was two or three courses higher
than the six courses. Here, as elsewhere in the first-period ruins in
Rhodesia, the best-built portion of the edifice is that which bears
the decorative designs. This appears to be an invariable rule in such
older ruins. But at this temple the whole wall, and especially the
courses immediately above and below the pattern, are the best-built
portions of the most superior wall of the building, the courses being
far truer. Moreover, a good quality of stone is employed, giving the
impression that it was specially selected for the purpose, so much so
that their back parts are as well squared as their front faces. It is
most obvious, as practical builders claim, that the pattern itself and
its enclosing courses show the best workmanship on the part of the
ancients, and this notwithstanding that this wall is admitted by all
to stand pre-eminent among excellently constructed walls to be found
anywhere in Rhodesia.


In removing the wall débris at the outer base of the wall containing
the chevron pattern for the purpose of forming catchment areas for
draining the ground near the wall, two classes of stone blocks were
found, a quantity of large, shallow, flat stones similar to those lying
in the middle parts of the summit of the walls, and also a quantity of
well-shaped blocks as used both in the pattern and in the enclosing
courses, but it was estimated that there were not enough of these
blocks to have carried the outer face of the wall more than some two
courses above the fifth course above the pattern. It is impossible to
draw any corresponding inferences with regard to débris on the base of
the interior side of the wall, for excavators have moved this out of
all relative position to the wall from which it fell.

But there is also some evidence as to the original height of the wall.
Such of the undoubted monoliths as still stand more or less erect on
the summit of the wall—and as is shown later, not every upright stone
on this wall is necessarily a monolith—have no signs on their faces of
having been built in by blocks up to any height above the level of the
six courses above the pattern. In the case of any fallen monolith from
the faces of which supporting blocks or any of them have disappeared,
it can be ascertained to what depth the base of the monolith was built
into the wall, and in this respect there is some evidence to guide one
in estimating the original height of the ancient wall so adorned. The
wearing of their sides by the edges of supporting blocks can almost
always be noticed, in addition to which the rain of many centuries is
guided to the base by the position of the supporting blocks which guide
the water downwards, thus causing small rimlets to form on the lower
part of the beams, especially those of slate or soapstone, where the
rimlets have become in time beautifully smooth and glazed. Therefore
it is highly probable that the height of the six courses above the
pattern, with the present height of the wall above its foundations as
given in the tables, formed the original height of the massive portion
of the enclosing wall.

The discovery in December, 1902, of what are believed to be traces of a
line of small round towers on the outer edge of the summit immediately
over the chevron pattern—and these are referred to later—affords very
strong evidence as to what was the original height of the wall, and
points to the limit of six courses above the chevron pattern. The line
of small round towers (recently found to have been conical) on the
outer edge of the west wall of the Western Temple on the Acropolis have
their foundations a few inches below the present summit of the wall.
The foundations of the towers on the wall at the Elliptical Temple,
now being described, have their foundations on the present surface of
the central ridge along the summit of the wall, but were the pattern
made good at the height of the six courses alone, the positions of
these foundations would be identical in several respects with those of
the towers on the Acropolis. Thus these foundations provide a fourth
important corroborative clue as to the original height of the wall.

Along the floor of the summit are laid some large, broad, but shallow
slabs of granite of irregular form, while down below on either side
were a score of others which have fallen off the wall. Bent suggested
that the summit was once paved with these slabs. In view of the four
proofs just adduced with regard to the original height of the wall
being somewhat higher than is seen to-day, the purpose of the slabs
could hardly be that of providing a pavement for the summit. Most
probably they were the “ties” or “throughs” to bind the wall at its
top courses, as invariably found near the summits of the best class of
walls, especially so in all rounded ends of walls, summits of rounded
buttresses, and in the Conical Tower where, near its summit, the back
and inside ends of the blocks are frequently longer than in the lower
courses where they are short. Many of these slabs on the main wall
lie across the wall on its present surface, but these are frequently
covered with laid blocks. The best instances at Zimbabwe of the “tying”
and bonding of the highest courses of walls are to be seen on the
Acropolis, but this feature is elsewhere in Rhodesia common in several
ruins which are not built upon the angular principle. It is natural to
suppose that, if the ancients not only carefully tied the upper courses
of almost all walls with “throughs,” and also tied several points
between base and summit, this main wall bearing the decorative pattern,
and once having on its summit, as is now believed, both round towers
and soapstone beams, the ancients, admittedly being skilful builders,
would regard the effective tying and bonding of such a wall as an
important necessity, especially as the wide and commodious summit was,
as stated by Bent, in all probability a look-out and much-frequented
elevation. The stones which are uncovered are decomposed and lichen-and
moss-covered on their upper faces, but are on their under side as fresh
and as clean as if they had just been brought from the quarry. Some
visitors, supposing these tie-stones to have been fallen monoliths,
have placed four of them in an upright position where they now stand,
but unlike all true monoliths, they are not weathered or time-eaten
all round, and two so erected have all their faces perfectly clean and

The summit of the north-west portion of the main wall is fairly level,
save at north-west and west entrances where the wall is reduced in
height, and also at several points where large branches of trees have
beaten off the blocks of the upper courses. The narrow width of the
summit, as shown in the foregoing tables, and the number of loose
stones lying upon it, make it somewhat awkward for walking along it,
still this can be done far more easily than might be supposed from Mr.
Swan’s description. The battering-back of its outer and inner faces
appears to point to its original summit being only slightly higher than
its present top at its highest point. If the wall were once more than
three or four courses above its present highest point, the débris must
have been removed, for no greater quantity of blocks were found than
would have sufficed to make good that height.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Foundation._—For such massive walls it is astonishing to find that the
bottom courses of the foundation are not more than from 2 ft. to 3 ft.
6 in. below the present level of the ground immediately surrounding the
building. The foundation has been examined at eighteen equi-distant
points along the outer circumference, and in no single part does it
rest on formation rock, the nearest proximity of which is at a further
depth of 4 ft. on the north, 5 ft. on the west, 9 ft. on the south, and
4 ft. on the east. Nor are the bottom courses formed of large blocks,
as is so frequently seen in foundations of other ruins, but blocks
no larger than those in the upper courses have been employed almost
without exception. Near (177 ft.) there is a step-up in the foundation
westwards of 5 ft. 9 in. Near [625 ft.] there runs for a few feet a
very narrow step-back in the three lowest courses of the foundation,
but this is the only point in the circumference of the wall where this
feature can be noticed.

The foundation bed upon which the wall is built is purely artificial.
Evidently the ancient architects prepared a level surface for the wall,
because there is only from 3 ft. to 5 ft. difference in the level of
the foundations all round, notwithstanding that on the south-east the
ground towards the “Valley of Ruins” and the temple which is erected on
the edge of its slope commands the “Valley of Ruins.”

The surface of the prepared foundation consisted of fine cement, now
decomposed[50] to firm dry sand. This cement is in places at least
3 ft. deep, is laid on the granite formation for 10 ft. and 15 ft.
beyond the wall on both inside and outside the building, and later,
when the lower courses of the foundation had been laid, a further
flooring of cement was laid, making the side of the lower portion of
the foundations at least 1 ft. 6 in., if not 2 ft. 6 in. deep.

The enormous amount of time and labour required to be expended merely
in preparing the surface on which to erect the temple is bewildering to
contemplate, and fairly rivals as a demonstration of patient labour,
length of time of construction, and good workmanship the massive walls
themselves. The decomposed cement, which has now become mere sand, was
very finely ground, there being not the smallest splinter of granite in
its composition. The cement being yellow suggests that the ancients,
to save breaking up large pieces of stone, were content to collect
small fragments of granite which had become decomposed, and therefore
were easier to grind, for everywhere in this locality, especially in
damp places and near any granite boulder or glacis, are to be found
quantities of small granite chips all yellow with decomposition.
Possibly granite sand from neighbouring streams might also have been

                            CHEVRON PATTERN

On the upper portion of the exterior face of the south-east main
wall is the celebrated chevron pattern which forms one of the most
interesting features at the Elliptical Temple. This pattern runs
for 265 ft. 6 in. from [189 ft.] to [456 ft. 6 in.] on the line of
measurement of the exterior circumference of the temple, that is, from
south-south-east to east-north-east.

The pattern is in two rows or bands, which together are 18 in. deep,
and Bent states that “it extends along the part of the wall which
receives directly the rays of the sun when rising at the summer
solstice.” The portion of the main wall carrying the pattern is in the
form of an arc, and is the best-built and most substantial part of the
wall. Granite monoliths still stand more or less erect on the summit
of the wall above the pattern, but not elsewhere. Over the pattern
are the foundations of what appear to have been small circular towers
resembling in size and position those on the main west wall of the
Western Temple on the Acropolis.

In 1903 a quantity of sections of worked soapstone beams were found on
the summit of the wall over the pattern. On no other portions of the
summit are there traces of monoliths, round towers, or soapstone beams.
Bent was unaware of the existence of the traces of round towers or of
the soapstone beams on the wall over the pattern, yet he writes, as
seems perfectly correct, “Those parts only of the wall which receive
the direct rays of the sun when rising at the summer solstice are
decorated by this symbolical pattern.” This statement equally applies
to the Eastern Temple on the hill and to the large curved wall in
Philips Ruins, also to the Western Temple, only in this latter case
the great main wall, which is in the form of an arc and is decorated,
receives on its face the rays of the setting sun at the winter
solstice. A very strong corroboration of this statement is afforded by
several other of the more important ruins in Rhodesia which are built
upon the curved plan.

In this pattern the blocks are placed on end with the top of each
supported by the neighbouring block on one side, thus forming a series
of triangular spaces with the bases alternately up and down. The
sides of these angular spaces are about 7 in. long, and the openings
have been neatly filled in with small stones set back inside 2 in. or
3 in. from flush with the face of the wall. The pattern is somewhat
dilapidated in places owing to creeper growths on the wall and to the
swinging of large tree branches, which in every wind beat the pattern
and loosened the stones forming it.

Chevron pattern was in ancient times the symbol for Fertility. It
closely resembles the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for water, and also
the zodiacal sign of Aquarius, and represents the sea on such Phœnician
coins as have engravings of ships.

This pattern is found on several of the ruins of the oldest type, and
not on such as by their style of architecture may be considered to be
of a later ancient period. It is found in several of the large ruins
between Zimbabwe and the Sabi, also at Umnukwana Ruins. A portion of
chevron of small size is to be seen at Dhlo-dhlo.

                   •       •       •       •       •

_Ground surface of exterior of main wall._—Till August, 1902, the area
surrounding the Elliptical Temple was mere veld and bush, and trees and
shrubs grew so thickly near the main wall that it was impossible at
certain points to penetrate the jungle to make a complete examination
of the wall, while piles of soil from excavations lay along the base
of the wall, and some up against the wall itself, in some cases to a
height of 6 ft. above the average level of the exterior ground.

Trenches and deep holes, the main wall forming one side of them, were
lined with mud, and filled with ferns and plants which could only
flourish in a situation which was perpetually damp. There was every
evidence that these trenches and holes were filled with water during
each wet season, and that they retained a considerable amount of
moisture even during the dry seasons. At two points this constant state
of damp held by these cuttings had caused the foundations, which at
no place rest on the bed-rock, to sink some inches, thus imparting
wave-like lines to the courses of the wall close to such holes.

To remove this source of injury to the wall by causing it to sink and
also by stimulating tree and creeper growths which were damaging the
wall, it was decided to remove all such débris piles, and also the
veld soil, most of which had in the course of ages silted down from
the lower slopes of the Bentberg some 200 yds. distant on the south
side of the temple, and to leave a floor of hard soil which would
serve to drain off all rain-water and protect the bases of the walls
from being washed by the storm streams from the higher ground. This
work was carried out for a width of some 6 to 8 yds. round the entire
circumference of the temple. Five catchment areas were formed on the
north-west, west, south, and east sides, and from each such area a
run-off now leads all rain-water into a hole sunk in the ground at some
12 yds. distance from the main wall.

These five holes, as shown later, have proved useful in demonstrating
certain features connected with the temple which so far had been
impossible of examination:—

(1) The rock formation is at almost every point some feet below the
lowest course of the foundations of the main wall, in most cases 3 ft.
to 4 ft., and in one instance—the south—fully 6 ft.

(2) The ground outside the temple has been raised by the silting of
soil from the slopes of the Bentberg, by the spreading out of both
ancient and old native débris piles, by the levelling-up of the surface
for laying clay floors of Makalanga huts, and by block débris from
the main and several minor walls. This filling-in, both natural and
artificial, averages to a height of at least 5 ft. above the level
known to the ancients, thus reducing the comparative elevation of the
temple to that extent. It is now clear that the temple once stood on a
comparatively higher and far more imposing elevation than it stands at

(3) The granite plateau which underlies the soil upon which the temple
is built is irregular, and resembles on a larger scale the granite
plateaux which extend eastward from the temple.[51]

                               CHAPTER X

                         THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

                            MAIN ENTRANCES

                         _North-West Entrance_

This entrance is on the north-west side of the temple at (606 ft. 6
in.) to (611 ft. 6 in.) inside, and [656 ft.] to [660 ft.] outside. As
in the case of _North and West Entrances_, the foundations of the main
wall are carried from side to side of the entrance and from the floor
of the passage, and in them the outer steps are built. The east side
wall is 4 ft. wide where it starts to curve inwards to form the passage
and at 6 ft. above the floor of the entrance. The west side is 7 ft.
wide where it starts to round inwards and at 6 ft. above the entrance

Evidently this entrance was not of the importance of either of the
other two portals to the temple. No internal passages converge upon it;
it is less massive, and its purpose appears to have been limited to
serving as a communication with _No. 1 Ruins_ only, as a substantial
wall which encloses these ruins runs round to the north-west main wall
of the temple between [705 ft.] and [710 ft.], where it joins it at
right angles to the main walls. These enclosing walls thus cut off on
either side the exterior of the _North-West Entrance_ from the other
portions of the exterior of the temple, and in these enclosing walls no
signs have so far been discovered of there having been any entrances.



This entrance is built on well-curved lines, but the rounded faces
of the two side walls do not exactly face one another, since the
outside face of the west side projects some 12 in. further north than
that on the east side, the west wall being wider than the east one,
though on their inside faces they are flush with each other. There are
no buttresses on the outside of this entrance. The summits of the side
walls, some 6 ft. above the outside level, are less ruined than those
of the other two entrances; the gap between the two summits including
the width of the entrance is only 8 ft. 6 in., the broken faces of the
upper portions of the walls rising perpendicularly on either side.

[Illustration: North-West Entrance


N^{o.} 3 Enclosure]

This entrance is 2 ft. 9 in. wide in the centre. The wall on the west
side is perfect up to 5 ft. in height, and that on the east side to 6
ft. 6 in. There are two steps on the outer side, and these are formed
by the courses in the foundation being carried across the entrance and
curved inwards at the centre of the passage.

On either side of the entrance in the interior of the temple there are
plumb and angular buttresses of poor construction resting upon soft
soil. Each projects 5 ft. 6 in. into _No. 3 Enclosure_, and each is 1
ft. 9 in. high, the width between their straight faces being 2 ft. 8
in. Each buttress is rounded off on the outer side and joins the main
wall, that on the east side being 7 ft. long, and that on the west side
9 ft. 6 in. long.

When Bent arrived at Zimbabwe in 1891 he found this entrance built
up to a height of 9 ft. This had then been done some fifty years
previously by the Makalanga when the previous Mogabe Chipfuno was
only a boy. This walling-up was for the purpose of closing in _No. 3
Enclosure_, which was used as a cattle kraal. It is highly probable
that the Makalanga took the upper portions of the two buttresses which
are on either side of the inside of this entrance for building material
in so walling it up, for these buttresses, judging by the absence of
stone débris and the condition of the faces of the main wall where
the buttresses were once built up against it, appear to have been
deliberately denuded of their courses for at least some feet of their
original height.

Bent removed the walling-up, but left its foundation in the entrance
at 2 ft. below which the paved passage and steps were unburied in
September, 1902. This foundation of the Makalanga wall was laid across
a pile of blocks thrown promiscuously on to the floor of this entrance,
and this again rested on soil black with charcoal, decomposed vegetable
matter, and bones of buck split open for the marrow, and this débris
contained broken articles of Makalanga make, but of superior quality to
those made by them to-day.

_The North Entrance_

This entrance is in the north-east wall of the temple, and its exit
faces north-east, twenty-five degrees, and is situated between the (523
ft. 6 in.) and (536 ft.) points of the measurement of the inside base
of the main wall from the south side of the west entrance, and between
the [566 ft. 6 in.] and [571 ft. 6 in.] points of the measurement of
the outside base of the main wall from the south side of same entrance.
It has always been known as the North Entrance, as it is on the north
side of the centre of the temple. Bent terms it the North Entrance, as
do other writers, and in our description it will be so styled.

Its massive size and excellent construction exceed those of any
other known ancient entrance, unless it be the West Entrance, which,
however, at present remains uncleared, and, except for the dilapidation
of the higher portions of its rounded sides, it is certainly the
best-preserved entrance so far discovered at Zimbabwe. Until November,
1902, the existence of its symmetrical and massive steps was altogether
unsuspected, for these and the outer face of the entrance had been
buried to a depth of 5 ft. in débris, the major portion of which could
not have been disturbed for apparently many scores of years. The
opening out of this entrance and also of the walled-in area immediately
in front and to the north of it has revealed another leading
architectural feature in addition to those already known at this
temple. Photographs of the North Entrance, as it previously appeared,
now only represent the tops of the side walls of the entrance.

[Illustration: North or Main Entrance



Though its outer side faces towards north-east, twenty-five degrees,
the entrance passage itself runs somewhat obliquely through the wall,
the south end being slightly more to the east than is the outer end,
and standing in the middle of the south end the line of passage further
to the north than does its outer face, and there is a view of the
eastern end of the Acropolis, the lower portion of which is at present
hidden by a pile of granite block débris removed from the interior of
the temple.

The main walls on either side of the entrance are exceedingly massive
and exceptionally well built, the entrance and steps forming a
handsome piece of dry masonry, which reveals the artistic plan and
bold conception of the ancient architects, admirably executed by the
builders. On the east side the wall is 15 ft. 6 in. wide at the points
where the main wall starts to curve in forming the east side of the
entrance, and this measurement is taken at 13 ft. above the level of
the outside area. On the west side the main wall is 14 ft. 6 in. wide
at the points where the wall starts to curve in forming the west side
of this entrance, this measurement being taken at 12 ft. above the
level of the outside area.

The entrance passage is 15 ft. 9 in. long. It is 7 ft. 10 in. wide at
the foot of the steps on the north side, and 12 ft. wide at the south
end between those points on either side where the walls start to curve
in forming the entrance. The steps occupy 4 ft. 4 in. of the north end
of the length of the passage, and the rest is paved level; but at the
south end the flooring is slightly uneven owing to roots having moved
some of the paving blocks. The level at the south end terminates in a
step-down, which runs from the south face of one side wall to the south
face of the other side wall. The present heights of the reduced
walls of the entrance are: east side, 7 ft. 6 in.; west side, 6 ft. 10



There are six rows of steps each 7 in. high, and each row in its centre
recedes 10 in. beyond the one below it, the row curving inwards at its
centre. The walls on either side of this entrance are not separate
walls, but a common foundation runs under both, forming the floor of
the passage, which floor is 3 ft. 4 in. higher than the level of the
outer area.

The steps are formed by the courses of blocks of the outer face of the
wall on one side passing to the outer face of the wall on the opposite
side, where they are continued, making a curve inwards, each curve
receding with mathematical precision behind the curve in front. The
courses on either side assume a fan-like form, thus making the curved
courses of the steps wider in the middle than on the sides. The steps
were built before the side walls of the passage were erected, and their
marvellous regularity demonstrates the foresight of the builders. The
end blocks of each row are partly built into the walls on either side.
The courses in the main wall at this point are remarkably even and
correct, the courses on the one side corresponding with the courses on
the other. These steps are identical in measurement with all steps, so
far discovered, found built in any ancient wall of the oldest type of
ruin, and are of altogether different construction from those of the
angular and terraced ruins of the later period in which the angular
side walls of an entrance are first erected, and the steps afterwards
built in between them.

Bent frequently refers to this entrance as the main entrance of the
temple. In so doing he is in all probability correct, though many of
the facts concerning it, which give it an importance not possessed by
either of the other two entrances, were then unknown to him. These were
discovered in November, 1902. But the fact that three passages—Parallel
Passage, Inner Parallel Passage, and South Passage—all converge
on this entrance shows that it must have possessed considerable
importance. But the recent clearing away of the débris to a depth of
some 6 ft. has revealed the lower portion of the entrance with its
well-constructed flight of steps, as well as the admirably proportioned
structure of the entrance, which can now be seen to be by far the
finest entrance to the temple.

But the further discovery in November, 1902, of the long-buried
North-East Passage, and the clearing out of the Outer Parallel Passage,
both of which converge on the outer face of this entrance, have
disclosed the fact that an even greater importance attached to this
entrance than Bent or Sir John Willoughby could have supposed, for the
existence of the North-East Passage was unknown to them, seeing that
the summits of its side walls were buried at least 2 ft. under the
veld. This passage, with buried enclosures on either hand, has now been
cleared out for 108 yds., with traces of an extension for a further
70 yds. in a direct line towards the south-east Ancient Ascent to the
Acropolis, and as the large area, known as the “Valley of Ruins,” lies
along this route, and is connected with the passage by numerous side
passages and openings, the importance of the North Entrance is very
considerably enhanced, and Bent’s conjecture is shown to be fully

                          _Western Entrance_

This is the second largest entrance to the temple, and would appear
to have been of some importance. It is by the _West Entrance_ that
visitors now usually enter the building. The gateway opens directly
into _No. 5 Enclosure_.

The entrance is situated between [827 ft. 9 in.] and [831 ft. 9 in.] on
the line of the measurement of the circumference of the exterior of the
building, which starts on the south side of the entrance, and between
(763 ft. 6 in.) and (766 ft. 6 in.) on the line of the measurement
of the circumference of the interior of the main wall, which also
starts on the south side of this entrance. (See _Main Wall_.)



The south side is formed by the boldly rounded end of the main
wall, which is here reduced in height to 7 ft. 6 in., or including
foundations to 11 ft. The reduced summit is 6 ft. 6 in. wide, and has
a batter of 8 in. At 10 ft. from the side wall the main wall rises
abruptly from 7 ft. to 22 ft.

The north side is formed by the main wall, which has a rounded end. Its
height is 8 ft., but rises sharply to 20 ft. The reduced summit is 6
ft. wide, and there is a batter of 10 in. on the face of the side wall.

The passage-way is 4 ft. 2 in. wide between the rounded ends of the two
walls, and it has a total length of 20 ft. 6 in., 9 ft. 6 in. being
over the foundation and 11 ft. over the semi-circular platform, which
supports the two rounded buttresses on the inner side of the entrance.
Unlike the _Main Entrance_ this passage passes through the wall at
right angles.

The semi-circular platform projects into _No. 5 Enclosure_ for 11 ft.,
and upon it, and on either side of the entrance, are two buttresses,
that on the south side being 9 ft. high and 10 ft. wide at the back;
the one on the south side being very much dilapidated is now only 6 ft.
high on the north side and 6 ft. wide at back. These buttresses and the
platform are one structure, the courses in the buttresses are carried
across the passage in a semi-circular form, thus forming steps.

The problem as to the entrance having ever been covered over is at
present an open one, and there is much to be said on either side. The
old men of the Amangwa state that it once had wooden beams across, and
that the entrance was blocked up with stones. The _North-West Entrance_
was in 1891 found by Bent, who reopened it, to have also been built
up at a very late date, and so completely blocked. (See _Entrances_,
Chapter VII.)

On the exterior, and on either side of the entrance, stood, till 1903,
very large débris heaps, each of which was at least 8 ft. high and
many yards in circumference. These on being removed were found to
represent several distinct occupations of the temple, and two-thirds of
their height was accounted for by native occupations and the removal
by explorers of débris from the interior of the building. The native
portion contained ashes and bones in large quantities, iron assegai
heads, hoes, brass and iron wire bangles, clay whorls, and ordinary
native pottery. Some few small relics were found in the soil which
had been taken from the temple. In the lowest portion, which was not
thicker than 18 in., were found phalli, splinters of soapstone beams,
excellent pottery, gold crucibles, beaten gold and gold wire. There
were several layers of ashes, but very few animal bones. The two heaps
had been piled up against the main wall.

                              CHAPTER XI

                         THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

                        ENCLOSURES NOS. 1 TO 7

                            NO. 1 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure is on the north side of the temple, the outer face of
its north-eastern wall being 18 ft. south-west of the _North Entrance_.
This is the most perfect of all the enclosures. It is roughly circular,
and there are no angular features in the body of the wall, though both
entrances have their outer corners squared. The area is: north to south
56 ft. 6 in., and east to west 55 ft. 6 in.

The average height of the walls all round the enclosure is 7 ft. above
the present surface of the filled-in area. At the north-east end the
summit of the wall is 11 ft. above the bottom of an old hole excavated
at that point, and in the hole the foundation is exposed. On the
north-west side the summit of the wall is 9 ft. above the red cemented
floor of an old Makalanga hut which had solid clay sides.

The walls are very substantial, being 5 ft. 6 in. wide and 4 ft. and 5
ft. above the surface of the area, as it was before clearing operations
were commenced.

There are two entrances, one on the north side and the other on the
east side.

The north entrance leads from _No. 3 Enclosure_, and is 2 ft. 6 in.
wide, and its walls are rounded on the inside and angular on the
outside, the side walls being between 3 ft. and 4 ft. high. There are
four rows of steps, somewhat rudely constructed, each being about 10
in. from front to back. A small parapet wall carries the steps from the
lower level of _No. 3 Enclosure_.

The walls of the east entrance are rounded on the inside and angular
on the outside. The entrance is 2 ft. wide, 5 ft. long, with a level
floor for this length, the foundation being carried across the opening,
and the walls on either side are 4 ft. high. There is one step inside
at the end of the 5-ft. length, and one step outside from the floor of
_South Passage_. There are no portcullis grooves to this entrance. On
the inside of this entrance is a stone platform which might once have
carried buttresses.

This enclosure has been subjected to the filling-in process more than
any other enclosure of the temple, probably because of its proximity
to the _North-West Entrance_ through which the material could easily
have been brought in from outside. On the present surface there are
remains of an old Makalanga hut, which must be more than sixty years
old, seeing that the Makalanga have not resided in the temple for over
that period. At a depth of from 1 ft. 6 in. to 2 ft. below this surface
the remains of a still very much older Makalanga hut have been exposed.
This was constructed of red clay, beautifully polished, the flooring
being on a very true level. This class of old huts had their clay
sides altogether independent of the roof, which was supported by poles
inserted at a distance of some inches from the outside of the walls.
(See _Architecture_—_Makalanga Huts_.)

The only “finds” made here were fragments of large soapstone bowls
carved with herring-bone and cord patterns, small clay animals, assegai
heads, and pottery of old, but not ancient, design or make, and
comparatively recent native pottery.

A drain passes through the west wall of this enclosure, and has a fall
into _No. 3 Enclosure_.

Bent stated that this enclosure was not a portion of the original
building. There are indications that this conjecture is correct. The
walls are built without any regularity in courses and of stones of all
shapes and sizes, the west wall crossing over the foundations of an
older wall.

                            NO. 2 ENCLOSURE

This is a pear-shaped enclosure at the north-north-west side of the
temple, and is built up immediately against the main outer wall from
(530 ft.) to (578 ft.), and is on the west side of the _North Entrance_.

It is 47 ft. long from south-east to north-east, and 13 ft. wide from
north-east to south-west at its broadest part.

From (560 ft.) to (565 ft.) the main wall is considerably broken,
having fallen outwards. It is between these points that there is a
narrow break in the foundations, which supports the view regarding the
reconstruction of the western wall at a later ancient period, a matter
dealt with in the description of the main wall, and in the Preface.

This enclosure has only one entrance, and this is at the south-east
end. It has rounded walls, is 8 ft. long, 2 ft. 2 in. wide, and the
wall on the south-west is 4 ft. high, and that on the north-east side 7
ft. high. The floor of this enclosure is between 2 ft. and 3 ft. below
the floor of the adjoining _North Entrance_, and there is one stone and
one cement step in the entrance passage of this enclosure.

A substantial wall, 4 ft. to 8 ft. high, and 4 ft. wide at 4 ft. from
the ground, but evidently of later construction, is on the south side,
and separates this enclosure from _No. 3 Enclosure_, but it has a deep
depression on its summit, and is very considerably ruined for about 20

There is a drain-hole through the main wall at (545 ft.).

This enclosure has suffered very considerably at the hands of
unauthorised searchers for ancient gold relics, some of the flooring
having been torn up, and the foundations of part of the southern wall
have been undermined.

Here in a débris heap was found the large plain flat-rimmed soapstone
bowl which was lent by the late Rt. Hon. C. J. Rhodes to the South
African Museum at Cape Town.

                            NO. 3 ENCLOSURE

This is the most north-westerly enclosure of the temple, the north-west
main wall from (590 ft.) to (660 ft.) forming its north-westerly
boundary. The south side is formed by _No. 1 Enclosure_, the west by
_No. 4 Enclosure_, and the north and east by _No. 2 Enclosure_.

The area is keystone-shaped, being 76 ft. long on its north-west side,
45 ft. 6 in. on its west side, 71 ft. on the south side, and 50 ft. 6
in. on the north and east side.

The _North-West Entrance_ to the temple is at (606 ft. 6 in.) to (611
ft. 6 in.) on the north-west side of the enclosure. (See _Main Wall,
North-West Entrance_, for description.)

The entrance in the west wall between _Nos. 3 and 4 Enclosures_ was not
at the present gap in the débris of this wall, as the gap was made for
the convenience of visitors. The foundations of this wall end abruptly
at 25 ft. from its east end, this portion of the wall being in a fairly
good condition for 14 ft., and being from 3 ft. to 6 ft. high.

The entrance to _No. 1 Enclosure_ is in the south wall at 45 ft. to 49
ft. from the west wall.

The east entrance has rounded sides, is 2 ft. wide, and the side walls
are 4 ft. high. This entrance leads from _South Passage_, and is
immediately inside the _North Entrance_ to the temple.

A drain from _No. 1 Enclosure_ is in the angle formed by the west and
south walls.

Possibly this enclosure was once subdivided, but when mediæval and even
later Makalanga occupied the temple for their residence and cattle
kraal the sub-divisional walls were removed. That this portion of
the temple was used for this purpose is demonstrated both by “finds”
and the condition of the enclosure, and these support the native
assertion to this effect. The remains of a wall runs north-west from
the south-west corner of the enclosure towards the west side of the
_North-West Entrance_. This is 16 ft. long, 2 ft. high, and 3 ft. 6 in.
wide. A second wall is believed to have once stood between the west
side of the entrance to _No. 1 Enclosure_ and the north and east side


At (640 ft.) is a long granite slab, which has evidently fallen from
the summit of the main wall. Probably it was a tie or “through” stone,
as the summit of the main wall had been bonded with similar stones.

In the angle formed by the north-east and north-west walls are
the remains of a large rounded buttress now only 2 ft. high.
Possibly this might be one of the platforms with “blind steps” (see
_Architecture_—_Blind Steps_) which are found in the angles in several
of the temple enclosures.

This enclosure appears to have been filled in with stones and earth at
a very late period, as the filling-in contains at all depths portions
of Makalanga pottery and lumps of iron slag. The ancient floor is
believed to be some 2 ft. below the present surface.

                            NO. 4 ENCLOSURE

This is the most westerly of the temple enclosures. Its form resembles
that of a keystone with the broad side on the west main wall, along the
inside of which it extends for 67 ft. from (666 ft.) to (730 ft.)

It is bounded on the north side by the divisional wall separating
it from _No. 3 Enclosure_, and this side is 47 ft. 6 in. long. This
wall extends from the outer face of the west portion of the wall of
_No. 1 Enclosure_ for 14 ft., from which it is in a good state of
preservation, except for reduction in height, it being now only between
4 ft. and 6 ft., while the rest of the wall is ruined, and is lost in a
line of débris which marks where the wall once stood. At the west end
of this débris are a few blocks still retaining their position, and
these show where the north wall joined the main wall. As on the north
side of this wall, where there is now no trace of entrance between
_Nos. 2 and 3 Enclosures_, so is it on its south side, where the face
of the wall is even more ruined than on the opposite side.

On the south side this enclosure is bounded by the divisional wall
between it and _No. 5 Enclosure_. This wall is 58 ft. long, and bends
southwards in the middle of its length for 5 ft. from a line between
the two extremities of the wall. At the east end of the wall it is 6
ft. high for 5 ft. in length, when it is reduced to 2 ft. with débris
3 ft. higher lying along the summit. The west end of the wall is very
poorly built, and as this enclosure has also been used by the Makalanga
as a cattle kraal, probably finding the wall broken down at its
western end, they rebuilt it in order to keep in the cattle. The wall
throughout is built on a raised cement foundation only slightly wider
than the wall itself.

Though there is at present no trace of any entrance between this and
_No. 5 Enclosure_, there are reasons for believing that traces of one
may be discovered near the spot where a large fig tree grows on the
line of wall.

The east side is 33 ft. in length, and is formed for 10 ft. from the
north side by the west outer face of the wall of _No. 1 Enclosure_,
which is here 11 ft. high; for the following 12 ft. by the opening into
the _West Passage_ which runs parallel to the south-west and west sides
of _No. 1 Enclosure_; and for 13 ft. by the outer and west face of the
_West Passage_, the wall of which is 10 ft. high, and is well built,
substantial, and in a good state of preservation.

The whole of the interior of this enclosure has been deliberately
and rudely filled in with soil, débris, also with stones which have
fallen into it, and for almost 2 ft. in depth it is covered with rich
vegetable mould. [This latter was removed in 1903.]

                            NO. 5 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure is immediately inside the _West Entrance_ to the temple,
the western and south-western main wall forming its boundary on those
sides from (735 ft.) to (760 ft.) on the north side of the entrance,
and from (0 ft.) to (100 ft.) on the south side of the entrance, thus
making its length on the side of the main wall to be 130 ft.

The area was once subdivided, but at present it is difficult to say
exactly where the sub-divisional walls ran, though the faint traces of
these are to be seen in several directions, but all appear to radiate
from the eastern side of the enclosure towards the inside face of the
main wall.

The north side is 59 ft. long, the south wall of _No. 4 Enclosure_
being its northern boundary. The face of this wall at its eastern
extremity is well built, but the western portion of it is very poorly
constructed. The probable cause of this difference in the building of
the wall was explained in the description of _No. 4 Enclosure_, and
also in the Preface.

The eastern side for 36 ft. in length from the north side is formed
by a very well-built wall which forms the southern extremity of _West
Passage_. This wall is now only 6 ft. in height, but the great amount
of wall-débris lying at its bases suggests that it was once some 7
ft. higher. It is 6 ft. wide on its present summit. From this point
to the southern end of the enclosure the rest of the eastern side is
open space, with traces of substantial wall foundations all along this
length. The total length of the eastern side of this enclosure is 93 ft.

The south side, which is 37 ft. long, is formed by faint traces of a
wall which divides this area from _No. 6 Enclosure_, extending from the
west outer side of _No. 7 Enclosure_ to the main wall.

The width at the centre of this enclosure from east to west is 57 ft.

A flat granite monolith stands at 30 ft. north-east of the north
buttress of the _West Entrance_ with a flat face towards the west. It
rises from the ground 6 ft. 9 in., is 3 ft. broad, narrowing to 1 ft.
10 in. at the top. It is 3 in. thick, and leans slightly towards the
east. No artificial markings can be discovered on either of its faces.

A triangular-shaped granite beam stands 2 ft. 11 in. above the ground
at 26 ft. north-east of the south buttress of the _West Entrance_. A
fractured portion of the beam, until lately buried, lies near. This
section is 8 ft. 2 in. long. Twelve years ago this beam was complete.
It then had a tilt towards the north, and its base must be deep to have
supported its heavy weight in a leaning position.

Other sections of fractured granite monoliths were buried at this
spot; one set of sections exceed together 8 ft., without taking into
consideration a section which is missing.

The latest floor of this enclosure is at least 2 ft. below the present
surface, the soil on the top being vegetable mould thickly matted with
roots of wild vines and other creepers. [In August, 1903, this top soil
was removed from the whole area. Several pieces of beaten gold and some
Arabian glass were found lying on the hard soil underneath it.]

                            NO. 6 ENCLOSURE

This adjoins _No. 5 Enclosure_, which forms its western boundary. The
south side is formed by the south main wall of the temple from (100
ft.) to (179 ft. 3 in.). The north and north-east side is formed by
the south wall of _No. 7 Enclosure_. This wall is from 5 ft. to 11
ft. high. The eastern side is formed by the west wall of the _Sacred
Enclosure_, which is from 8 ft. to 11 ft. high.

The measurements of this area are: south side, 79 ft.; north side, 58
ft.; east side, 22 ft.; and west side, 31 ft.

This enclosure has two entrances. Probably another entrance may be
discovered on the western side on the removal of débris.

The northern entrance is at 35 ft. to 37 ft., measuring from the
eastern end of the north wall. This leads into _No. 7 Enclosure_. It
has rounded walls, and the floor forms part of the foundation. There
are no portcullis grooves.

The eastern entrance is at 13 ft. to 15 ft., measuring from the north
end of the east wall. This leads into the _Sacred Enclosure_. Its walls
are rounded, and there are portcullis grooves. The steps are built into
the wall. On either side of the entrance there are traces of rounded

Monkey-rope roots have done serious injury to the eastern end of the
north wall, and have caused a depression of 5 ft. from the average
height of the reduced wall.

This enclosure is interesting because it showed three floors below the
soil surface. On removing the mould which form the top surface for a
depth of 1 ft. to 2 ft., was found the common red clay foundation of
a Makalanga hut, about which lay iron hoes, assegai-heads, and also
pottery of no great age. Below this, for a further depth of 1 ft. to 1
ft. 6 in., was a promiscuous filling-in of blocks and soil, and below
this again was a very hard soil, probably of decomposed cement, and on
this hard surface was a pile of about 20 lbs. weight of portions of
pottery scorifiers and small crucibles, all of which showed gold richly
on the flux. These had evidently been piled up as rubbish, for they
were all found within an area of 2 sq. ft., and no other portions of
scorifiers or crucibles were found elsewhere in this enclosure. A pair
of iron pincers made of two pieces of iron welded together at one end,
an iron gong, and a soapstone amulet were discovered together, while
on the lowest floor was a portion of a large soapstone bowl carved
with herring-bone on cord pattern, and the fractured bases of what are
believed to be true phalli. This lowest floor is 9 in. deeper than the
one on which the gold crucibles were found, and is made of whitish
cement, and has been exposed for about 4 sq. ft. in the north-east
corner of the enclosure at 11 ft. below the summit of the east wall.

The reconstruction of the north wall at its eastern end is very
conspicuous. This reconstruction is referred to in the description of
_No. 7 Enclosure_.

In the soil débris pile, which had been removed from _No. 7 Enclosure_
into this enclosure in 1891 by Bent, was (in August, 1902) found a
piece of glass, being the lip portion of a bowl. This had bosses on its
surface, with gold rims round each boss, indicating that the upper part
of the neck of this bowl was once covered with gold enamel. This glass
is believed to be identical with that found by Sir John Willoughby,
and pronounced by authorities at the British Museum to belong to the
thirteenth century.

                            NO. 7 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure is on the south side of the temple, the south and
south-west wall running for 55 ft. parallel with the main wall at a
distance of about 21 ft. This enclosure, next to _No. 1 Enclosure_, is
in the best state of preservation of any chamber within the temple.
Its area is 54 ft. 6 in. from north to south, and 39 ft. from east
to west, and its form resembles a quarter section of a circle, with
its rounded side extending from south-west to north, the centre of
which quarter-circle is at the south-south-east end of the area. The
present surface of the area is very uneven, owing to the operations of
excavators and searchers for relics.

There are two entrances still more or less intact, one on the
south-west side leading into _No. 6 Enclosure_, and the other at the
north corner, but facing west. Possibly there was also an entrance on
the east side, where a gigantic fig tree, 50 ft. high, now stands.

The south-west entrance (see section) is protected on the inside by
rounded buttresses on either side, which project 2 ft. 6 in. into
the enclosure. These buttresses, of which only the lower courses now
remain, are built upon, and at each end of, a semi-circular base 11 ft.
long protruding 4 ft. 6 in. into the enclosure, the face courses of
which curve inwards, one above and behind, the other between the side
buttresses, and so form steps up to the entrance, the courses above
the steps being carried round the buttresses. There are no traces of
portcullis grooves. This is a form of steps found in the entrances
through the main wall of the temple, and in the entrances in many
ruins of the oldest or first-period style of architecture, whether at
Zimbabwe or elsewhere in the country.



The north entrance is of exactly similar construction, but is in a
better state of preservation, the one buttress remaining being still 5
ft. high. This entrance has portcullis grooves.

The best-built portion of the walls of this enclosure is undoubtedly
that of the curved wall which extends from south-west to north. This is
a fine piece of work, and the face of the wall is very regular. This
wall is from 11 ft. to 13 ft. high on the inside, and 11 ft. to 14 ft.
high on the outside, and is 4 ft. 6 in. wide in its present summit, the
line of which is even except at its extremities. Judging by the block
débris, this wall might once have been fully 2 ft. to 3 ft. higher.
The centre of the outward curve of the wall is 11 ft. west from a line
drawn between the extreme points of the curve.

The south wall may be divided into two sections, the westerly portion
being well built, and the easterly portion very poorly constructed,
having numerous straight joints, disappearing and false courses, and is
built of stones of all sizes and shapes. This latter part is evidently
a reconstruction at a later date and on the old foundations. Where the
joint was made between the old and the later walls is very clearly
discernible, while there is a deep depression in the summit of the wall
at this point. These depressions almost always exist in joints between
old and later walls. This wall is 32 ft. long, between 8 ft. and 9 ft.
high, and is 4 ft. wide on its reduced summit.

The eastern side is in four lengths: (1) a small portion of wall in
the south-east corner 6 ft. long, 6 ft. high, and 4 ft. wide; (2) a
gap of 14 ft., evidently made by past and present trees; (3) a wall 7
ft. high, 13 ft. long, and 3 ft. wide on its summit (the lower portion
of this section is built up against (4), but in the upper section it
is built into it); and (4) a wall 16 ft. long, 9 ft. high, 4 ft. wide
on summit. This wall has been partly ruined at its western end by the
roots of a large tree.

The connection between sections (3) and (4) where the lower portion
of (3) is built up against and is independent of (4), while the
upper portion of (3) is built and bonded into and forms part of (4),
has an exact parallel in the west wall of _Recess Enclosure_ on the
_Acropolis_, where the lower portions of two walls are independent of
each other, but their higher portions are bonded and built as one wall.

In August, 1902, some thirty tons of explorers’ débris of old date
were removed from this enclosure, and a floor of granite cement was
disclosed at its south end, in the middle of which, and forming part of
the cement work, is a raised circular platform 7 in. high, 16 ft. 10
in. in circumference, and with rounded sides. Close to it was found a
rounded piece of diorite extensively marked with hammerings, as if it
had been used for an anvil.

Along the base of the south wall is a cemented edging 6 in. high, 17
ft. long, with rounded edges, protruding 8 in. to 12 in. from the wall.
In the south corner are two blind steps made of granite cement (see
_Architecture_—_Blind Steps_).

                              CHAPTER XII

                         THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

     Sacred Enclosure—Conical Tower—Small Tower—Parallel Passage.

                                 No. 8

                         THE SACRED ENCLOSURE

This enclosure, which contains the _Conical Tower_ and the now ruined
“_Little Cone_,” lies on the south-east of the temple area, the main
east wall from south-east to east-north-east being its eastern boundary
from (186 ft.) to (315 ft).

In shape it is long and narrow, the _Conical Tower_ practically
dividing the area into two almost equal sections: _Sacred Enclosure_
(_east_), and _Sacred Enclosure_ (_west_).

The length of this enclosure measured along the inside face of the main
wall is 129 ft. 2 in. The northern side is formed by sections of walls
which in the main run parallel with the south wall of the temple. The
northern sections of walls are at the following distances from the main
wall: at the extreme west 25 ft.; at (186 ft.) 31 ft.; on either side
of the _Conical Tower_ 26 ft.; at (300 ft.) 17 ft.; and at the extreme
east 5 ft, this last portion for 13 ft. being greatly narrowed by large
buttresses on either side up to the entrance of the _Parallel Passage_.

The northern wall sections commencing at the west end are as follows:—

A wall 28 ft. long forming the south wall of _No. 11 Enclosure_. The
first section of 20 ft. is indifferently built, but the last 8 ft. well
constructed. The joint between the two classes of walls is obvious,
and the inferior wall is considerably dilapidated at its western end,
especially at the western entrance. The highest portion is 9 ft. 6 in.
above the present surface of the interior.

The second section is the south wall of _The Platform_, which rounds
on a length of 24 ft. into _Sacred Enclosure_ (_west_) for 7 ft., and
recedes again directly north of the _Conical Tower_. This rounded wall
is exceedingly well built. Its summit is practically level, and its
height is 11 ft. to 14 ft., according to the rise and fall of the floor
or steps of the enclosure.

The third section is a wall 48 ft. long, extending from north of the
_Conical Tower_ to the entrance of the _Parallel Passage_. From the
south side of this wall, and just inside the north entrance, is a
wall 13 ft. high, 5 ft. wide, narrowing as the _Conical Tower_ is
approached, projecting towards the north-east side of the _Conical
Tower_. The last 27 ft. of this third section is evidently of a later
period construction. The joint of the older and later walls is very
clearly defined, and there is a depression on the summit at this point.
The height of the wall varies from 14 ft. to 16 ft.

The _Sacred Enclosure_ has four entrances—south-west, west, north, and

The south-west entrance is from _No. 6 Enclosure_. This has rounded
walls and portcullis grooves, and is 5 ft. high on either side, 2 ft.
wide, and runs through a wall 4 ft. 10 in. thick. On the inside of
this entrance are the remains of steps which relic prospectors have
destroyed. The floor of the entrance is 4 ft. above the floor of the

The western entrance, which leads from _No. 9 Enclosure_, is also
rounded, and had portcullis grooves, and its floor was once paved with
cement. This entrance is in a very dilapidated condition, owing to
trees and creepers.

The north or main entrance to this enclosure is rounded on either side,
and has portcullis grooves. It is 2 ft. 10 in. wide, and is directly
north of the _Conical Tower_, between which and this entrance the
floor is substantially paved with cement, and has cement steps leading
down into the enclosure on the west side of the _Conical Tower_.



The east entrance leads from the _Parallel Passage_, and measurements
of it are given in the description of that passage.

The buttresses on either side of the inner side of the eastern entrance
have not the appearance of being ancient, unless they had once
collapsed and been roughly rebuilt at a much later period.

The eastern section of this enclosure has been cleared of débris down
to the level of a yellow granite cement floor. In several places this
flooring has been destroyed by roots of both past and present trees of
great size. This section appears to have had to absorb all rainfall
from the south-east area of the temple, as this enclosure is at a much
lower level than the adjoining enclosures, and this may account for
the decomposition at some points of the cement floor. The clearing to
the cement floor has also been carried round the base of the _Conical
Tower_, which now stands upon an almost level floor. The spot where
Bent sank the hole through the cement can plainly be seen on the south
side of the tower. The clearing also disclosed a granite cement step
at the north entrance with a level cement floor on the inner side
between it and the north side of the tower. This floor is 2 ft. above
the cement floor round the base of the tower, from which raised floor
two granite steps between the tower and _The Platform_ lead down to the
floor of the western section of the enclosure.

In the western section the floor along the base of the main wall is
buried in débris to a depth of 1 ft. 6 in. to 5 ft. From the base
of the northern wall of this section to the centre of the area is a
cemented floor laid on a pavement of blocks, but in some places the
cement has become decomposed. In the west corner of this section of the
enclosure is a floor raised 3 ft. above the cement floor, but this is
very roughly built, and appears to have been a filling-in by some late
occupiers of the temple. On the east side of this raised floor, and
acting as its retaining wall on that side, are the remains of a wall
4 ft. high and 4 ft. wide projecting from the reconstructed portion
of the north wall, and most probably of even a later date than the
obviously reconstructed wall, seeing that it is built up against it.

In the angle formed by the 28-ft. section of the north wall of the
western area and the wall of _The Platform_ is a set of “blind
steps,” two in number, and with a platform 8 ft. by 6 ft. square,
the steps and the platform being covered with granite cement (see
_Architecture_—_Blind Steps_).

Small portions of granite cement are to be found in the joints of
the blocks of the main wall up to a height of 7 ft., and also to
a similar height on the north wall of the eastern section of this
enclosure, while in the angle of this latter wall and the buttress
built up against it are the remains of a granite cement dado (see
_Architecture_—_Cement Dadoes_).

                         THE CONICAL TOWER[52]

This celebrated tower, which forms one of the chief architectural
features of the Zimbabwe ruins, stands in the centre of the Sacred
Enclosure, dividing it into two areas. The south-east of the tower is 3
ft. 10 in. from the main wall of the temple (at 255 ft.) from the south
side of the west entrance. It is 31 ft. high on its south-east face; 30
ft. on the south-west side; 26 ft. 6 in. on its north-east side; and
29 ft. on the north-west side. These measurements are taken from the
actual foundation, which is only a few inches below the granite cement
flooring surrounding its base on all sides but the north. The average
height of the reduced summit of the tower in 1894 was 32 ft., and it
was then far more level than as seen to-day. Bent believed the original
height to have been 35 ft., at which point he thought it once had a
level top, 4 ft in diameter. Photographs taken in 1891 give a very good
impression of what the tower was like previous to the dilapidation,
which took place immediately after that time.

It is difficult to state the exact circumference of the base throughout
the extent of the foundations, as a granite cement raised floor, with
steps, is constructed up against the base of the north side, but it may
be taken to be about 57 ft. 6 in. The measurements of the circumference
of the tower at different heights are as follows: at 5 ft. above floor
53 ft. 8 in.; at 10 ft., 50 ft. 4 in.; at 15 ft., 46 ft. 1 in.; at
20 ft., 39 ft.; at 25 ft., 32 ft.; at 27 ft. 6 in. (where the broken
portion of the summit commences), 30 ft. 2 in. The average battering
back of the tower, so far as the broken edges of the present summit
will permit of approximately correct measurements being taken, is, at
the following heights, as follows: at 10 ft. above floor 1 ft. 7 in.;
at 15 ft., 1 ft. 10 in.; at 20 ft., 2 ft. 6 in.; at 25 ft., 4 ft. 2
in.; and at 27 ft., 5 ft. 5 in.

The battering is far more regular on the west and south sides, where it
is also a few inches less severe. To secure the inclining back of the
sides of the cone, the blocks from front to back on its circumference
are laid on the flat on a dead level, and yet so slightly do the blocks
of one course lie back beyond the edge of the faces of the blocks
of the course below that, except at one or two points, it is almost
impossible to notice where the batter takes place. Even the blocks in
the bulge on the north side have been ascertained to be still perfectly

There is a slight bulging on the east and north-east sides at 10 ft.
to 15 ft. above the floor, and this somewhat reduces the extent of
battering-back on those sides at that height. This bulging creates an
optical delusion, for visitors almost always declare that the tower has
tilted slightly to the north-east. But this tilting has now been proved
not to exist. There are many causes which may have brought about
the bulging. A large branch of hard-wood tree, the trunk of which is
believed to have been over one hundred years old, had for years, even
in light breezes, scraped up and down this side of the tower, and also
it was on this side that most of the monkey rope, creepers, and bushes
were growing out of the crevices of the tower from base to summit.

The foundations are exceedingly shallow, being only some 10 in. to 18
in. below the granite cement flooring. The foundation of the main wall
near this point is only 10 in. below the same flooring. The lowest
course of blocks of the tower is of the average size of the blocks used
in the face of the structure. These rest on what was originally granite
cement, but which, with the dripping of storm water for centuries
down the large area of the face of the tower, has now become mere
yellow sand. This, however, remains very firm, and still makes a good
foundation. The foundations have not at any point sunk below their
original level, but there are evidences that its enormous weight has
caused the tower to settle firmly on to its bed.

The present reduced summit of the tower, where it is intact, slants
down from the west and south and south-east edges some 4 ft. towards
the north-east, but the block débris on the summit only slants for 2
ft. in the same direction. In the centre of the summit is a hole sunk
down into the top of the tower some 4 ft. It will be remembered that
Dr. Karl Mauch (1871) admitted having made this hole for the purpose
of ascertaining whether the tower was solid. The hole was once much
deeper, but debris has filled it up to 4 ft. from the summit. Mauch
also made a second hole in the west face of the tower at 5 ft. from
the floor. This also showed the tower to be solid. Theodore Bent
(1891) also made a hole for a similar purpose. This is on the south
face, and extends from the foundation to 4 ft. above the flooring, and
he pronounced the tower to be perfectly solid. A certain Rhodesian,
bent, as he confessed, on finding “The Treasure Chamber”(!), made
another hole on the east side, at 5 ft. from the ground, and with the
same result, but this hole is so neatly built up afresh that it can
only just be located. The hole made by Mauch remained unbuilt up until
1902, and several courses above it have consequently sagged. In 1902 a
thin wire rod inserted in this last hole and passed through joints of
internal dry masonry for 8 ft. towards the centre showed the tower to
be solid.

The dentelle pattern, which Mauch stated ran round the eastern portion
of the summit of the tower, is now represented by only ten blocks.
These form three sets of double courses of the dentelle pattern, as
on the summit of the eastern face of the Eastern Temple on the hill,
and two blocks of a lower course more to the east, and two loose
dentelle blocks lying on the summit of the tower. One extremity of the
pattern was undoubtedly, as can be seen on close inspection, facing
the south-east, but it extended some little distance round towards the
east, but how far it is now quite impossible to ascertain. Mauch owned
to having destroyed a portion of the pattern in making the hole on the

The pattern was formed by two rows of wedge-shaped blocks placed to
project 2 in. beyond the face of the wall, while above them, just as in
the dentelle patterns elsewhere, were placed heavy blocks and throughs
or ties, as if to bind effectively the stones forming the patterns,
as the introduction of a decorative pattern in ancient walls anywhere
in Rhodesia can be seen to have proved a point of weakness in the
durability of the faces of the walls. The summit of the tower has been
greatly dilapidated by small trees and bushes growing on the top, the
stumps and roots of which can still be seen.

The best idea of the symmetry and accuracy of the contour of the tower
can be obtained by standing on the summit of the main wall, near the
top of the visitors’ ladder.

                            THE SMALL TOWER

The base of this stands in _Sacred Enclosure_ (_east_), at 5 ft. 2 in.
north-east of the large tower. Its circumference at the cement floor
is 21 ft. 7 in. At 4 ft. above the floor it has a circumference of 19
ft. 10 in., the dilapidation not being so serious as to prevent this
measurement being taken. The present reduced height is as follows: west
side, 3 ft. 2 in.; south side, 4 ft. 6 in.; east side, 6 ft. 6 in.; and
north side, 5 ft. 3 in.

Unfortunately this tower, which Bent proved to have been solid, has,
within the last few years, been subject to serious dilapidation.
Photographs taken in 1894 are now but a record of the appearance of
this tower at that time, for now, on comparing the photographs with the
tower, they have become obsolete. A large branch of the tall hard-wood
tree, which stands 3 ft. from the east side of this tower, had thrown
over the summit on to the floor on the west side, and in 1902 nothing
of the tower was left save the outer face of the wall, the internal
blocks having been taken out by some unauthorised relic prospectors.
These were replaced, and all the blocks which belong to the tower

Bent (p. 115) states:—

  “The religious purport of these towers would seem to be
  conclusively proved by the numerous finds we made in other
  parts of the ruins of a phallic nature, and I think a quotation
  from Montfaucon’s _L’Antiquité Expliquée_ will give us the
  keynote of the worship: ‘The ancients assure us that all the
  Arabians worshipped a tower, which they called El Acara,
  or Alquetila, which was built by their patriarch, Ismael,’
  ‘Maximus of Tyre says they honoured as a great god a great
  cut-stone. This is apparently the same stone resembling Venus,
  according to Euthymius Zygabenus. When the Saracens were
  converted to Christianity they were obliged to anathematise
  this stone, which formerly they worshipped.’ This tower (at
  Zimbabwe) doubtless corresponded to the sacred tower of the
  Midianites, called Penuel, or the ‘Face of God,’ which Gideon
  destroyed (Judges viii. 7). Allusions to these towers are
  constant in the Bible, and the Arabian historian, El Masoudi
  (940 A.D.), further tells us that this stone or tower was eight
  cubits high, and was placed in an angle of the temple, which
  had no roof. Turning to Phœnician temple construction, we have
  a good parallel to the ruins of the Great Zimbabwe at Byblos
  (in Phœnicia), as depicted on the coins; the tower, or sacred
  cone, is set up within the temple precincts, and shut off in
  an enclosure. Similar work is also found in the round temples
  of the Cabiri, at Hadjar Kem, in Malta, and the construction
  of these buildings bears a remarkable resemblance to that of
  those at Zimbabwe, and the round towers, or nuraghs, found
  in Sardinia may possibly be of similar significance. MM.
  Perrot and Chapiez, in their _History of Art in Sardinia_,
  speak of these nuraghs as forts or temples, around which the
  primitive inhabitants of the island once lived. They are
  truncated cones, built with stone blocks of different sizes,
  narrowing at the top. The stones are unhewn as a rule, and
  laid on without mortar. Here, too, we have a parallel for our
  monoliths, mention of unhewn stone, and also for the phalli,
  specimens of which are to be found carved on stone, and here,
  too, the intricate plan of the fortresses suggests at once a
  parallel to those at Zimbabwe; hence it would appear that the
  same influence was at work in Sardinia as in South Africa. In
  Lucian’s _De Syria Dea_ we find a description of a temple at
  Hierapolis, in Mesopotamia, in the propylæa of which, he tells
  us (p. 16), ‘there stood two very large phalli, about thirty
  cubits high.’ Our tower at Zimbabwe stood apparently twenty
  cubits high, and ten in diameter. He further says (p. 29),
  ‘these phalli are solid, for when a priest had to ascend he had
  to put a rope round himself and walk up.’”

Dr. Schlichter, 1898, remarks:—

  “We have in the Great Zimbabwe an enormous gnomon (dial
  calculating point) before us, comprising a total angle of
  120°. Taking all the details into account, I found  that the
  obliquity of the ecliptic was somewhat more than 23° 52´, which
  brings us (considering that we have a good Chinese observation
  of the same period) to a time somewhat 1100 B.C. for the
  erection of the Zimbabwe ruins.”[53]

                         THE PARALLEL PASSAGE

This passage, which is one of the most interesting features of ancient
architecture at Zimbabwe, is 220 ft. long, and extends from (329 ft.)
from the _West Entrance_ to (513 ft.) from the same point, and runs
along the inside of the east and north-east of the main wall of the
temple, that is, from the _Sacred Enclosure_ to the _North Entrance_ of
the temple.

The ancient priests could by means of this long, deep, and exceedingly
narrow passage reach the _Sacred Enclosure_ from the exterior of the
temple altogether unobserved, seeing that along its whole length it has
no communication with any other part of the interior of the temple. It
is therefore possible that this passage might have been exclusively
used by the ministers of the sacred rites. In it have been found the
bulk of the phalli yet discovered at Zimbabwe, and a number of both
plain and decorated phalli were found here in August, 1902, when the
débris which had covered its floor was being removed. The same surmise
might be made with regard to the purpose of the _Parallel Passage_ at
the _Western Temple_ on the _Acropolis_.

The summit of the main wall on the outer side throughout the length
of the passage averages from 28 ft. to 31 ft. above its present floor
(see _Tables of Measurements of Main Walls_). The inner parallel wall
varies in height, owing to dilapidations caused by past and present
trees. This wall averages from 8 ft. to 16 ft. in height. The long
and narrow passage between such high walls imparts a most weird and
romantic aspect to this portion of the temple. The high, magnificently
sweeping, and massive walls tower on either side for a considerable
distance on a bold masterly curve that displays in the well-built
and regular courses of the walls design and workmanship which always
strongly impress the modern builder with unfeigned surprise and wonder.


At the extremity near the _Sacred Enclosure_ the passage is 4 ft. wide,
but at 30 ft. further north-east it is 3 ft. 6 in. wide, at 55 ft. it
narrows to 2 ft. 6 in., which width is maintained for about 40 ft., at
the end of which it widens out owing to the inner parallel wall being
here built upon a comparatively straight line. At (440 ft.) it is 4 ft.
6 in. wide, at (460 ft.) 5 ft. 6 in. wide, at (480 ft.) 7 ft., and at
(513 ft.), which is its northern extremity, it narrows to 2 ft. 6 in.
Between (490 ft.) and (513 ft.) there is a large gap in the main wall,
where its inner face has collapsed into the passage. The bottom of the
gap is about 6 ft. above the present level of the passage floor.

[Illustration: _West Entrance to_ PARALLEL PASSAGE Elliptical Temple]

Between (349 ft.) and (362 ft.) the inner parallel wall has collapsed
into the passage, but the débris has now been cleared away. Between
(470 ft.) and (500 ft.) the inner wall has been reduced by falls to a
height of only 6 ft. 9 in.

The north wall of the _Sacred Enclosure_ (_east_) is continued for
55 ft. as the west wall of the passage. This section is obviously
a reconstruction of a later date, the joints with this wall and the
rest of the older and better-built wall at the south end can be seen
near the small conical tower in the _Sacred Enclosure_, the opposite
side of this joint being distinctly noticeable in _No. 11 Enclosure_.
The joint at the north-eastern end of this reconstructed section of
wall can be seen near (375 ft.), where the older wall recommences.
This less excellently reconstructed wall shows a far greater amount
of dilapidation than does the older portion. This circumstance is to
be noticed in more than a score of other instances of reconstruction
of lengths of older walls, the invariable experience in Zimbabwe
architecture being that the reconstructed portions are much less
lasting, although they are of later date, and these reconstructions
always show a depression in their summits at the joints with the older
portions of the wall.

The entrance into this passage from the _Sacred Enclosure_ is the east
entrance mentioned in the description of that enclosure, and is at (320
ft.). It is formed by rounded buttresses, 7 ft. high, on either side of
the passage. The entrance is 2 ft. 6 in. wide, 9 ft. long (including
the steps at either end), and has portcullis grooves of unusually large
size. It is approached from the _Sacred Enclosure_ by three large,
broad, and deep block steps, which are still in a very good state of
preservation, not one block being missing or even out of place. The
floor is excellently paved with blocks. On the passage side of the
entrance are three block steps also in a splendid condition, but these
are narrower, as the rounded foundation of the west buttress projects 7
in. into the passage further than the upper portion of the buttress.

Immediately inside this entrance, and against the base of the main
wall, is a raised level with rounded edges made of granite cement.
This is 7 ft. long, 1 ft. 10 in. wide, and 3 in. higher than cement
flooring, and 6 in. high at its north-east end above a step-down in the
floor. Between this raised cement level and the west wall of the
passage is a cemented floor 4 ft. 4 in. long, with a rounded face at
its north-east end, this face forming the step-down just mentioned. The
floor from this point northwards to (335 ft.) has been broken through
by excavators, but from (335 ft.) northwards to (425 ft.) the cement
flooring still remains intact. From (425 ft.) to the northern end of
the passage the floor has been torn up by explorers.

Evidently the ancients were thoroughly well versed in the art of
sanitation, for the lengths of cemented flooring are divided into
catchment areas, separated from each other by raised step-barriers 4
in. high, 3 ft. 10 in. broad, laid across the passage. These are made
of granite cement and have rounded edges. The floor has a slight fall
on either side of these raised barriers, and in the lowest part of
each area is a drain-hole passing through the main wall, the object
evidently being to divide up the rainfall so that each drain should
only have such a quantity of water as its capacity would allow it to
carry off. The drain-holes passing outwards and downwards through the
main walls are at (352 ft.), (391 ft. 6 in.), (442 ft.), and (471 ft.).
These are believed to have once been lined with yellow granite cement.
It is possible that other drains from this passage-way may yet be found.

Near (396 ft.) is a drain-hole leading into the passage from _No. 14

The floor at the extreme north end of the passage has not yet been
uncovered, as it would be unsafe to remove any more depth of soil owing
to the threatening condition of the wall at the gap before mentioned.

Near (338 ft.) is a flat granite beam 6 ft. long, which has evidently
fallen from the summit of the main wall.

The _Parallel Passage_ and _Sacred Enclosure_ were used by old and
recent generations of Makalanga as places in which to deposit their
ash, pottery, iron, and bone débris, and this was found in places to
a height of 3 ft. and 4 ft. The bones were of animals, mostly of buck,
but some of oxen, and all had been split open for the marrow, as is
usually found to be the case in all Makalanga débris heaps whether at
any ruins or at their villages. Being sunless and damp these two places
for occupation purposes appear to have been avoided by them.



                             CHAPTER XIII

                         THE ELLIPTICAL TEMPLE

  The Platform—Enclosures Nos. 9 to 15—Central area—Platform
      area—Inner Parallel Passage—South Passage—West
      Passage—North-East Passage—Outer Parallel Passage.

                           8a. THE PLATFORM

This is a raised platform standing immediately in front of the
_Conical Tower_ at a distance of 4 ft. from north to north-west. The
proximity of this structure to the _Conical Tower_, its position in
front of it, its summit commanding a view of the interior of the
temple, particularly of the interior of the _Sacred Enclosure_, its
peculiar form as compared with other structures in the temple, and the
excellent workmanship displayed in its walls, as well as the decoration
of green chlorite schist on its east wall, would appear to show that
it possessed some highly important significance in the minds of the
ancient worshippers. So much is this so that visitors most frequently
remark that this structure must have been the “pulpit” from which the
priests addressed the crowd of worshippers.

_The Platform_ possesses no angular feature. Its plan is oval, the
entrance is rounded, and the curves of the walls are excellently worked
out. The southern and eastern half of this building now only remains
intact, the northern half, though still traceable, having been pushed
over northwards by a huge tree.

The inside area of the southern half is 14 ft. from north to south, and
16 ft. from east to west. The heights of its sides are as follows: east
side, 9 ft. from granite cement step on floor of _No. 11 Enclosure_;
west side, 10 ft. above floor of _No. 9 Enclosure_, including 3 ft.
height of terraced wall; south side, 12 ft. above floor of _Sacred
Enclosure_ (_west_), and 11 ft. from top of “blind steps” in the same
enclosure; the north side is ruined. The wall on its present summit is
from 2 ft. to 2 ft. 6 in. wide.

On the inside, and at a height of from 2 ft. to 4 ft. below the summit
of the wall, is a raised platform 2 ft. wide running round the inside
of the wall. This platform, which, in fact, is banquette work, is
paved with stones, and these are covered with granite cement. This
banquette was approached by well steps ascending up in the centre of
the interior, and these were made of blocks covered with granite cement.

The entrance to _The Platform_ is on the north-east side, but only one
side is now remaining. It is 9 ft. high and is rounded. The large upper
granite cement step on the floor of _No. 11 Enclosure_ led up to this
entrance. The decorative pattern on the outer face of the north-east
wall is described in the account of _No. 11 Enclosure_.

This _Platform_ appears to have served an identical purpose as that of
the elevated _Platform_ at the _Western Temple_ on the _Acropolis_, and
as that of the _Ancient Balcony_ which commands the interior of the
_Eastern Temple_ on _Zimbabwe Hill_.

Bent stated that in 1891 a tall unhewn granite monolith stood erect
immediately north of _The Platform_, but there is no trace now of its
existence, and several old residents of Victoria say it must have
disappeared before they first visited the ruins.[54] The positions
of all three of the platforms suggest some purpose in the ancient
religious services.

                            NO. 9 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure lies to the north of the western end of _Sacred
Enclosure_ (_west_), to the east of _No. 7 Enclosure_, to the west
of _The Platform_, and to the south of the south passage to _No. 10
Enclosure_ and of _No. 10 Enclosure_.

Its area is: north side, 26 ft; west side, 26 ft.; east side, 42 ft.;
and south side, 24 ft.

The south side is formed by the wall dividing this enclosure from
_Sacred Enclosure_ (_west_), and this is 9 ft. high, and shows the two
classes of building as does the opposite side. The west side for 6 ft.
from its south end is formed by a wall of this length, and which is 6
ft. high. This wall at its northern end terminates abruptly and leans
northwards, being supported by a bank of soil débris. The rest of this
side is formed by the bank of soil débris as far as the south passage
to _No. 10 Enclosure_. The north side is formed by the south wall of
that passage and of _No. 10 Enclosure_. The passage wall is 6 ft. high,
and the enclosure wall 8 ft. high. The east side for 14 ft. from the
south end is formed by _The Platform_, and a terraced wall projecting
westwards for from 5 ft. to 7 ft. The rest of the eastern side was an
open space, until recently covered with soil débris.

An entrance from _Sacred Enclosure_ (_west_) is in the south-west
corner, and this is described in the account of that enclosure. This
entrance on the north side has two stone steps covered with granite
cement. The entrance from _No. 10 Enclosure_ is described in the
account of the passage to that enclosure.

At the south side there is a mass of granite cement rendered shapeless
by roots of trees and creepers, and also considerably decomposed by
annual accumulations of rain-water, as this is the lowest part of the
enclosure. Traces of rounded faces can be seen at several points in
this cement.

On the eastern side the floor is made of granite cement. This is only
4 in. thick, and underneath it are several thin layers of floors made
of granite cement.

It is believed that the angle between _The Platform_ and the south wall
once held “blind steps.” The quantity of decomposed granite cement
found in this corner, together with traces of two steps on the terraced
wall, rather confirms this belief.

                           NO. 10 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure lies on the north side of _No. 7 Enclosure_. Until
August, 1902, nothing was known concerning it, nor could it have been
examined during the last fifty years. The Makalanga, as previously
stated, whose last occupation of the temple as a kraal was some sixty
years ago, had filled it in with stones and rubble and laid a common
clay floor over the filling-in, as was their usual practice in almost
all the ancient ruins in Rhodesia which they occupied. On this clay
floor was built a circular hut of clay. The filling-in completely
buried portions of the walls of the enclosure.

In addition to this filling-in, the area had been used as a
dumping-ground for soil excavated from neighbouring enclosures, and
so much so that the soil heap was at least 6 ft. higher than the
filling-in by the Makalanga, and it contained some twenty-five tons of
soil, all of which has now been removed.

In form the enclosure has the shape of a quarter of a section of a
circle, the square sides being on the south and west.

The south side is 27 ft. 6 in. long, the south entrance to this
enclosure being at 20 ft. to 23 ft. from the west end. The south wall
is the divisional wall between _No. 7 Enclosure_ and this enclosure.
It is massive and very well built, and is still from 6 ft. to 7 ft. in

The west side is 31 ft. 6 in. in length. The first 21 ft. from its
south end is well built, and is in a good state of preservation save
for a reduction in its summit. It is 4 ft. wide at present level of
ground. The northern extremity of the 21-ft. length is rounded. The
wall at its southern end is 8 ft. high, but for 10 ft. at its northern
end it averages only 4 ft. to 5 ft. in height. At 21 ft. to 23 ft.
along the west side of the enclosure is the western entrance, the
northern side of which is formed by a rounded buttress, now only 2 ft.
in height. The rest of the wall towards the north is very dilapidated.

The east side, which curves outwards towards the east, measures 40 ft.
along the face of the wall. The length of 27 ft. from the north end is
formed by a wall of this length, which is 3 ft. to 4 ft. high and 3 ft.
wide. This wall is obviously of poor and late construction as compared
with the west and south wall of this enclosure, and crosses in the
middle of its length, at right angles, an old substantial foundation
running east and west. The foundation of the upper wall is laid on the
block and soil débris on the summit of the buried wall. Probably this
buried wall was the north side of this enclosure at a lower level, and
this would have once made the enclosure square in form. The eastern
wall terminates at its south end with an angular buttress 2 ft. 6 in.
wide, which protrudes westerly 16 in. into the enclosure, where it
terminates abruptly in a broken end. From the 27-ft. point to the sound
end of the wall is a very well-built substantial wall 4 ft. 6 in. wide
at base, but for 5 ft. from its north end it is 1 ft. only above the
present floor, but for the rest of its length it is 6 ft. in height.
Where the wall so rises in height it is rounded across the wall, and
this may have been the south side of an eastern entrance into the

Though this enclosure has been cleared, the coarse red clay of the
Makalanga still remains in the centre of the area, but in the angles of
this enclosure and along its south side is some yellow granite cement
of a far greater age.

On the yellow granite cement a quantity of what appear to have
been gold-burnishing tools were found. All these were originally
water-worn, but showed signs of having been artificially worn as tools.
Five of these showed gold richly on the sides used for burnishing,
others also showed gold. This was the only enclosure in this temple
where such tools were found, and the number of them discovered at and
near one spot suggests that this enclosure was in pre-Kafir occupation
days a gold-burnisher’s workshop, just as _No. 7 Enclosure_ was
evidently a goldsmith’s workshop, while for corresponding reasons _No.
6 Enclosure_ was a chief place for the smelting of gold. A quantity
of pottery made of soapstone clay, the first of such pottery yet
discovered, was found in this enclosure.

                  SOUTH APPROACH TO NO. 10 ENCLOSURE

This is formed by a passage 10 ft. long, which enters this enclosure
at its south-east corner. It is probable that this passage was much
longer, and that it once extended to the north-west corner of the
_Sacred Enclosure_, where is an entrance facing the passage.

The west side of the passage is formed by a wall 14 ft. 6 in. long, 4
ft. high, and 3 ft. 6 in. on its present reduced summit, which wall is
also the east wall of _No. 7 Enclosure_.

On the east side is a very well-built wall 10 ft. 6 in. long, 4 ft.
6 in. high, and 3 ft. wide on its present summit, with a finely
constructed rounded end tapering upwards and facing south. The rounded
end is 7 ft. high, and rises from the floor of _No. 9 Enclosure_, which
is on the east side but on a lower level.

The south end of the passage is 4 ft. wide, but the north end is 6 ft.
6 in. wide, but is narrowed to 2 ft. 6 in. by a rounded buttress 4 ft.
6 in. high, and this and the rounded wall opposite, which forms the
other side of the entrance, have upright portcullis-like grooves.

The floor of the passage is paved with flat shallow stones covered for
2 in. in depth with granite cement.

                           NO. 11 ENCLOSURE

This immediately adjoins on the north side of _Sacred Enclosure_
(_east_). On the west side it is bounded by _The Platform_, on the east
by a large rounded buttress which separates it from _No. 12 Enclosure_,
but its northern boundary, if any, is at present difficult to determine.

Through this enclosure is the northern entrance to the _Sacred
Enclosure_, and this entrance is within 8 ft. of the north face of the
_Conical Tower_. Evidently both from its close proximity to the _Sacred
Enclosure_, the _Tower_, and _The Platform_, the ancient occupiers
considered this enclosure to be of importance, and the splendid
construction of the massive steps leading toward the tower would appear
to further confirm the correctness of this conjecture.

The area is, south side 18 ft.; west 14 ft.; east 14 ft.; and north 17

The wall on the south side is 13 ft. high at its western end, but
is reduced by dilapidation to 6 ft. at the entrance to the _Sacred
Enclosure_. At its highest point are five parallel horizontal bands
of green chlorite schist[55] separated from each other by two courses
of granite blocks. This wall is excellently built, and most patently
differs in style and excellence of construction from the same wall
which also forms the southern side of _No. 12 Enclosure_, and the
difference strongly suggests that during the later ancient occupation
the part of the wall which was continued into the adjoining enclosure
fell down and was rebuilt only in a poorer style. This can also be seen
on the opposite face of the wall in the _Sacred Enclosure_.

The wall on the west side is the outer face of the east wall of _The
Platform_. This is 9 ft. high, measuring from the granite cement step
at its base, and 10 ft. long. At the north end of this wall, which is
rounded, is the approach to the summit of _The Platform_. On the face
of this wall, and starting from the entrance to the _Sacred Enclosure_,
is a decoration of seven parallel and horizontal rows of green chlorite
schist, with two courses of granite blocks between each. Each row
begins close up to the entrance, but all terminate towards the north of
the wall, each lower row extending some 6 in. more north than the one
above it.

On the east side the rounded buttress projects 6 ft. 6 in. from the
south wall, and is still 4 ft. 6 in. high, and 11 ft. long measuring
towards the east. This length may be divided into two portions, the
eastern part which is angular and of poor construction, being in all
probability a later erection to support the joint in the superior and
poorer portions of the south wall, also the western portion already
described. On the north side of this buttress is a granite cement floor
raised 4 in. above the floor of the enclosure, and the step is rounded
along its edge. The western and northern sides of this buttress were
once faced with granite cement 3 in. thick in the form of a dado. A
portion of this cement still remains on the north side, and the quality
of the cement is identical with the cement found in dado fashion on the
faces of other walls in the temple and on the _Acropolis_. The eastern
addition to this buttress does not appear ever to have had a cemented

The most striking features of this enclosure are its most excellent
granite cement floor and its massive rounded steps. Until October,
1902, this enclosure was filled up to a height of 5 ft. above the
present opened-out floors. The lowest strata of filling-in, 2 ft.
thick, had been made by rains washing in the soil from adjoining and
higher enclosures, the drain-hole through the south wall having become
blocked. There was no vegetable matter in this stratum. The stratum
of filling-in above the lowest one was a deliberate filling-in and
levelling-up by Makalanga of a very early period, for this débris
contained articles such as pottery, assegai-heads, clay whorls, which,
though strongly resembling those of the present Makalanga pattern, were
of a somewhat better quality than those made by them either to-day or
within the last few generations. This stratum of filling-in was done
at one and the same time, for the line of stratification was perfect
and unbroken. Above this stratum was one of ordinary _daga_ (clay) and
not cement, and this contained articles more closely resembling those
of present Makalanga make, but this stratum must have been filled in,
judging by the quantity of débris found, more than seventy years ago,
for according to local native accounts it was fully seventy years ago
when the Makalanga ceased to occupy the _Elliptical Temple_ as a place
of residence, though sacrifices of oxen on certain feast days, as
mentioned by Mauch, Phillips, and Bent, and local chiefs, took place in
the temple down to thirty years ago, if not somewhat later. Above this
stratum and forming the surface was a stratum of very rich leaf mould
about 18 in. thick, and this was matted with vegetable growth.



On digging out the roots of a large parent monkey-rope tree, which
had done considerable damage to the south wall of this enclosure, and
which tree appears in all the old photographs of the _Conical Tower_,
a section of an ancient floor was discovered at a depth of 5 ft. Some
twenty tons of filling-in were removed, and the whole of the cement
floor as seen to-day was exposed. The old visitors’ path crossed this
enclosure 5 ft. above this cement floor.

The cement work in this enclosure is most excellent, hardly a scratch
being seen upon its surface. It is the finest and most perfect specimen
yet found either at Zimbabwe or any ancient ruin in Rhodesia. The
granite powder in the cement is so firmly set that picks cannot make
any impression upon it. This flooring averages 18 in. to 2 ft. in
thickness, and must rest on a splendid foundation, for the levels of
the floor are almost true to this day.

A large cement step runs north and south at 2 ft. from the west side.
This is 14 in. high and 5 ft. long, but originally, according to its
curve and traces of its continuation, 7 ft. long. The step which has a
rounded edge forms the lower portion of the approach to _The Platform_.

A second step runs from north to south at 5 ft. from the front of the
first step, and slightly curves out eastwards. This step is 12 ft.
high, 11 ft. 6 in. long, and has a boldly rounded edge. The floor has a
slight fall to the south-east corner, where is a drain-hole which has
its exit near the small tower in _Sacred Enclosure_ (_east_).

The entrance to the _Sacred Enclosure_, which is in the south-west
corner of this enclosure, is 2 ft. 6 in. wide, is rounded, and has
portcullis grooves on either side.

                           NO. 12 ENCLOSURE

This immediately adjoins _No. 11 Enclosure_ on its north-east side.
Its east wall for 28 ft. is formed by west wall of _Sacred Enclosure_
(_east_), and for 21 ft. by the west wall of _Parallel Passage_. These
walls are one, and curve outwards towards the east to the extent of 6
ft. from a line drawn from end to end of the wall in this enclosure.
This east wall is 49 ft. long and 10 ft. high, and from the angular
buttress at the south-west corner has a banquette wall, 4 ft. high,
projecting 1 ft. 6 in., and continued north-east for 32 ft. from the
buttress. This wall is of inferior construction to the same wall on
the east side of _No. 11 Enclosure_, the courses being most irregular,
the stones ill-sorted, and there is no decoration on its face. The
north-eastern portion is reduced to 3 ft. 6 in. in height for a length
of 17 ft., the upper portion having fallen into _Parallel Passage_. The
angular buttress in the south-west corner appears to have been built at
a later period, when the west wall of _Sacred Enclosure_ (_east_) was
rebuilt, for the buttress covers the joint between the original portion
and the later portion, as if to strengthen the wall at this point.
The north side for 12 ft. is formed by a wall of this length, which
is 4 ft. high and 3 ft. 6 in. wide on its present summit. But it is
impossible at present to define either the western boundary or those of
the remainder of the north and south sides, owing to the fact that all
divisional walls in this portion of the temple have been covered over
and buried during the period of some later occupiers.

In the angle formed by the east and south sides is a platform 6 ft.
high and 11 ft. wide, which is approached by five steps, the platform
and the steps being covered with granite cement. Similar steps and
platforms are found in the angles of other enclosures both in the
_Elliptical Temple_ and in the ruins on the Acropolis. These are all
remarkably alike in position, dimensions, and construction, and all
appear to have answered an identical purpose. The sizes of the steps,
the nearness of the lowest step to the walls preclude the suggestion
that they were flights on the summits of the walls. (See _Blind

A drain passes under the small platform and it has cement rims to lead
the water to it.

                           NO. 13 ENCLOSURE

This adjoins _No. 12 Enclosure_ on the north side, the west side of the
inner wall of the _Parallel Passage_ forming its eastern boundary for
25 ft. 6 in. This wall is 5 ft. high for 18 ft. from the south end of
the enclosure, and 11 ft. 6 in. high for the last 7 ft. of its northern

The south side is formed for 12 ft. by the wall separating this
enclosure from _No. 12_, but _No. 13_ being at a lower level, this wall
is 6 ft. high from the present filled-in surface of the enclosure.

The north and north-west side is formed by a wall 32 ft. long, with a
rounded entrance from _No. 14 Enclosure_ between the 21-ft. and 23-ft.
points of this length, measuring from the east end of this wall. The
wall is fairly well built at its eastern end, where it is still 4 ft.
high and 3 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. wide on its present reduced summit. This
wall is built upon a red cement foundation. The south-west end of the
wall is very dilapidated, but appears to have been originally of good
construction. [Owing to piles of soil débris on the south-west side of
this enclosure, it is impossible at present to define the exact limits
on that side, but the shape of the enclosure is that of a keystone, its
widest and rounded end being on the east side.]

                           NO. 14 ENCLOSURE

This enclosure, which is on the east side of the temple, is where the
_Inner Parallel Passage_ opens into the interior of the building. The
area is 47 ft. from north to south, and 42 ft. east to west. It is open
on the north and west sides where it adjoins _No. 15 Enclosure_ and the
_Central Area_ respectively.

The east side is formed by the south entrance to _Inner Parallel
Passage_ by the large buttress, 7 ft. high, projecting into, and
forming, the south side of the entrance to that passage, and by a
length of 17 ft. of the west wall of the large _Parallel Passage_ which
is here 14 ft. high.

The south side is bounded by the divisional wall, 5 ft. high, between
this enclosure and _No. 13 Enclosure_. In this wall is a rounded
entrance between the two enclosures.

The west side is open to the interior of the temple, but at 42 ft. in
that direction there are traces of a wall running north and south which
probably formed its west side.

The north side was once formed by a wall of which traces can yet be
seen, and which once divided this enclosure from _No. 15 Enclosure_.

Projecting from the north face of the south wall are the remains of
a sub-divisional wall. Several large, rounded structures of cement
are on the south-west side of the enclosure. The topmost floor of the
enclosure is made of a pinkish-coloured clay, which evidently has been
burnt. Under this floor was found sections of carved soapstone beams,
a few pieces of beaten gold, and other relics. On the surface of this
floor only superior-made native articles were found, and the floor was
covered by at least 2 ft. of rich black vegetable mould. Several trees
which were growing in this enclosure have recently been removed.

                           NO. 15 ENCLOSURE

From an archæological point of view this enclosure is one of the most
interesting compartments in the temple, for here are to be seen several
layers of floors of a succession of occupiers each for a long period of

In 1903 this enclosure was found to be filled in with soil, ashes, and
bones to a depth of 12 ft., and on the top was a large tree at least
seventy to a hundred years old. When this great body of filling-in
was cleared away several most interesting architectural features were

The area is 56 ft. from east to west, and at its widest point 18 ft.
from north to south. The east, north, and west sides are formed by the
south wall of the _Inner Parallel Passage_, and by a continuation of
the same wall which curves outwards towards the north-west and forms
the south wall of the _South Passage_. This wall is 12 ft. high all
round and is well and massively built, the curve at the north-west end
being exceedingly well carried out. A drain passes through the east end
of the wall and opens into the _Inner Parallel Passage_.

The south side is formed by two walls and a series of semi-circular
cement buttresses. The first or western end wall is rounded, being 7
ft. round the face and 8 ft. high. A straight wall joins on to the
rounded length, and is 6 ft. 6 in. long and 7 ft. high. This length
has a drain-hole passing through it from the passage which forms
the eastern approach to the _South Passage_. A large rounded cement
buttress follows the two walls, and this is 14 ft. long and 7 ft. high.
A length of a few feet of soil showing several floors at different
heights is on the east side of the cement buttress, and another rounded
cement buttress, 3 ft. high, completes the boundary of the enclosure on
the south side.

The lowest of the floors is formed of paving stones and granite cement,
and the level of this is flush with the bottom course of blocks in the
drain. But underneath this undoubtedly old floor, which was apparently
laid down when the east wall was built, there are cement steps and
buttresses at a depth of some 18 in. below the level of the drain.
Underneath the floor were found two phalli, fragments of ornamented
bowls and soapstone beams, clearly showing that the space underneath
this lowest floor had been occupied before the floor was laid.

A floor of a pinkish-coloured cement, similar to that found in other
enclosures, is at some distance above the granite cement floor, and on
this floor were found very old native articles and quantities of buck
bones and ashes. Above this are floors of thin _daga_ (clay), and on
each of these were also bones and ashes and native articles which are
not now manufactured.

The position of the east wall of this enclosure and the fact of its
covering some older enclosure seem to point to it as not being a
portion of the original building.

                             CENTRAL AREA

This area of unexplored ground lies at the centre of the temple. It was
originally very much larger, but recent excavations have reduced it in
extent. The space covered is 80 ft. from east to west, and 30 ft. from
north to south, and it extends between _Nos. 5 and 14 Enclosures_, and
_Nos. 1 and 10 Enclosures_.


Some plans of the temple show dotted lines to mark position of
conjectured walls, but most of these have been found not to exist. On
the surface of the highest portion of this area are slight walls of
shallow foundations and poor construction built across soil and blocks
thrown promiscuously together, and probably the blocks and the debris
of some buried structures at a lower level.

                             PLATFORM AREA

Immediately in front of and adjoining the _Sacred Enclosure_ in which
stands the _Conical Tower_, and overlooked by _The Platform_, is
a large open area in the form of a bow, the rounded side—east and
south-east—being formed by _No. 9 Enclosure_, _The Platform_, and _Nos.
11, 12, and 13 Enclosures_, while the straight side, from south-west
to north-east, is formed by _Nos. 7 and 10 Enclosures_, a circular
platform, and _No. 13 Enclosure_.

The area covered by this open space is 126 ft. from south-west to
north-east and 51 ft. from east to west. This space had not been
previously examined by any modern explorer. Nor does any published plan
of the temple attempt to deal with it, it having been always left as an
unmarked space.

Bent found a similarity between _The Platform_ which overlooks this
area from its east side and the _Agora_ or platform-pulpit of the
ancient temples in the Near East to which references are so frequently
made in classic history, and he considered that this platform at
Zimbabwe, especially in view of its position in front of the _Conical
Tower_, was used for religious purposes, and that the open space
immediately at its foot and in front of it most probably held the
crowd of worshippers that might have been addressed from the elevated

The examination of this area in 1903 shows that Bent in 1891 made a
very shrewd conjecture as to the nature of the area. Over twelve years
ago and until 1903 the space held out a prospect of its containing
under its surface any number of walls, for in the Elliptical Temple
divisional walls and other structures are closely packed together.
Now that the space for 126 ft. by 51 ft. has been cleared to a depth
of from 4 ft. to 8 ft. following the lines of old cement floors which
were completely buried, the space is shown to be actually an open area
without walls or traces of walls of any sort crossing it at any point.
Excepting such granite blocks as lined the bases of the boundary walls
of this area, not ten hundred-weight of blocks were found, and these
were scattered about at different heights and in almost every position
in the soil débris which was removed.

In excavating this large space down to the floor which runs throughout
the area at a similar level—a work occupying, forty native labourers
for three months—“finds” of any antique character were only made on the
cleared floor and not in the soil débris which was removed, and all
such relics which included fragments of both plain and carved soapstone
beams, gold plates, beads and wire, were about equally distributed over
the whole area.

The most important architectural features disclosed in the clearing of
this area were as follows:—

Drain from _No. 10 Enclosure_ into this area.

A rounded terrace wall on the west side of _The Platform_.

Excellent granite cement dado work, several square feet being still

Two massive granite cement steps leading up to the north entrance to
the _Sacred Enclosure_.

The large granite cement steps leading up to the small platform in the
angle formed by the north and east walls of _No. 12 Enclosure_.

Drain-hole in buttress in _No. 12 Enclosure_ with large cement guides
to lead water to it.

The suggestion made in description of the slight and poorly built
east wall of _No. 10 Enclosure_ that it was of later construction is



Circular granite cement platform with steps leading to summit.

This last-mentioned structure is worthy of more than a mere mention;
as apart from its excellent construction and its position, its summit
was found to be covered with soapstone beams, plain and decorated,
while fragments of beams were lying all round its base. Near this spot
numerous soapstone phalli, including one of very large size, were

This platform is 69 ft., N. 20, from the north face of the _Conical
Tower_ measured through the centre of the north entrance to the _Sacred
Enclosure_. It has a circumference of 30 ft. 6 in., and is from 2 ft.
4 in. to 2 ft. 8 in. in height, with a rounded bevel at base 3 in.
high and projecting 6 in. There are two boldly rounded steps, each 8
in. high, on the east side, and on the east side of the steps is a low
cement parapet. This platform occupies a somewhat isolated position.
Its summit was found to be buried for at least 2 ft. in soil. Close to
the north side was a large tree, judged to have been almost one hundred
years old. The roots of the tree had arched over and also encircled
the structure, and so had preserved it. The roots had attempted to
penetrate the cement, but failing to do so they passed completely round
its face, and when cut away they were almost all semi-circular in shape.

                        INNER PARALLEL PASSAGE

This passage lies between the main _Parallel Passage_ and _No. 15
Enclosure_. It runs north-west to south-east from the _South Passage_
near the _North Entrance_ to the temple into _No. 15 Enclosure_, and
is parallel with _Parallel Passage_. The three parallel walls forming
the two passages are generally known as the _Triple Walls_. Whereas
the _Parallel Passage_ led from the _North Entrance_ to the _Sacred
Enclosure_ only, this leads from near the _North Entrance_ right into
the interior of the temple.

Its length is 71 ft., and at its eastern end it is 7 ft. wide for a
short distance, but rapidly closes in to a width of 3 ft. 6 in., which
is maintained throughout the greatest part of its remaining length.

The north-eastern wall is the south-western wall of the _Parallel
Passage_, and from the eastern end for 29 ft. this wall averages in
height 12 ft. to 14 ft. above the present floor of the passage, and
from the 29-ft. point to 67 ft. the face of the wall is damaged by
roots, and the height here is only 7 ft.

The south-western side is formed by the wall dividing this passage from
_No. 15 Enclosure_. It averages 10 ft. in height, and is well and very
substantially built. On this side, at 32 ft. from the eastern end, is a
drain leading from _No. 15 Enclosure_.

The western entrance to this passage has on the north-eastern side a
rounded buttress 5 ft. high, 6 ft. long, and protruding 1 ft. 10 in.
from the face of the wall. This buttress has a portcullis groove, but
this has recently been built up in order to strengthen the buttress.
On the opposite side there are traces only of a corresponding buttress
in the shape of some foundation stones, and there are also signs that
there were once steps extending from buttress to buttress.

It is probable that the ancient floor was only a few inches below the
present cleared-out floor, as what appear to be paving stones, together
with small sections of granite floor, can be seen outcropping at
several points along the passage, but vine and tree roots have lifted
the rest of the stones out of place.

At the eastern end is a large, substantial, and well-constructed
rounded buttress protruding 9 ft. towards south-west from the
north-eastern side of the passage, where it here opens on to _No. 14
Enclosure_. This buttress gives the passage-way a turn south at almost
right angles. This buttress is from 4 ft. to 10 ft. in height on its
front face, but 21 ft. at its rear, and this buttress forms part of the
boundary of _No. 14 Enclosure_.



It is possible that this buttress which is hollow, and to which there
are traces of an entrance from the passage, once enclosed steps leading
on to the summit of the wall between the _Parallel Passage_ and the
_Inner Parallel Passage_.[56] Certainly the way the stone débris inside
the buttress has fallen tends to support this conjecture.

                             SOUTH PASSAGE

This passage appears to have been the main artery leading from the main
and _North Entrance_ of the temple right into the central portion of
the building, where it has its terminus. It is 68 ft. long from the
broad step on the south side of the _North Entrance_ to the steps at
the south end of the passage.

For 23 ft. from the north end where is the broad step there is an
almost triangular area, 23 ft. from north to south, and 30 ft. from
east to west, having its base on the north side. The western end of
_Inner Parallel Passage_ enters it at the eastern corner, and the
entrance from _No. 3 Enclosure_ is at its western corner. The heights
of the walls forming this area are: north side being the south wall of
the _Parallel Passage_, 15 ft.; south-west side being the north-east
wall of _No. 1 Enclosure_, 12 ft.; the west side being the divisional
wall between the area and _No. 3 Enclosure_, 6 ft.; the east and south
being the wall dividing the area from _No. 15 Enclosure_, 12 ft. All
these walls are well built and are very substantial.

In the centre of this area is a raised platform, commencing at 9 ft.
from the north side of the area and terminating at 21 ft. from the same
point, thus giving it a length of 12 ft. It is 9 ft. 6 in. wide and 3
ft. high, and has granite cement covering, where not broken, the whole
summit. An old euphorbia tree was found growing out of this cement,
its roots having played havoc with the side walls of the platform, the
best portion now remaining facing the north-east side. The tree has now
been removed. This platform is approached by three large granite cement
steps, the two lower ones still being in a fair condition. These steps
are each 12 in. high, and from front to back are from 10 in. to 12 in.,
while they are 2 ft. 6 in. wide, and are rounded on the edges.

The most peculiar circumstance about this platform is that under a
foot depth of vegetable mould which completely covered it and rendered
the platform shapeless, and lying on the surface of the cement floor,
were found some hundred-weights of bones of oxen. There were no bones
other than those of oxen, and the bones had not been split open for the
marrow, as is so frequently found to be the case in very old Makalanga
débris heaps. Nor were any broken pottery, iron implements, or iron and
brass bangles, such as are most usually found together in such débris,
to be seen, but carbonised wood was found in large quantities.

It should be remembered that Mauch and others of the early writers on
Zimbabwe state that they had witnessed sacrifices by the Makalanga of
those days of black oxen in the _Elliptical Temple_, and the local
natives also state that this was their practice up to within the last
fifteen years. Possibly this was the spot where these sacrifices took
place, for though Thomas Baines in a painting he made of one of these
ceremonies places the _Conical Tower_ in the background, there are no
signs anywhere near that structure that such sacrifices ever took place
in its immediate vicinity, all of which has now been cleared of débris
down to the cement floor at every point where the _Conical Tower_ could
possibly have formed a background for such a ceremony. It is now almost
certain that Baines painted this and other pictures of Zimbabwe from
the descriptions given him by Renders, Phillips, and Mauch. But in the
south-western end of the _Parallel Passage_ for about 20 ft. or 30 ft.
from its exit into the _Sacred Enclosure_ (_east_) the débris was very
mixed, and included bones of oxen and buck, the larger bones all split
open. Probably this was one of the spots in the temple where these
annual sacrifices of black oxen by Makalangas took place.

The platform faces the north, the steps being on the south-east side.
The area containing this platform was evidently once laid with granite
cement, but sections of it only remain in the western corner and on its
north-east side. A drain-hole leading into the _Parallel Passage_ is at
6 ft. east of the broad steps ascending from this area to the _North
Entrance_. This step is 11 ft. broad.

At 23 ft. south from its north end the area narrows to 3 ft. 10
in., which width is maintained for 18 ft., the passage for this
length running between _No. 16 Enclosure_ on the east side and _No.
1 Enclosure_ on its west side. At this point in this section of the
passage a large flat slab of granite has been banked up with stones to
keep the upper portion of the wall on the west from collapsing into the
passage. The walls here on either side are from 7 ft. to 10 ft. high.

At 43 ft. south from the north end of the passage are two entrances,
the one from the west being from _No. 1 Enclosure_, and this is
angular, while the other facing it on the east being from a short
passage on the south side of _No. 16 Enclosure_, is rounded, and has
portcullis grooves. From the 43-ft. point the width of the passage is
2 ft. 8 in., but at its southern extremity it is increased during the
last few feet to 4 ft. 10 in. The side walls are very well built, and
are still in a good state of preservation. The entrance at the south
end of the passage has a rounded buttress with portcullis groove on
either side leaving a width of 3 ft. This entrance has five large stone
steps practically perfect. The buttresses are 5 ft. high.

                             WEST PASSAGE

This passage lies on the west side of the interior of the temple, and
is between _Nos. 4 and 5 Enclosures_ on the west and _No. 1 Enclosure_
and _Central Area_ on the east. It runs north and south, and is formed
on the west side by a massive and well-built wall, which is in the form
of an arc; the length of the inside face of the wall being 65 ft., and
that of the line drawn from extremity to extremity of the wall being 57
ft., and this passes at 8 ft. from the inner face at the centre of the
curve westwards.

This large curved wall is independent of any other structure, and
stands entirely by itself. It is clearly the best-constructed wall in
the western half of the temple, and the excellent workmanship displayed
in the regularity of the courses, the bold and well-executed curve, and
its immense width, at once strike the attention of anyone who enters
the temple at the western portal. Its width is 8 ft. at 6 ft. above the
ground, and its height ranges from 6 ft. to 10 ft.

The position and character of this wall induced Bent to conjecture that
this arc was one of the proofs that the entire temple was a “multiform
temple,” such as are found in South-West Asia, and these “little
temples ... were dedicated to the cult of particular stars.” Bent
considered that the massive and well-built curved walls in _Enclosures
Nos. 7 and 15_ were also employed for particular observations
independently of the great temple itself. At the time Bent made this
conjecture he was unaware that up against the centre of the inner face
of this curved wall was a platform raised some 4 ft. above the level
of the ground, and of the numerous relics of the older type found at
and near it, or that there were originally three granite monoliths once
standing parallel with, and at equal distance from, the west face of
this wall. These discoveries have only just recently been made, as well
as other corresponding discoveries in the other two enclosures which
Bent took to be minor temples. Each of the monoliths is 29 ft. from the
west face of the wall, and each is 9 ft. apart.

At its south end the passage is 10 ft. wide, at the north end it
narrows to 4 ft., but at its centre it averages a width of 10 ft. to 12

The east side of the passage is formed for 49 ft. from the north end
by the wall of _No. 1 Enclosure_, which here appears to be of poorer
and later construction, also by a roughly built wall, 11 ft. long,
with foundation some 4 ft. above the foundation of the wall of _No. 1
Enclosure_, and by a rounded buttress, 12 ft. length of facing and 7
ft. high, which has its foundation on the platform which overlooks the
west curved wall.

The platform, which is of cement, once had retaining walls at two
levels, and portions of these still remain.

                        NORTH-EAST PASSAGE[57]

This passage is on the north-east side of the temple and immediately
outside the _North Entrance_, running north-east at right angles from
the main wall between that entrance and [590 ft.]. Its total length
is 360 ft., but there is some evidence that it once extended further
towards the north-east for at least some hundred yards beyond the 360
ft. Only a portion of the 360 ft. length has at present been cleared of

On the north-west side it is bounded by a well-built wall 4 ft. 6 in.
high and 12 ft. long, at the north-east end of which is a large rounded
buttress with portcullis groove. This buttress projects 3 ft. into the
passage, and is 3 ft. 6 in. high. Probably another buttress containing
a corresponding portcullis groove faced it on the opposite side of the

The eastern side is bounded by the entrance to the _Outer Parallel
Passage_ and by the north wall of that passage, which curves round in
front of the _North Entrance_ to the temple, and runs at right angles
to its former position. This wall, which is well built, is 7 ft. high,
and forms the east side of the passage for some 35 ft., but at this
point it is reduced to 3 ft. in height, and is carried on toward the
north-east in a less carefully constructed style.

The widths of the passage and the heights of the side walls, measuring
from the _North Entrance_ to the temple, are as follows:—

                    Width.        West side.    East side.
  S. Extremity   12 ft.          4 ft. 6 in.      7 ft.
  25 ft.          5 ft.          2 ft. 6 in.      6 ft.
  35 ft.          2 ft. 10 in.   3 ft.            4 ft.
  50 ft.          2 ft.  6 in.   3 ft.            3 ft.

Between 35 ft. and 50 ft. are remains of pavement.

This passage, with its length of 660 ft., is believed to have formed
the chief line of communication between the _Elliptical Temple_ and the
_Acropolis_, seeing that it runs from the main entrance of the temple
down into the valley at a point almost facing the lowest extremity of
the _South-East Ancient Ascent_ to the _Acropolis_.

                        OUTER PARALLEL PASSAGE

On leaving the temple by the _North Entrance_ one enters a walled-in
area. This area is formed by the southern extremity of the _North-East
Passage_ and the western extremity of the _Outer Parallel Passage_,
both of which meet at, and converge upon, the _North Entrance_.

The _Outer Parallel Passage_ runs for 125 ft. east-south-east from
the _North Entrance_ parallel with the north-east wall of the temple
between the points [450 ft.] and [575 ft.] of its outer circumference.
At its extremity near the _North Entrance_ this passage is 7 ft. wide,
and 25 ft. further east-south-east of the entrance it is 3 ft. 8 in.
wide, which width is maintained for a length of 50 ft., beyond which
point it commences to widen out till the east-south-east extremity is
reached, where it is 12 ft. 6 in. wide.

Opposite the _North Entrance_ the outer wall of the passage is 6 ft.
high; at 25 ft. further east-south-east, 5 ft.; at 75 ft., 8 ft.;
at 100 ft., 7 ft.; and at 125 ft., 5 ft., the line of summit from
the 25 ft. point to the east-south-east extremity being fairly level
throughout. This outer wall is well built. It is 4 ft. 2 in. wide on
the summit at 5 ft. from the floor of the passage, and 3 ft. 10 in.
wide at 7 ft. from the ground.

At 25 ft. from the _North Entrance_ is a rounded entrance through the
outer wall. This has portcullis grooves. It is 1 ft. 10 in. wide, and
has three steps formed of the courses of the foundation of the wall,
the upper step being curved back into the entrance.

At the extremity near the _North Entrance_ there are the remains of a
small rounded buttress projecting into the passage from the main wall
of the temple.

                              CHAPTER XIV

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

      South-East Ancient Ascent—Lower Parapet—Rock Passage—Upper
                      Parapet—Western Enclosure.

On Zimbabwe Hill, at a height of some 230 ft. to 250 ft. above the
valley which runs along its west and south sides, stands the Acropolis
or Hill Fortress. Its prominent and strategic position on this
precipitous and practically isolated granite kopje gives it a grandly
imposing appearance among the many large ruins included within the
Zimbabwe Reserve.

Viewing the hill from the valley, one can well realise that Nature
alone made the place impregnable, while the builders of almost four
thousand years ago applied their highly developed engineering skill and
ingenuity to make the stronghold even more absolutely unassailable.

The south side of the hill is defended by a precipice some 90 ft.
high, running without break from the western end for over 300 yds.
to the eastern side of the hill, where the precipice loses itself in
gigantic boulders, each of many hundred tons weight, which, owing to
their beetling form, render that side of the hill inaccessible. Great
boulders form the summit of the hill, and are in a cliff-shaped line
running from west to east. Several of the highest boulders appear to
be most delicately poised on the edges of the shoulders of gigantic
cliffs, and these rise up at least 50 ft. to 70 ft. above the highest
portion of the Hill Ruins, thus making the total height of the kopje
to be slightly more than 320 ft.

[Illustration: ZIMBABWE HILL


The bases of the southern walls are built on the outward slope of the
brink of the line of steep granite cliff, the lowest row of stones
being deep at their front and narrow at the back. So markedly are these
wedge-shaped rows of stones laid over the brink of the precipice that
at first sight one hardly notices where the wall ends and the precipice
begins, especially as the blocks in the walls present in the dry season
the same colourings and tints as the line of cliff itself. Below the
precipice the ground has a very sharp fall of some 70 ft. into the

The feelings provoked in one’s mind on visiting the Elliptical Temple
and Sacred Cone, which are in the valley, are those of awe and
reverence; but on inspecting the Acropolis the visitor is overcome
by a sense of absolute amazement and sheer bewilderment, which are
intensified at every step taken along its numerous labyrinthine
passages on climbing the hill.

Above the precipice, as seen from the valley, are massive walls, on
the summits of which some dozen monoliths, more or less erect, are
still to be seen standing clear against the sky-line. From this point
of view alone—and this but represents a small fraction of the walls of
which these ruins are composed—one realises that many thousands of tons
of granite blocks (those in the outer faces having been squared and
dressed) have been transported up the precipitous kopje to a height of
no less than 230 ft., for examination of the rocks on the hill proves
that the greater quantity of stone used in the walls was not quarried
on the kopje itself.

Apart from the infinite patience and painstaking toil of the ancients
as displayed in their careful and correct building and complicated plan
and style of architecture, this one fact of so much stone quarried
and dressed elsewhere and carried up to such a height as a man could
hardly climb who bore no burden, is one to amaze and perplex even the
most casual and indifferent visitor. Later, on reaching the ruins it
will be seen that very many thousand tons of granite blocks have been
carried up the hill. This fact serves to still further accentuate the
statements made by the authors on pages 60 and 65 of _Ancient Ruins
of Rhodesia_ that (1) not only did the ancients of the first period
of Zimbabwe architecture realise that they were occupying a hostile
country, but (2) the ancient builders had at their disposal slave
labour to an enormous and incalculable extent, and this apart from the
overwhelming evidences pointing to the same conclusion presented by the
thousands of ancient workings spread over Southern Rhodesia, and the
hundreds of massive fortresses and temples occupying a corresponding

These and many other obvious suggestions present themselves most
forcibly at even the partial view of the Hill Fortress as seen from the

The first question occurring to one ascending the hill is: Where is
the ancient ascent? It is obvious that the path used by visitors could
not be the ascent of the ancients, for were it not for the gaps in the
walls, access to the summit by the ordinary path would be absolutely
impracticable. Indeed, the ordinary path runs at several points along
the reduced tops of broken walls, and crosses the foundations of some
dozen outer defence walls, which are now practically demolished and
barely traceable.

There are two well-defined ancient approaches to the summit of the
Acropolis, one being on the south side of the hill and the other on the
face fronting the west-north-west. It is believed that at least two
other ancient ascents exist. The N.N.W. ascent has not been completely
cleared out, though it is very well defined, and some 320 ft. of its
940 ft. length can now be traversed by the visitor, but the south-east
ascent has recently been cleared out of large trees, shrubs, and many
tons of wall débris and silted soil, so that it is now possible for
visitors to use it with ease. Mogabe, the Zimbabwe Makalanga chief, now
seventy years of age, who at one time had his kraal on the northern
side of the summit of Zimbabwe Hill, as well as the older of his
headmen, all state they had never before seen this ancient ascent so
cleared out. They say that the late Chipfuno’s people, and subsequently
their own, used it as an approach to the kraal, but not generally,
and this was only possible by climbing along the tops of the walls
and over the large wall-débris heaps that blocked up the passage-way.
Certainly for at least one hundred years this ascent could not have
been used, for the débris piles were covered with lichens, and had
every appearance of great age. The Makalanga had also purposely blocked
up the passage with a substantial wall, which was erected in Chipfuno’s
time. Some of the trees cleared from the passages proved by their size
that they had stood there long before the Chartered Company’s advent
into the country.

[Illustration: —ACROPOLIS RUINS—


_Methuen & Co._]

In fact, the ascent by this ancient approach now occupies a little
more than half the time required to walk round by the circuitous path
till recently used by visitors, besides affording to the climber a
revelation as to the ingenuity and wonderful engineering skill of the
ancients in effecting the defence of the hill. Unless this ancient
approach be traversed by the visitor, one of the principal features
provided by the Acropolis or Hill Ruins will have been missed.

                       SOUTH-EAST ANCIENT ASCENT

Leaving the huts at Havilah Camp, which occupy a low granite knoll on
the north side of the Shangani Grave and overlook the narrow valley
running at the south foot of the hill, one crosses the outspan and
passes through the “Outspan Ruins,”[58] which face the camp at a
distance of 70 yds. due north, which ruins are part of an inner line
of defence wall running round the base of the hill on the west, south,
and east sides, and which lie within the main outer wall sweeping
round from the west side of the Elliptical Temple to the north side
of Zimbabwe Hill, enclosing the large water-holes believed to have
been made by the ancients. From the ascent facing the camp a newly-cut
path leads in a direct line up some 70 ft. higher towards the ancient
approach, but with a slight trend to the east.

Before striking the walls of the passage-way, the path crosses at
right angles the foundations of some seven or eight outer defence
walls and walls of terraces and buried enclosures all rising in tiers
one above and at the back of the other. The soil here is black with
ash débris, and in cutting the rough steps in the path to the ascent,
each shovelful of this black soil contained a large quantity of broken
pottery and bones of animals. This débris on being examined shows
most evidently that it is not ancient; further, it is pronounced by
local natives to have been thrown out from the ruins above by previous
generations of Makalanga, but not by the mediæval Makalanga, who,
according to Portuguese records (1560 to 1750), occupied these ruins
as one of the courts or chief residences of the succession of dynastic
chiefs, each known as the Monomotapa or “The Lord of the Mines.” This
débris is believed to cover that of the mediæval Makalanga and of the
ancients, for all débris would by the formation of the cliff above
be guided to this part of the lower southern slope, and the heavy
downfalls of very many rainy seasons would distribute it over the steep
face of the southern slope, and spread it into the valley, where any
quantity of such débris may be found.

The path from the camp strikes the ancient ascent at 70 ft. above
the valley. The length of the approach, measured in the centre of
the passage in all its turnings, is 349 ft. from this point to its
termination on the summit of the precipice. It extends in a westerly
direction from the 70 ft. to the 210 ft. level on the hill. This
passage can be traced downwards into the valley to clear of the end of
the kopje for 420 yds.

The ascent is, for an ancient ruin, in a remarkably good state of
preservation, except at a few points where whole lengths of walls have
fallen into the narrow passage which runs between high walls. All this
wall débris, which effectively blocked the passage, has just recently
been removed. At one point the end of a wall had collapsed bodily into
the passage, and being on higher ground had filled it up to the height
of the walls below, but this débris has also been cleared away, so that
visitors can now walk without the slightest hindrance up the ascent on
practically what was the ancient flooring, and ascend the old flights
of steps. To such an extent had the passage become choked up that it
required some fifteen native labourers, working at different points,
no less than four days to cut away sufficient growth as would enable
a mere scramble to be made over the débris in the passages, while the
thorough clearing away of wall débris occupied the whole gang for
nearly a fortnight. Now that this ancient ascent has been made an easy
approach, this passage to the summit of Zimbabwe Hill has become the
most popular ascent.

The chief architectural features represented in the ascent are the
(_a_) Lower Parapet, (_b_) the Rock Passage, and (_c_) the Upper
Parapet, as also the flights of steps occurring in several lengths.

The point where the path from the camp strikes this ancient ascent is
not its most easterly extremity nor its lowest point, for, as before
stated, this passage can be traced for 420 yds. further east, where
its emergence into the valley is protected by one, if not two, large
fort-like ruins of some importance.

On turning into the ascent from the camp path, an outer wall on the
left-hand side runs for 42 ft. 6 in., and this wall is now only about
2 ft. high. The foundations are 4 ft. wide. The upper courses of
this wall are not ancient, though the foundations and lower courses
undoubtedly are, for it is evident that blocks which have fallen from
terrace walls overlooking the passage into the ascent have been laid
neatly, probably by mediæval Makalanga, on the tops of the wall which
had already become ruined. The right-hand side of the ascent from this
point, for a length of 65 ft., is formed by huge boulders. The passage
throughout this length is 3 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. wide.

                        (_a_) THE LOWER PARAPET

At the upper end of this 45 ft. length of wall, and on the left-hand
side, is a natural parapet artificially improved. This is the Lower
Parapet, the outer and left-hand side of which is formed by the summit
of a large boulder 25 ft. long, and its highest point not more than
4 ft. 6 in. above the floor of the ascent. From this vantage ground
a fine view is obtained of the hills to the south, with the Bentberg
(_Matusa_) directly opposite, and the Elliptical Temple and the valley
of Ruins below.

On the inner and right-hand side of the Lower Parapet the rock glacis
is surmounted by two terrace walls, really enclosures filled in, the
second being behind and higher than the first. The lower terrace wall
has a frontage to the south of 24 ft., and the upper terrace wall
starts at 14 ft. to the rear of the top of the lower wall. Portions
of the higher wall are still intact, and judging by the line of wall
débris, it had a frontage to the south of some 20 ft.

Facing the passage at the west end of the Lower Parapet is a wall 3
ft. 6 in. high, running north for 12 ft. The top of this wall is 4
ft. wide, and is built upon a large granite boulder, which beetles
considerably at the outer and southern extremity of this wall. The
northern end of the wall is wedge-shaped, the point being well made
with finely tapering sides. A similar wedged-shaped buttress is to be
seen at the entrance to the Upper Parapet, and also on the south side
of the east entrance in the interior of the Eastern Temple on Zimbabwe

The wall thus described acts as a division or parting of the ways, as
in the case of the wedge-shaped end of the wall at the Upper Parapet,
and a short passage 4 ft. wide and 12 ft. long runs along the west face
of the wall to the brink of the boulder which beetles to a steep drop

The object of this short passage jutting out from the main ascent to
the brink of the boulder’s edge is inexplicable, unless it was intended
as a débris shoot, for at the base of the south front of this boulder,
and some 20 ft. below, is a large débris pile of past and present
Makalanga ashes, pottery, and bones of animals. This is contained in
a loose black soil, but the débris of the ancients underlying the
obviously Makalanga débris is contained in a light yellow soil the
surface of which has become almost as hard as cement. The examination
of this lower stratum of débris fully confirms the suggestion that this
short passage which terminates, so to speak, in space was one of the
spots where the ancients shot their débris.

At the north end of this short side-passage the main ascent takes a
long curve for 51 ft. westwards, from south-west to north-west, and is
formed on the outer side by a wall 5 ft. to 6 ft. wide on its present
reduced summit and from 6 ft. to 9 ft. in height, which runs still
ascending to the top end of the 51 ft. length. Here the ascent is
steeper than near the Lower Parapet, and steps, and traces of steps,
can be seen at several points.

The inner or cliff side of the ascent, from the Lower Parapet to the
higher end of the 51 ft. wall on the opposite side, is formed by large
walls 3 ft. 6 in. wide on their present summits, and averaging 5 ft. in
height, but are built back on a much higher level of foundation than
the outer wall of the passage. These inner walls enclose an almost
square open space on the inner side of the ascent, the area being 16
ft. on the south-east, 12 ft. on the north-east, and 11 ft. on the
north, the lower and south-east wall slanting down-hill towards the
passage, so that the lowest corner of the area is at the point where
the ascent enters the area. The enclosure is entirely thrown into the
passage. This lower corner of the area is about 8 ft. north-west of
the wedge-shape dividing wall just described. The arrangement of the
walls and of the area, with its lowest point resting on the passage, is
most patently an intentional design of the ancient military engineers,
as the slanting-down wall on the south-east side would provide room
within the area for a hundred defenders, while the narrow passage
immediately below where the ascent enters the area could barely have
held two invaders fighting abreast. But this narrow point was once
much narrower, for the foundations of a projecting buttress, rounded
into the lowest corner of the area, are to be seen about 2 ft. above
where the south-east wall slopes down-hill to within 3 ft. of the inner
face of the outer wall. The foundations of this projecting buttress
are very indistinct, and probably will disappear, as, now the buttress
has collapsed, visitors walk across the remaining foundation stones
as a short cut. The wall débris here suggests that the buttress was a
high structure. The Zimbabwe Makalanga headmen, who were watching the
clearing operations, informed the author that this buttress was once a
high one, but this was in their early days and many years before their
kraal was removed from Zimbabwe Hill.

From above the enclosed area to the end of the 51 ft. length of outer
wall before mentioned the passage on the inner side is bounded by
a wall which runs parallel to the outer wall in its curve from the
south-west to the north-west.

From the higher end of the 51 ft. length of wall the passage turns
directly west for 43 ft., where it curves to the north-east for 26 ft.,
averaging a width of 3 ft. 6 in., except just lower than the curve and
through its continuation where it narrows to 2 ft. The heights of the
outside wall run from 3 ft. to 4 ft. 6 in. before it reaches the curve.
On the inner side wall of the lowest part of this length the wall is
much broken, especially a length of 11 ft., which once held dentelle
pattern, facing south.



The end walls or frame of this dentelle pattern are still to be seen,
and many of the small blocks used in making this pattern were found
in the passage-way. The blocks can always be identified by their
exact similarity in size, and also on two faces they are exceedingly
time-worn, if not decomposed, as they are built up in columns with one
corner projecting outwards and flush with the face of the wall. This
pattern has now become completely destroyed by wild vine trees growing
inside the wall and forcing out its outer face on to the passage floor.
This damage must have been done within the last ten years.

This was one of the finest examples of dentelle pattern so far
discovered in Rhodesia, and had it not been destroyed would have been
by far the largest pattern of all the five instances. Dentelle pattern
is one of the many distinguishing features of the first period of
Zimbabwe architecture.

On the floor of this passage at this point and upwards there is a
flight of some thirty or forty steps. Each is very narrow from front
to back, so much so that it is exceedingly awkward for anyone wearing
boots to climb or descend them, though the Makalanga with their bare
feet climb them with the greatest ease. The steps extend from side to
side of the passage, but their end blocks, which here are very small,
are not built into the foundations of the side walls as are the large
steps to be found in the entrances and passages of all the original
buildings at Zimbabwe. It is therefore believed that these steps in
the ascent, or at least these particular steps, are not ancient, but
are laid upon the original steps by mediæval Makalanga, for there is a
freshness in their appearance which is never seen in steps which are
undoubtedly ancient. This belief is strengthened considerably when one
compares the flight of toe-lines with the broad, deep, and massive
steps at several points in the ascent, which were built when the
foundations of the passage walls were laid.

At the top end of the curve in this length of passage the heights of
both walls are 9 ft., with a width of passage at this point of 2 ft. 4
in. In this curve are traces of several rows of large steps.

At 12 ft. above the curve the passage turns with a sharp angle to due
west-north-west. On the north or inner side at this turn is a large
buttress built up against the face of the cliff. This buttress is 19
ft. 6 in. in height at its rear and abuts from the cliff for 2 ft. 6
in. The front of the buttress is only 7 ft. in height. The buttress
is 19 ft. long, but wall débris fallen from the summit of the cliff
extends upwards towards the entrance to the Rock Passage for another
8 ft. The outer wall here averages from 2 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. 6 in. in
height. This wall has every appearance of having been reconstructed at
a later period. Its face is exposed to the fall of every stone from the
walls on the summit of the precipice, and no wall débris could descend
without damaging it. Up against its face were piles of blocks which had
come from above, but some of these piles were comparatively modern.
This point in the ascent, owing to the formation of the face of the
cliff, would have guided to it all débris falling from the southern
wall of the Eastern Temple, some portions of which have fallen into the
ascent. The passage between the buttress of the outer wall is 2 ft.
wide, but at the top end of the buttress it widens out to 4 ft. where
it enters the Rock Passage.

                        (_b_) THE ROCK PASSAGE

From this point the ascent is continued in the same direction between
the main cliff of the hill on the inner side (which at this elevated
level of the ascent is only 50 ft. above the passage) and a colossal
boulder on the outer side. This boulder beetles inwards towards the
cliff and over the heads of passers-by. The outside height of the
boulder appears to be some 80 ft. or 90 ft., and at one time before the
occupation of the hill by the ancient builders it formed part of the
main cliff from which it had fallen away for some feet, both outwards
and downwards; the depression in the face of the cliff from which it
slipped is still the exact shape of the boulder. In the Rock Passage
the height of the inside face of the boulder above the artificially
made raised floor is about 40 ft. to 20 ft., according as the ascent
rises. The ancients are believed to have filled in the split opening
between cliff and boulder to the needed height to carry their ascent.
This practice was a common one with the ancients, and a good instance
of this work is seen in the Buttress Passage in the Acropolis ruins.



Once inside the Rock Passage the path rises rapidly till it reaches
the open at the 200 ft. level of the hill. The passage is 48 ft.
long, and its average width is 2 ft. 6 in., but at one point it is
barely 1 ft. 10 in. wide. Where the boulders end on the higher side a
wall runs up on the outer side for 8 ft., and this is 4 ft. to 1 ft.
higher, lessening as the path ascends. The cliff here still forms the
inner side for this distance, and at the top end is a rounded buttress
jutting out from the cliff for 3 ft., and below it, and on the south
side, are several well-defined large steps of the undoubtedly ancient
type ascending on the outer side of the buttress for 12 ft.

At the end of this 12 ft. length the passage turns north and north-east
for 21 ft., and passes on the west side of the wedge-shaped-ended
wall, which forms the division where the path to the Higher Parapet
leaves the ascent. At the end of the 21 ft. length the walls of the
ascent appear to terminate, but the path to the Western Temple and to
the other ruins on the hill is continued through a gap made recently,
for the sake of visitors, in a Makalanga-built wall erected on ancient
foundations. This reconstruction of the wall by Makalanga without
leaving any entrance downwards to the ascent deliberately blocked it
up. This bears out the Zimbabwe headmen’s statement that within the
last fifty years they rarely used the ancient ascent in climbing up to
their kraal on the summit of the hill. Passing through the gap in the
Makalanga wall one enters the Western Enclosure, which lies at the foot
of the west face of the west wall of the Western Temple.

But the description so far given of the ascent is incomplete, for on
the east side of the wedge-shaped buttress, which is on the west side
of the Rock Passage, is a passage to the Western Temple by the Higher

                       (_c_) THE HIGHER PARAPET

The length of this parapet, which extends from within 9 ft. 6 in. of
the summit of the ancient ascent, is 78 ft., and it runs in an easterly
direction from the right-hand side of the ascent at the point where is
the upper wedge-shaped buttress and the outer parapet wall is built
along a narrow ledge at the very utmost edge of the cliff. Its front
foundation stones are wedge-shaped to suit the declivity of the rock
on which they are placed. At certain points this parapet wall has
fallen over the brink into the Rock Passage below, but the foundations
remain. This dilapidation is more apparent at the eastern end of
the parapet, where it passes on the precipice side of the face of a
projecting boulder and also of a rounded buttress 7 ft. high, which
is very well built. The boulder is erected up against the bottom part
of the rounded end of the main west wall of the Western Temple on its
southern extremity. This rounded buttress is 4 ft. west of the point
where the Higher Parapet joins the Parallel Passage, which is a still
more easterly and more elevated extension of the ancient ascent to the
Western Temple.

Coming up the ascent, and 9 ft. 6 in. from its summit, the path divides
as before mentioned at the wedge-shaped buttress, the right-hand path
being the approach to the Higher Parapet. Three feet above this
wedge-shaped end of wall are clear traces of large steps, and at this
point and on the right-hand side is a portion of dentelle pattern
introduced into the wall, and this faces due west. This pattern
originally consisted of five columns of blocks with projecting edges,
but the lower portions of four columns now only remain. The blocks are
in five courses. Unlike the dentelle blocks lower in the ascent, and
also the blocks in this pattern on the Platform of the Western Temple,
these blocks are of the ordinary size used in building the walls, and
in size resemble the blocks used in this pattern on the east main wall
of the Eastern Temple, and also those in this pattern on the Conical
Tower in the Elliptical Temple.

The highest part of the outer wall of the Higher Parapet is now only 2
ft. 6 in., with a similar width on the top. The width of the approach
to this parapet from the wedge-shaped end of the dividing wall is 2 ft.
on the floor. The wall on the inner side of the parapet at its western
end is 4 ft. 6 in. to 6 ft. high, and rounds off to the south to the
wedge-shaped end where it terminates.

Visitors should refrain from passing along the Higher Parapet unless
they are perfectly certain no one is in the Rock Passage at the time,
as any block put in motion even by the careful climber must fall
into the passage below. As before stated, the parapet wall is very
dilapidated and blocks might fall at the slightest movement near them.
But even with this caution the Higher Parapet is not a safe place
for visitors, for, as can be seen from below, the foundations of the
parapet, which are built over the brink of the precipice, show a
bulging out which must sooner or later effect the destruction of the

The Higher Parapet would enable the ancient defenders to effectually
block the approach of any enemy through the Rock Passage, however great
their number.

There are two points worthy of notice in connection with this ancient

1. _Original heights of walls._—The walls of the ascent in their
original state were considerably higher than even the highest (9 ft.)
as seen at two points to-day. In discussing this matter with some of
the Makalanga headmen, it was ascertained that even within their day,
say fifty years—for Mogabe is fully seventy years of age—some of the
highest walls were 4 ft. or 5 ft. higher than they are at present. But
on examining the numerous and immense wall-débris piles which were
removed in August, 1902, the estimate as to the heights of the walls in
their original form has to be very considerably increased, for these
piles were only the débris of the inner side walls and of the inner
faces of the outer walls, since the main portions of the outer walls
which have fallen have gone down the precipice, for at its base one can
walk for over 100 yds. on wide and high piles of wall débris which has
fallen down from the outer walls of the ascent.

The present widths of the walls also are some guide in forming an
estimate of their original heights. Some of these walls are from 5 ft.
to 7 ft. wide on their present very reduced summits, and taking the
usual Zimbabwe batter-back of 1 ft. in 6 ft. which is found in many of
the buildings of the first period of Zimbabwe architecture—and these
buildings are most manifestly of that period—it would be within a safe
limit were it stated that these passage walls were at least 15 ft.
high on either side throughout the greater length of the ascent. This
estimate would then fairly account for the great amount of wall débris
with which whole lengths of the ascent were completely choked up, in
some places to the tops of the walls on either side, and also for the
wall débris at the foot of the ascent.

Certainly most of the damage to the walls was done centuries ago, for
the ancient blocks on the sides and tops of the débris piles have,
since they fell into their present position on the piles, become on
all their exposed faces and sides, and even on their back parts, as
weathered and time-eaten, and in some cases as decomposed, as the front
faces of the blocks remaining in the walls.

But, unfortunately, irreparable damage has been done to these walls
within the last twenty years, and certainly within the last ten years,
for trees of not older growths than these periods were found to be
growing right in the centres of the walls, their roots pushing out
lengths of wall faces. This is the cause of the destruction of the
lower set of dentelle pattern, which has certainly been effected during
the last ten years. The inside of the wall from which the dentelle
blocks have fallen has every appearance of being quite fresh, and is
not in the slightest degree weather or time-worn.

2. _The ascent from the coast route._—This ancient ascent being on
the south side of the hill, and running for 600 yds. from the valley
at the clear east end of the hill up the south face to the summit,
it may naturally be taken for granted that this was the path along
which all arrivals by the route from the coast at or near Sofala would
approach Zimbabwe Fortress. As there are only two ancient ascents, the
southern and the north-western, and all other parts of the hill being
inaccessible, this conjecture may probably be the correct one, for to
have traversed the North-Western Passage for such a purpose would have
taken the ancients at least one mile out of their way. Every step taken
down the Southern Passage was one taken nearer to the coast.

On referring to _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_, it will be found
that chains of ruins of forts, occupying strategic positions at
comparatively equal distances from each other, run in a south-easterly
direction along the Motelekwe River, and are further carried along the
Sabi far into Portuguese South-East Africa. The south ascent appears
to be the north-west termination of this line from the coast, and
the importance of this approach is demonstrated by the presence of
two outer distinct and large ruins in the valley at the south-eastern
end of the hill, and these guard the lowest extremity of the ascent.
The Mapaku Ruins, misnamed Little Zimbabwe, which lie eight miles
south-east of the Great Zimbabwe, would form the first posting station
and fort for the protection of the road to the Motelekwe chain of forts.

Besides, the contour of the country round Zimbabwe very clearly points
this route out as the ancient line of road to the south-east coast,
any other line, as can be seen from the summit of Zimbabwe Hill, being
barred by ranges of steep and high kopjes, in addition to which it may
be observed that the wagon road from Zimbabwe towards the Motelekwe and
Sabi rivers runs to-day along this identical line, as the formation of
the land permits of no other route from Zimbabwe.

It was shown in chapter vii. that discoveries demonstrated that the
ancients exported a large quantity of the gold won from the thousands
of ancient workings on the numerous gold-belts of Southern Rhodesia.
This amount authorities have placed, on a conservative estimate, at no
less than £75,000,000. Most probably a portion of whatever gold was won
in the northern gold districts of Southern Rhodesia went to the coast
by a northern route and not _viâ_ Zimbabwe. But the gold collected from
each of the capital towns in the more southern portion of Southern
Rhodesia, the capital towns having collected the gold from their
respective sub-districts on the reefs, would come to the metropolitan
centre at Zimbabwe, ready for transmission by caravan to the coast.
The districts that in all probability sent from their capital towns
their stores of gold as they became accumulated, so far as the lines
of forts and the contiguity, geographical position, and convenience
indicate, would be the present Tati, Bulawayo, Bembesi, Selukwe,
Gwanda, Filabusi, Belingwe, etc., and the gold districts of Southern
Mashonaland. For the service of these districts the north-west ascent
at Zimbabwe would appear to be extremely natural. The gold therefore,
in all probability, was brought from these districts to Zimbabwe
along its north-west ascent, and was taken away to the coast by the
marvellously protected path leading to the south-east.

This argument is not mere romancing. It is one which has every evidence
in its favour so far as any evidence can at present be secured. Passing
along the south-eastern ascent we may be pardoned if some poor attempt
be made to reconstruct some of the scenes that have taken place in
ancient times within its narrow and tortuous walls. Here may have
occurred the greeting of fresh arrivals from the coast, or from the
mother country of the ancient colonists; the bringing of news from a
far country, possibly news from Yemen, and later from Tyre and Sidon;
news of changes in home dynasties or of the progress of those ancient
and classic wars which shook the world and started fresh eras and
epochs in its history.

There, too, might have been seen the train of slaves carrying their
golden burden in claw-hammer-shaped ingots as stated to have been shown
on the monuments of Punt, and as they are pictured in the tombs of
ancient Egypt, of which the ancient soapstone moulds are represented
in collections of relics found in Rhodesia. Ivory, apes, ostrich
feathers, and gorgeous birds would be borne in the caravan, while gangs
of slaves, doomed to exile, would follow in the convoy, for all these,
since before the dawn of history, have been exported to the “Near East”
from Sofala and ancient Rhodesia.

Again, there might have been seen the dusky Semitic crowd watching
the departure of the results of their toil on so many ancient
gold-bearing districts, dressed in short, armless tunics (p. 108),[59]
and displaying massive gold bangles, exquisitely made and chased with
Zimbabwe designs, on arms, wrists, legs, and ankles, and with chains
of heavy gold beads round their necks, and in their hands the rods of
office with the beaten gold sun images on the tops, gold ferules at
the ends, or copper battle-axes and spearheads thickly plated with
gold—for all these are articles plentifully found with the buried
ancients of Rhodesia.

One can almost see the vantage grounds seized by the younger members
of the ancient crowd to view such spectacles, for on the same granite
cliff-ledges, foot-polished by ages of wear, the young men of the
Makalanga love to climb and squat.

At the lower end of the passage, and near the two ancient forts which
protect its south-eastern extremity, would be the soldiery in readiness
to take up their position in guarding the caravan. One can realise how
the ancients climbed on to the boulders at the very summit of Zimbabwe
Hill to strain anxious eyes in watching the progress of the convoy
down the valley towards the south-east till it disappeared in the blue
distance of the lower land.

Romance is most undoubtedly buried on the floors of all Zimbabwe ruins
throughout Rhodesia, but Romance rivalling that of Rider Haggard at his
best pervades the massive walls of this ancient ascent as it insinuates
its upward way along the precipitous side of Zimbabwe Hill.

                           WESTERN ENCLOSURE

To reach the _Western Temple_ on the hill from the _South-East Ancient
Ascent_, the _Western Enclosure_ must first be crossed, seeing that the
_Higher Parapet_ path is now become dangerous.

This enclosure lies on the west side of the main west wall of the
_Western Temple_. The highest part of the enclosure—the east—is 212
ft., and the lowest—the west part—is 205 ft. above the valley. The main
west wall of the _Western Temple_ forms its easterly boundary for 71
ft., the other walls making the enclosure nearly square. The wall on
the north side is 52 ft. long, 4 ft. to 6 ft. high, and 3 ft. to 4 ft.
wide on present summit. The west wall is 81 ft. long, and similar in
width and height. The south side, with no wall now remaining, is 61 ft.
long, and at 4 ft. to 7 ft. below the south edge, on the outside of
this enclosure, runs the _Higher Parapet_ previously described.

None of these enclosing walls, except, of course, the main wall of the
temple, are ancient. They are rudely built, or, rather, neatly piled.
This is obviously Makalanga work of a generation or two past, and the
Zimbabwe Makalanga admit this to be the case. But at several points the
walls run on ancient foundations. These modern natives, in imitation of
the monoliths on the temple wall above, have erected a slate monolith
on their north wall, but upside down. Slate beams, evidently fallen
from the wall above, have been used by the Makalanga as building
material, as using them saved labour.

But there are strong evidences that the builders of the ruins
themselves used this ground as an enclosure, and these in addition to
the remains of the enclosing walls’ foundations. At a distance of 15
ft. in front of the main wall of the temple is a wall built in good
style and, till recently, perfectly buried in soil. This portion of a
wall runs from north-east to south-west for 7 ft. 6 in., and is 2 ft. 6
in. high, ending at each extremity abruptly, the south-west end showing
a tendency to curve more to the south.

Also in the north-east corner and at the foot of the main wall of the
temple, and at 7 ft. and 15 ft. respectively from it, there are very
decided traces of terrace walls, with parapets descending into the
interior of the enclosure. The probable purpose of these terraced walls
is alluded to in the description of the _Western Parapet_, as this
parapet runs through other enclosures described later.

The drop of 7 ft. towards the west in the level of the surface of this
enclosure rather tends to support the theory advanced by Messrs. Bent
and Swan that the main west wall of the _Western Temple_ once stood
some yards more to the west of the present west main wall. This theory
is at present somewhat difficult to accept, for the existing wall is
the widest wall yet known in any ruin in Rhodesia, not excepting the
huge main walls of the _Elliptical Temple_ in the valley. This main
wall of the _Western Temple_ is 11 ft. wide on its summit at 18 ft.
above the ground. Still there are other points, mentioned later in
connection with the _Western Temple_, which would seem to support
Messrs. Bent and Swan’s theory.

Passing from the _Ascent_, along the south side of this enclosure,
climbing the wall débris in front, and passing through a gap in the
dilapidated part of the main wall directly opposite, one enters the
_Western Temple_ at its south-west corner.

                              CHAPTER XV

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

                          THE WESTERN TEMPLE

This temple is the most westerly portion of the main ruins on _Zimbabwe
Hill_, and is built upon the steep edge of the western side of the
kopje at 220 ft. above the valley and also immediately on the summit
of the precipice, some 90 ft. in height, which runs along the south
face of the hill. A splendid view of the _Elliptical Temple_ in the
valley, as well as of the many ruins within the _Zimbabwe Reserve_, is
obtainable from this point.

The _Western Temple_ has the form of an amphitheatre, its area being
in the shape of a little less than a quarter of a circle, the centre
from which the south and north walls radiate being at its most easterly
point and 122 ft. from the centre of the inner face of the massive main
west wall which curves with a magnificently bold and perfect sweep
towards due west, connects the north and south walls at their westerly
extremities, and runs for 137 ft. on its inner face from south-west to

This curved west wall is the most massive structure so far discovered
in any ancient ruin in Rhodesia, though it is not the longest. It has a
width of summit at 25 ft. from the ground of 14 ft. 6 in., the general
average width being 11 ft., and is still liberally decorated with huge
granite and slate monoliths and a row of small conical towers which are
now more or less imperfect.

The lengths of the walls along their inner faces are as follows: north
wall, 90 ft.; south wall, with gaps, 127 ft.; and the curved west wall,
137 ft.

The present surface of the area is very irregular owing to the soil and
wall débris having been piled up at several points by excavators whose
trenches and digging are still to be seen. Disregarding these piles the
highest part of the area is at its eastern end, the lowest being at the
inside base of the west wall.

_North wall._—This wall may be divided into several lengths from east
to north. The 22 ft. length from the east reaches to _The Platform
Cave_. This length of wall supports _The Platform_ on its south-west
side. Here the wall is 12 ft. high, measuring from the present surface
of the temple, which is, so far as can be ascertained, some 3 ft. to
5 ft. above the highest and latest ancient floor. Towards the 15 ft.
point the wall is carried over a huge boulder 11 ft. high, also over a
smaller boulder partly resting on the first boulder and partly against
another boulder, which forms part of the north side of _The Platform
Cave_, along which boulders the height of the wall is 11 ft. over the
large boulder, and 6 ft. over the smaller and higher one, but including
the height of a rounded end of wall on _The Platform_ above which is
built upon this wall, the height of the wall above the smaller boulder
is 11 ft.

The 14 ft. length of this wall clears the entrance to _The Platform
Cave_ and the steps, now dilapidated, leading from the floor of the
temple to the upper flight of steps to _The Platform_. In addition to
these steps on the west side of the cave, there was once a wall on the
summit of the boulder up which the steps ran, but the boulder is now
bare save for a small cap of red _daga_ (clay) which once formed the
foundation of a small Makalanga granary, such positions being usually
selected on account of their freedom from white ants.

The 28 ft. length is built upon and along the top of a long boulder.
This wall on its inner face is in good condition, but its back part
which forms a portion of the south wall of the _Platform Enclosure_ is
very dilapidated. The heights of this wall are 7 ft. 6 in., 10 ft., and
5 ft. at three different points going north-west. The last 7 ft. of
this length is a gap, the foundations only remaining.

The 26 ft. length of this wall extends from the gap to the inside of
the north end of the main west wall, where it acts as the south side
of the west extremity of the deep passage recently unburied which runs
down the centre of the _Platform Enclosure_. It is 5 ft. to 6 ft. high
on the temple side. This 26 ft. length of wall has been very seriously
damaged by roots of large trees.

The widths of the summits of the north wall range between 3 ft. 6
in. and 5 ft., but as _The Platform_ ends where the west end of _The
Platform_ comes flush to the temple face of the wall, it is difficult
to state any width, but still it must be exceptionally wide to carry
the wall which here rises to 18 ft. from the present filled-in level of
the centre of the temple.

_West wall._—The west wall of the temple runs from north-west to
south-west, and is 137 ft. long on its inner face, and may, for the
purposes of this description, be divided into two lengths, _i.e._, 29
ft. and 108 ft. commencing at its north end.

The 29 ft. length extends from the north end of the west wall to the
south-west side of a divisional wall of the same height, but only 4 ft.
wide on its summit, which is built up against the inner face of the
main west wall and protrudes 9 ft. into the temple in a south-easterly
direction. This divisional wall has a drain-hole right through it at 6
ft. below its summit. It is evident that the bottom of the drain, which
passes through dry masonry, once had a lining of cement which resembles
in make and quality that used in the lowest floor of the temple. This
length of the main wall is still intact.

The 108 ft. length extends from the south-west side of the divisional
wall just mentioned to the southern extremity of the main wall. At 10
ft. south of this divisional wall is the lowest point in the interior
of the temple. At 33 ft. along this length, still measuring in a
southerly direction, the wall has been considerably damaged, there
being a wide and deep gap on the outer side and a depression in the
general line of summit of the wall on its inner face. From this point
in this length to 86 ft. the wall is again intact, and at its original
height. The last 22 ft. of the 108 ft. length is very considerably
dilapidated. The west wall terminates on the south-south-west in a
rounded end, the lower part of which is exceedingly well built and
stands 11 ft. above the ground. This rounded end is one of the two
rounded buttresses which form the north or right-hand side of the
west end of the _Parallel Passage_ on approaching it from the _Higher

The widths of the west wall at the summit are as follows: north
extremity, 13 ft. 8 in.; at north end of the 108 ft. length, 14 ft. 6
in.; at the gap, 2 ft. to 3 ft.; at south-south-west of gap, 12 ft. The
gap is 23 ft. long on the inner part and 29 ft. long on the outer or
west side.

The heights of the wall above the present levels of the ground, outside
and inside, are as follows: northern extremity, 25 ft. outside, and
6 ft. inside; at northern extremity of the 108 ft. length, 22 ft.
outside, and 16 ft. inside; at south-west of gap, 21 ft. outside, and
10 ft. 6 in. inside. The 22 ft. portion of the 108 ft. length is simply
a great pile of wall débris. The outside measurements are taken from
the top of the _Western Parapet_, which runs along at the foot of the
west face of the wall.

There are two points which will make this curved west wall of great
interest to archæologists:—

(1) It has the widest summit of any ancient wall yet discovered in
Rhodesia, and

(2) The _Monoliths_ and _Conical Towers_ alternating along its summit.
It should be stated that there are two lengths of summits of this wall
still remaining intact at their original heights. One length is at
the northern end of the wall, and is 44 ft. in length, and the other at
the south of the gap, and this is 46 ft. in length.



On the first line of summit the centres of the towers, foundations,
or traces, are at the following points, measuring from the northern
end: 6 ft., north face of tower 2 ft. high only now remains; 12 ft.,
foundations of tower with débris stones with rounded faces; 18 ft.,
portion of foundation only; 24 ft., tower in good condition to 2 ft.
in height; 30 ft., ditto; 36 ft., débris only; and 42 ft., traces of
foundation and débris.

On this length of summit there are three slate monoliths with tops,
some fractured, standing 3 ft. to 5 ft. above the summit of the wall.
These are practically equi-distant. Two other slate monoliths were
found in the débris at the outer base of the wall, and judging by the
spot where found, there are probably two others still buried in the

On the second line of summit, which extends for 46 ft. from south of
the gap, one round tower remains intact to a height of 3 ft. 6 in.,
where it has a diameter of 3 ft. 4 in. The towers or traces of towers
on this line of summit are at the following points, commencing from the
gap; 4 ft., tower, the most perfect specimen remaining; 10 ft., traces
of tower; 15 ft., ditto; 20 ft., foundations only; 27 ft., ditto; 33
ft., traces; 42 ft., ditto.

On this line of summit there are four slate monoliths, more or less
erect, standing at equi-distant points. One flat granite monolith
lies on the wall by the side of the hole in which it once stood. One
slate monolith was found at the outer base of the wall where the gap
divides the two lines of summits. The heights of these monoliths, some
fractured, range from 5 ft. to 9 ft. above the summit of the wall. One
of these must, in all probability, be 15 ft. long.

There seems to be little doubt that these towers, as erected
originally, were conical. The most perfect tower shows a very decided
drawing-in of the upper courses, while among the débris of each tower
are smaller blocks, showing by the contracted curve of their rounded
faces that the courses they represented had much smaller radii than
those of the courses below.

_Architecture and construction of west wall._—Both the architecture
and construction of this wall are most obviously of the First Zimbabwe
Period; but most of the material used is of an inferior quality to that
in the other walls of this temple. This is patent to anyone inspecting
the western face of the wall, where very many of the granite blocks
are cracked, and in some places considerably decomposed. Some of the
courses are also very irregular, and have steep gradients, while
many courses disappear, or are false in order to restore the level
of depressed courses, besides which the blocks vary greatly in size.
Still, the wall does not show any other feature of the Second Period
Zimbabwe architecture. As stated before, it is undoubtedly the most
massive wall of any ancient ruin yet discovered in Rhodesia, but it was
most probably built, or rather reconstructed, during a late portion
of the First Period, and, as Bent suggests, later than other walls
of this temple. He further suggests that this is a reconstruction
of the west wall on a curve some yards further east of its original
position. In the description of the _Western Enclosure_ (see later),
of which this wall forms the eastern side, it is stated that there
is much difficulty in accepting this conjecture. The opportunities
opened to the author for examining the ground to the west of the wall
were far better than those opened to Bent, and the failure to discover
any ancient foundation which could have carried even a much smaller
wall was complete; in fact, no foundations whatever anywhere within
the point of distance mentioned by Bent. Moreover, the south end of
the present wall, as seen at the eastern end of the _Higher Parapet_,
is most excellent work, and appears to have been erected at the same
time as the other walls of this temple. Bent’s suggestion as to a
reconstruction of this wall at a later period is highly probable, but
this reconstruction was only partial, it did not include the south end,
and it was upon the original foundations. The radius of the segment of
the south end demonstrates that the correctness of the curvature of
this wall would have been destroyed had the reconstructed portion been
built upon any other line of foundation.

_South wall._—This wall is the large massive wall seen from the valley
on the south and west sides of the hill. It is built upon the actual
brink of the south precipice, and is 78 ft. long, but including the
foundations in the gap at its eastern extremity, its total length is
127 ft.

The first 21 ft. measuring from the western end forms the outer wall of
the narrow passage from the _Higher Parapet_ in the _South-East Ascent_
to the _Western Temple_, and also forms the south wall of the western
end of the _Parallel Passage_. This wall at its western end is much
reduced by dilapidation, and here its height rising from the bare rock
of the precipice is 10 ft. above the floor of the passage. The wall at
this point terminates in a beautifully rounded end, which is a splendid
work of art, rivalling in this respect the round end of the wall on
the south side of _Pattern Passage_. From the western extremity the
south wall rises in height on its outer face as it extends east to 25
ft., and 35 ft. for the rest of the wall as far as the gap. Here the
original summit is practically intact as far as the west side of the
gap, where the foundations of the wall are level with the ground and
are about 8 ft. wide. The inside face of the wall above the interior
surface of the temple ranges from 11 ft. to 17 ft. according as the
ground rises and falls.

There are no traces of round towers on this wall, but three slate
monoliths and one of granite are still more or less erect on the higher
portion of the wall. Two slate monoliths were found by the writer
at the inner base of the wall, and these would have made the line

_East side of temple._—This is 36 ft. long. The first 10 ft. from the
south side is a débris heap; from 10 ft. to 26 ft. is a wall rounding
towards the east, and this wall is 18 ft. 6 in. high; 26 ft. to 29 ft.
is the _Covered Passage_ where the wall is 9 ft. over the passage; 29
ft. to 36 ft. is a wall extending to _The Platform_, where the height
of the wall is 14 ft. from the lower end of the boulder some 9 ft.
above the pile of débris lying on the floor. It is at this point that
the north wall before described commences.

_Centre of arc._—Schlichter suggested that the centres of the arcs of
those massive and decorated walls, which are curved either towards the
west or east, might have had some peculiar importance in the minds of
the ancient builders. This suggestion is based on his examination, not
only of the temples at Zimbabwe, but of the larger elliptical buildings
elsewhere in the country.

At the centre of the arc of the curved, decorated, and massively built
west wall in the _Western Temple_ on the _Acropolis_ (and this is the
widest wall yet discovered in Rhodesia) a discovery has been made which
may possibly bear on the question of the orientation of these temples,
though in the matter of orientation or otherwise it would be much
safer to keep an open mind till more information can be placed before
accredited experts acquainted with this branch of science.

The spot marked R on Bent’s plan—“centre of arc of great wall”—was
covered on the surface by a very old Makalanga _daga_ floor broken in
pieces by an old and decayed tree. These loose slabs of clay flooring
having been removed, about 2 ft. depth of blocks and soil was found.
The blocks had no relative position to one another, and they were in
all positions. Immediately below this débris was found a yellow granite
cement structure. This is semi-circular in shape, measuring 11 ft. 8
in. round the curved base from end to end. The straight back part is 6
ft. 3 in. across. The structure is formed by two rounded curved rims,
one on the other, the top one receding 4 in. from the face of the lower
one. The lower rim is 1 ft. high, and the upper one 8 in. The structure
is hollow to a depth of 9 in., and the interior extends evenly all
round to within 10 in. from the front upper face of the structure.

At 8 ft. 6 in. from the centre of the front of this structure, and
immediately due south behind it, is a granite cement cone in splendid
condition. This cone is 4 ft. 11 in. in circumference at base, and is
1 ft. 4 in. high. At 10 in. due east of the first cone is a smaller
one with a circumference at base of 2 ft. 4 in., and this is 6 in.
high. The semi-circular structure and the two cones are connected by a
flooring of the same excellent quality of cement, and are structurally

On following the cement floor towards the north-east it was found to
be decomposed by water and to have become like bright yellow clay. The
lowest part of the surface of the interior of the eastern end of this
temple is at this point, and from it rain-water could not escape. This
decomposed cement was swagged and depressed considerably by the damp,
but it was easily followed for 28 ft. 6 in. The granite cement floor
runs in all directions from the semi-circular structure, but in most
parts it is still solid, exceedingly hard, and in good condition.

At the 28 ft. 6 in. point and at 5 ft. below the filled-in surface
of the interior of the temple a cement cylinder was found. This is
beautifully rounded and has four bevelled bosses, equi-distant, on
its side. The cylinder was found upon a platform of the best cement
yet discovered at Zimbabwe. It has a diameter of 1 ft. 8 in., is 5
in. high, and has a circumference at the curved-in base of rounded
side of 4 ft. 2 in. The bosses or knobs, which are bevelled, project
outwards 1 in. The side is formed by three flat bevelled faces running
all round, the centre bevelled face projecting half an inch beyond
the others. The top is level, and the bottom part curves inwards at
its base. The cylinder is perfectly free of any damage and is without
the slightest scratch on its smooth surface. The workmanship is of
so excellent a character that it is still almost equal in design and
construction to any similar object that could be turned out at a
European workshop.

The cylinder stands on a platform at 3 ft. 6 in. from its front on west
side, the face of the platform being formed of two almost semi-circular
faces meeting and turning inwards some few inches eastwards towards the
cylinder. The platform is 1 ft. 1 in. high on the northern curve, the
southern extremity being well rounded off, while the northern extremity
runs into and under a bank of débris not yet cleared away.

The “finds” at the centre of the arc in this temple included the usual
unpleasing emblems of Nature Worship; a piece of forked iron, more
rust than iron, with six gold bosses the size of peas at equi-distant
points; these are riveted on the iron with corresponding gold bosses on
the opposite side, the rivets through the iron being of gold; a sheet
of beaten gold 3½ in. by 2¼ in., also some fragments of beaten gold and
gold tacks; fragments of soapstone bowls and beams, old pottery, some
peculiarly shaped natural stones, including serpentine stones, and an
Isafuba game stone.

The “finds” at the cylinder were three large black beads with white
lines possibly identical with a similar bead found by Bent on the
Acropolis, to which (p. 205) he ascribes a very great age; also under
the curved-in side of the cylinder were scratched out some fifty light
green beads with encircling ribs, and these both local Makalanga and
Barotse natives state are completely strange to them; some yellow and
green glass beads of microscopic size, the holes being scarcely visible
without the aid of a magnifying glass; a miniature phallus carved,
old pottery, and a small block of mica split up into sheets. In the
side of the trench on a clay floor 1 ft. above, and at the back of
the cylinder, is a stratum of ashes out of which a quantity of beaten
copper sheetings, copper tacks, a large copper battle-axe, and a very
thick copper bangle were drawn.

Above the cylinder were at least four floors with ashes on each, and
the remains of a furnace on two of them. Above the top floor were 3 ft.
of very hard soil, and 18 in. of black soil, and on the top were the
remains of a decayed tree, which must have been at least fifty or sixty
years old.

_Covered Passage._—This passage is at the eastern end of the temple, to
which it served as an approach from _The Platform_. It is 2 ft. wide,
6 ft. 6 in. high, has a rounded end on the north side, is 10 ft. long,
and the high wall over it is supported by five large slate lintels. The
passage opens out at the east end at the foot of _The Winding Stairs_.
In the passage the writer found (August, 1902) a Makalanga grave, and
with the permission of the local chief, the skeletal remains were
removed and re-interred elsewhere.

_Platform Cave._—This cave is immediately below _The Platform_, and
opens on to the floor of the temple. It is 8 ft. to 10 ft. high
throughout a length of 22 ft. At 11 ft. from the entrance the width
is 2 ft. 10 in., and at the innermost point 4 ft. 6 in., where it is
walled up with blocks. The cave is formed by an immense boulder on
the east side and by two large boulders on the west side. It had two
floors, the higher floor being 4 ft. above the lower one. The top
floor, which was of red clay, was obviously of Makalanga make, but the
lower one, which is made of granite cement, is believed to be of a late
ancient period. Probably a still more ancient flooring may be found
lower. On the top floor was a modern Makalanga grave, and the remains
were removed elsewhere and re-interred. On the lower floor some of the
fragments of the decorated soapstone found by Bent, and of which he
mentions what fragments were missing, were discovered by the writer
within a few feet of the spot where Bent found the larger portions of
this beam.

_Stairs to Platform._—The entrance to the _Platform Cave_ is narrowed
by the lower steps of a flight of stairs rising from the interior of
the temple over the two boulders, which form the northern side of
the cave, up to the upper flight of stairs on the north side of _The
Platform_. The steps are considerably ruined, but can be traced, the
stones being covered with a cement not believed to be ancient.

_Parallel Passage._—This passage extends from the point where the
_Higher Parapet_ enters the temple at its south-west corner, the south
wall of the temple forming its south side. The eastern extremity of
this passage is at the wide gap in the south wall. Its total length
is 71 ft. The walls on the north side vary in height from 5 ft. to 13
ft., according to the rise and fall of its floor. Its width varies
from 2 ft. to 3 ft. Half-way along are traces of steps, also at its
lowest point. This _Parallel Passage_ appears to be similar in purpose,
so far as can be surmised, to that of the _Parallel Passage_ in the
_Elliptical Temple_ in the valley.

_Internal walls._—These are five in number, so far as discoveries
have been made; and for the purposes of this description, and for the
assistance of visitors, are lettered A to E on boards affixed to the

_A._ This is the wall mentioned in the description of the main west
wall as being built up against the inner face of the main wall, and as
protruding 9 ft. into the temple in a south-easterly direction.

_B._ This is a small isolated section of a wall with broken ends, and
is 28 ft. south-west of the north wall, and 38 ft. from the west wall.
It is 4 ft. long, 2 ft. 6 in. wide, 4 ft. high, and its faced sides are
north-east and south-west.

_C._ A small isolated section of wall 38 ft. 6 in. from the north wall,
and 44 ft. from the west wall. It is 5 ft. high and 7 ft. wide, and
its ends are broken. Its faces are fairly well built, its foundations
rest on made ground, and red clay, not cement, can be seen on the
trench all round the wall.



_D._ A large wall stands at 9 ft. 6 in. from the west wall at a point
42 ft. north from the south end of that wall. It has an abrupt and
unfinished end facing south, from which end it rounds boldly towards
the east, where it appears to terminate in a bank of soil debris. The
quality of material and workmanship displayed in this wall are very
similar to those of the west wall. Its height is 9 ft. where it faces
the south, but where it faces west is a portion of wall 6 ft. high
erected on its summit, and this upper wall is 6 ft. long and 4 ft.
wide, being rounded at its end facing west. The sides of the upper and
lower walls are flush to each other.

_E._ At the foot of the boulder over which the north wall is carried
is a trench, and at a depth of 4 ft. below the present level of the
interior of the temple is a very strong cemented floor, on which stands
about 4 sq. ft. of the rounded end of a cement wall of most excellent
material and make. These are believed to be ancient, and if such be
the case, then no antiquity could be claimed for walls B and C, which
are built upon the filled-in soil of a higher level. The remains of a
rounded stone buttress are also to be seen in this trench. This trench
was sunk through the red clay of a Makalanga threshing-floor.

_Sections of floors._—Three sections of what are believed to be ancient
floors can be seen in the cutting at the angle formed by the north
and west walls. At 5 ft. below the present surface of the temple is
an ancient floor of strong yellow granite cement 1 ft. 4 in. thick;
above this is a red cement floor 1 ft. thick; above this is another red
cement floor 1 ft. 2 in. thick; while the top floor is made of ordinary
Makalanga clay. A red cement bed lies under the lowest floor.

                              CHAPTER XVI

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

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

                          PLATFORM ENCLOSURE

This enclosure is on the north side of the _Western Temple_, and
immediately at the foot of the stairs leading up the north-west side
of _The Platform_. The east side is 46 ft. long, and is formed by a
wall 19 ft. high and 7 ft. wide at 5 ft. above the present level of
the interior. The north wall is 33 ft. along its face, and including
a rounded corner at the north-east. It is 3 ft. wide at its present
reduced height, which averages from 2 ft. 6 in. to 5 ft. above the rock
floor. The north wall is built upon the edge of a high boulder, which
boulder forms the floor of the enclosure on its north side. From north
to north-west is an open space enclosed by a Makalanga-built wall which
is carried across and blocks up an ancient entrance. From north-west to
south the wall is 51 ft. long, and forms part of the north wall of the
_Western Temple_. It is 4 ft. 6 in. wide on its present reduced summit,
which is very dilapidated, its length including a wide gap. The extreme
south-eastern side is formed by the walls supporting the steps from
this enclosure to the summit of _The Platform_.

In the south-east corner of this enclosure is a passage leading into
the _Cleft Rock Enclosure_. This passage is 10 ft. long, the walls on
either side are 6 ft. in height, and the width varies from 2 ft. to
4 ft. 10 in. This passage was only discovered in July, 1902, when it
was found to contain a Makalanga grave apparently about twenty years
old. The remains were removed and re-interred at the right side of the
entrance to the _Cleft Rock Enclosure_. There were traces of steps in
this passage, but these had been destroyed by masses of falling débris.

On the east side and at 21 ft. from this passage is a large squared
entrance, also leading into _Cleft Rock Enclosure_. This appears
to be a reconstruction of an older entrance or a late construction
altogether, or possibly a new entrance through an old wall. The
entrance is 6 ft. high, 2 ft. 6 in. wide, 7 ft. long, and has squared
walls. Most probably this entrance was originally covered, for the
remains of slate lintels can be seen on either side in the wall above
it, and quantities of long pieces of fractured slate beams were found
on its floor.

The area of this enclosure is divided into different levels. The floor
on the south-west side for 28 ft. by 14 ft. is formed by the top of a
huge flat-topped boulder. The floor at the extreme north is also formed
by the top of a boulder. The middle portion between these two floors
consists of a depression of some 10 ft. to 14 ft. lower than the rock
floors on either side, the lowest portion being at the north-west end.

In this depression, and running from the north-west toward the squared
entrance in the east wall, is a deep and narrow passage, the wall of
which on the south-west side is the retaining wall for the higher floor
on that side. The north-east wall of the passage appears to have been
a Makalanga reconstruction of an ancient wall, especially as several
of the walls in the immediate vicinity are undoubtedly Makalanga, and
claimed by them as such, and, moreover, Makalanga articles were found
at the base of its foundation. Still, the wall is so dilapidated that
it is difficult to state one’s opinion as to its age. This passage runs
west for 72 ft. throughout the length of this enclosure, and passes
out on to the _Western Parapet_, which runs along the west base of the
west wall of the _Western Temple_. The width of the passage varies
from 2 ft. to 4 ft., and with side walls averaging in height 5 ft. to
14 ft. on the south side, and 4 ft. to 7 ft. on the north side. In
the description of the newly discovered _North-West Ancient Ascent_,
it will be seen that this passage forms an important section in that

At the south-east corner of the enclosure, and extending for 6 ft. from
the east wall, is a small wall of three different faces at different
levels all facing north. It was evidently intended to act as a buttress
to the steps from _The Platform_ down into the narrow passage between
the two side floors of this enclosure.

                         CLEFT ROCK ENCLOSURE

This enclosure lies to the east of the _Platform Enclosure_, and its
west wall is the same as forms the east wall of that enclosure. At all
other points its sides are formed by cliffs and large boulders rising
to the height of some 50 ft. and 60 ft. The west side is 46 ft. long,
and its north and south sides are about 86 ft. each in length, these
meeting at their extreme east.

_Cleft Rock_, which is so very often seen in photographs of the
Zimbabwe ruins, rises for about 25 ft. above the surface of the
enclosure on its north side and extends downwards for 15 ft. below it
on the outside. It is 3 ft. 10 in. to 4 ft. 6 in. wide throughout.
Possibly it was an ancient ascent from the _Rock Holes Walk_, as a
quantity of wall débris lies at its outside base.

All the divisional walls of the interior are undoubtedly of Makalanga
construction, and the local Makalanga claim them as having been made
early in the time of Mokomo, the previous Zimbabwe chief, whose
kraal occupied the north summit of this hill. This remark does not
apply to the buttresses on either side of the west entrance.



The enclosure is approached on the south-west by the recently opened
passage at the north foot of _The Platform_ steps, also on the west by
the squared entrance from the _Platform Enclosure_, and on the south
it is believed to have had an entrance through the _Buttress Passage_
(described later). The huge pile of stone-wall débris on the south
side was recently stacked here, having been removed from the _Platform
Enclosure_ and passage.

                             THE PLATFORM

This is an elevated position at the east corner of the _Western
Temple_, commanding a splendid view of the whole of the interior of
the temple and of the surrounding enclosures. It appears to have been
erected for the same purposes as were _The Platform_ in the _Elliptical
Temple_ in the valley, and the _Ancient Balcony_ in the _Eastern
Temple_ on the hill.

Its height is 27 ft. 6 in. above the present floor of the temple, and
about 32 ft. above any of its ancient floors. It is 250 ft. above the
level of the valley. The summit of _The Platform_ projects out towards
the west from the upper face of a huge boulder which forms the west end
of the cliffs and boulders which ridge along the summit of this hill.

A wall 2 ft. high and from 1 ft. 10 in. to 2 ft. 6 in. wide runs west
from the boulder at the back across the centre of _The Platform_ and
terminates in a rounded end overlooking the temple. On the east side of
this low wall is an embrasure 3 ft. wide, also overlooking the temple,
at the south end of which is a parapet wall now from 1 ft. to 3 ft.
high and 12 ft. long, also on the edge of the temple wall. This forms
the west side of the approach to _The Platform_ from the south, which
is further formed by the _Winding Stairs_.

On the north side of _The Platform_ is a flight of stairs, now
considerably ruined by roots of trees forcing out the steps. This
flight ascends from the granite rock floor of the _Platform Enclosure_
from between two rounded buttresses. Half-way up the steps pass between
two small, low walls, the space between them being 2 ft. These walls
are parallel for a few feet, but as the steps descend they round off
on each side away from the steps. This flight of stairs is the last
and highest section of the _North-West Ancient Ascent_ from the valley
where are the large water-holes or dongas (see _North-West Ancient

At the top of these steps and on the east side of _The Platform_ is the
celebrated _Dentelle Pattern_.

This ancient wall decoration is the sixth yet discovered in Rhodesia,
and until more is known of the similar pattern at Matendele Ruins, it
can be tentatively concluded that this pattern on _The Platform_ is by
far the best and the most complete specimen extant in Rhodesia.

Its present dimensions are 3 ft. 6 in. wide and 3 ft. 6 in. high,
and it consists of four columns of small, shallow blocks laid flat,
with corners outwards, and flush with each other, each block thus
showing two faces, the whole enclosed on top, bottom, and south sides
by an angular frame of large blocks. The north side of the frame has
disappeared. It is probable that this pattern once possessed a fifth
column of dentelle blocks, as the foundations, providing sufficient
space for another column, still remain, and there are more of these
small blocks lying in the débris below, each with two faces, generally
time-worn. This pattern faces west, but very slightly to the south of
west. In the summer of the Southern Hemisphere it exactly faces the
setting sun, the great slanting monolith then being between it and the
setting sun.

The other special features of _The Platform_ are the _Monoliths_.

Two tall and flat-faced granite monoliths are still standing on
_The Platform_, while one slate monolith lies prone on the south floor
of _The Platform_, with a few feet of its length projecting over the
temple wall. This last monolith is 10 ft. long, and at its centre part
is 2 ft. 2 in. in circumference. This monolith is intact.



The heights of the two standing monoliths are: the erect monolith 8 ft.
above _The Platform_, and the slanting monolith 11 ft. 6 in., and their
respective circumferences are 2 ft. 2 in. and 2 ft. 9 in. The one in
front of the _Dentelle Pattern_ slants considerably to due north.[60]
Its base, built into the wall, must be of great length to support the
enormous weight of this large and slanting slab of granite, especially
as this monolith had once been of greater length. The fracture on its
top can be seen from the summit of the boulder behind. The fractured
portion was found at the foot of the stairs, and this measures 3 ft.
2 in., thus making the exposed portion of the monolith not less than
14 ft. 8 in. in length. There is no evidence of the slanting of the
monolith having taken place since its erection.

                             BALCONY WALL

This is on the south side of _The Platform_, from which it is reached.
The top of this wall is level with the top of the _Winding Stairs_, and
it forms the western end of _East Passage_, and the eastern wall of
the _Western Temple_. It is 21 ft. long and from 4 ft. to 6 ft. wide.
Through it is the _Covered Passage_ (see _Western Temple_).

                           LITTLE ENCLOSURE

This can be seen from the _Balcony Wall_ between the southern end of
which and the _Upper Passage_ it lies. It is 8 ft. deep, 5 ft. wide,
and 11 ft. long. The entrance appears to have been at outside of the
south-western end of the _Upper Passage_. It is almost entirely filled
up with débris. It once had a granite cement dado 3 in. thick on its
sides, some of which still remain intact. It is from this enclosure
that the drain-hole on the west side of the _Upper Passage_ emerges.

                          THE WINDING STAIRS

These lead from _The Platform_ to the _East Passage_, which again leads
to the eastern extremity of the _Acropolis Ruins_. The stairs are 14
ft. long, and descend 8 ft., and are 4 ft. to 6 ft. wide. The wall on
the south side is 4 ft. to 7 ft. high as the stairs descend. The wall
at the east end is 7 ft. high. The face of a huge boulder forms the
north side. The foot of the stairs, where they turn towards the south,
is covered by a narrow wall supported by an old wooden beam. This beam
is not ancient, but the old Makalanga who occupied these ruins may have
inserted it to make the stairs safer to use. Fragments of slate lintel
were found in the débris at the foot of the stairs.

                             UPPER PASSAGE

This passage, which is 28 ft. long, connects the bottom of the _Winding
Stairs_ and the south side of the interior of the _Western Temple_. On
the east side the wall is from 4 ft. 6 in. to 6 ft. high, and 5 ft.
to 10 ft. on the west side. It is 3 ft. 6 in. wide throughout. It is
approached at the northern end between buttresses, the one on the west
side being round, while the one on the eastern side is rounded on the
inner side and angular on the outer side. On the west side are the
remains of a drain emerging from the _Little Enclosure_ and a fragment
of the slate beam which once carried the wall across it is still to
be seen in the hole. This passage, though at the foot of the _Winding
Stairs_, is some 8 ft. higher than the present floor of the _Western

                             EAST PASSAGE

This passage is 80 ft. long from the foot of the _Winding Stairs_ to
the north side of _South Enclosure C_. At the foot of the _Winding
Stairs_ the passage-way turns east, the north side for 13 ft. being
a large rounded buttress 6 ft. high. On the south side at this point
is the eastern end of the _Covered Passage_ leading up from the floor
of the _Western Temple_, and a few feet further east is the northern
entrance to the _Upper Passage_.



From the 14 ft. length to the 31 ft. length of the passage going east
are remains—only very ruined—of cement steps descending to a lower
level. On the south side of this passage are _South Enclosure A_,
_South Passage_, and _South Enclosures B and C_. The north side is
formed by high, cliff-like boulders. The _Buttress Passage_ starts
north at the north side of the 51 ft. length going east. At the
entrance to _Buttress Passage_ a tree has lifted up a granite block 6
ft. from the ground. It is firmly fixed in the bark of the tree.

                           BUTTRESS PASSAGE

This passage runs north and south for 39 ft. between two gigantic
cliff-boulders on the summit of the hill. This passage connected the
enclosures on the north and south sides of the cliff. The rocks on
either side of the passage at its bottom and south end are 50 ft. high
on the east side, and 35 ft. high on the west side, and at the upper or
north end are from 15 ft. to 20 ft. high. The path ascends throughout
its length, and its upper end is 14 ft. above the lower end. The width
between the rocks varies from 4 ft. to 6 ft., but the top exit of the
path goes between rocks only 3 ft. apart.

The floor between the two cliffs is artificially made, and near the
summit it has crowned in, and this crowning-in now bars the ascent to
the _Cleft Rock Enclosure_, to which it formed an entrance from the

The passage has been considerably narrowed by buttresses alternating on
either side, these making the passage a true zigzag. The first buttress
at the south end and on the west side is much reduced in height, being
now but 1 ft. 6 in. This buttress is angular, and protrudes 2 ft. On
the east side is a long rounded buttress, which leaves the passage 2
ft. wide between it and the first buttress. This second buttress is 4
ft. high, 7 ft. long, and protrudes 4 ft., the width of the passage
between it and the opposite cliff being 1 ft. 3 in. The third buttress
is 17 ft. from the south end of the passage; it is angular, and
projects from the west side 2 ft., and is now only 2 ft. 6 in. high.
The fourth buttress is angular on the bottom side and rounded on the
top side. This projects 3 ft. 6 in. from the west side, and is 5 ft.
high. Between the third and fourth buttresses the passage is 2 ft.
wide. Above the fourth buttress the floor has crowned in, and on the
upper side of the crowning-in is a wall 5 ft. high built across the
passage. Judging by block débris, this wall, the summit of which is
level with the floor of the _Cleft Rock Enclosure_, was once surmounted
by steps.

                           SOUTH ENCLOSURE A

This enclosure is 51 ft. long from east to west, and is 25 ft. wide at
its broadest point. Its shape is that of a long, narrow triangle, the
apex resting at its south-east end. Most of the south wall has fallen
over the edge of the precipice. There are two rounded entrances on the
north side from the _East Passage_. The walls remaining are from 5 ft.
to 7 ft. high. There is a drain-hole through the south wall at the
south-east corner. The _South Passage_ forms the eastern side. On the
west side is a narrow recess between two boulders, and this appears to
have been roofed over with slate and granite lintels, but the recess is
now blocked up by wall débris. This enclosure appears to have been once
divided into two enclosures, as a broken wall, 5 ft. long, 3 ft. high,
and 3 ft. 6 in. wide, juts out into the interior from the east side.

                              SOUTH CAVE

This “cave” hardly deserves the name of cave, but as previous writers
gave it this designation the title is retained in this description.

The cave is situated immediately under _South Enclosure A_, and it
opens on to the actual brink of the south precipice, being approached
from both west and east sides by a path built along the top slope of
the precipice. It is formed by a large boulder 16 ft. high and 17 ft.
long, and is between this boulder and the top of the precipice, the
floor being the natural rock of the declivity. It recedes but 3 ft.
to 6 ft. under the boulder and is 7 ft. wide. It is 5 ft. high on the
outside and only 1 ft. 6 in. to 2 ft. at its innermost part. It has
been thoroughly cleaned out, but nothing of any antiquarian value was
found. The boulder beetles outwards towards the face of the precipice.

Immediately in front of this cave and on the south side and at 4 ft.
distance a wall averaging 8 ft. in height runs for 37 ft. towards the
west. The boulder which forms the cave beetles outwards over this wall,
and judging by the block débris, the wall was once continued up to, and
connected with, the rock above. This wall at its western extremity has
a well-built rounded end in a good state of preservation.

On the north side and starting at 10 ft. from the cave and running
west for 46 ft. is a wall 8 ft. high with a rounded end at its eastern
extremity. It starts from the face of the boulder forming the cave, and
is continued until it reaches the interior of the _Western Temple_.

These two walls form a passage averaging a width of 4 ft., though at
the end of the south wall it narrows to 2 ft. 6 in. In the passage are
traces of granite cement steps. This passage on entering the _Western
Temple_ is directly end on with the _Parallel Passage_, which is on the
inside of the main south wall and is separated from it only by the gap
in the outer wall, the main wall having at this point fallen down the
precipice and taken with it the side wall of the passage from the cave.
It is almost certain that this passage was but the extension of the
_Parallel Passage_.

On the eastern side of the cave is a built-up space between the boulder
forming the cave and another boulder further east which beetles
parallel to the precipice for 13 ft. This wall is 10 ft. high and is 6
ft. across.

The path to the east passes under this outer and beetling boulder,
and between the outer side of _South Enclosure A_ and the edge of the
precipice, but here it is so much dilapidated by wall débris falling
from above, that the safer approach to the cave is from the _Western

On the summits of these two large boulders are traces of a substantial
wall once having been carried across them.

                             SOUTH PASSAGE

This passage is almost opposite the south end of _Buttress Passage_
and leads from the _East Passage_ to the edge of the south precipice,
dividing _South Enclosures A and B_. It is 38 ft. long, from 1 ft. 6
in. to 2 ft. wide, and at each extremity has rounded ends on either
side. The wall on the east side averages 3 ft. to 7 ft. in height, the
highest being at the southern end. The wall on the west side averages 7
ft. to 12 ft. in height.

The existence of this passage was, until July, 1902, unsuspected, as it
had been filled up and entirely covered over with wall débris, across
which was the visitors’ path, which crossed the débris at 7 ft. above
the present exposed floor.

                           SOUTH ENCLOSURE B

This enclosure is on the east side of _South Passage_, and overlooks
the south precipice. Its area is 37 ft. from east to west, and 31 ft.
from north to south. The wall on the north side is 16 ft. high, and 4
ft. 6 in. wide at 5 ft. from the floor, and is the best-built portion
now remaining. It has three rounded entrances, one from _South Passage_
and two from _East Passage_. Low walls of poor construction subdivide
the enclosure into three compartments, but some portions of these walls
are not believed to be ancient.

                           SOUTH ENCLOSURE C

This is on the north-east side of _South Enclosure B_, but on a level
of some 6 ft. higher. The area is 41 ft. from east to west, and 19 ft.
from north to south. The eastern wall curves outwards, and is 9 ft.
high. The north side is formed by a large boulder, the west side by a
raised parapet which is the eastern extremity of _East Passage_. There
is one entrance only, and this is in the south-western corner. Here the
south wall is very well built. A wall 3 ft. 6 in. high and 9 ft. long
juts out southwards from the boulder on the north side.

                            CENTRAL PASSAGE

This passage connects _Cleft Rock Enclosure_ and the _Eastern Temple_
and forms the most direct communication between the western and
eastern extremities of the _Acropolis_. This passage is practically
the north-east extension of _Pattern Passage_, the two joining end on
at the west entrance to the _Eastern Temple_. Cliffs and huge boulders
form the main portion of its sides.

Its length is 76 ft., and its width varies from 3 ft. to 4 ft. 6 in.
There is a sharp rise of 6 ft. going west, at about half-way along its

At the eastern end it lies between two large boulders, the one on the
north side being 12 ft. long and 10 ft. high. This boulder has fallen
from the position it occupied at the time of the ancients, and is come
6 ft. further south, destroying and blocking up the west entrance to
the _Eastern Temple_. The boulder on the south side is 8 ft. long and
14 ft. high, and up against it, and projecting into the passage, was
once a rounded buttress, traces of which now only remain.

At 22 ft. going west is another large boulder, which forms the south
side of the passage for a further 24 ft. This rock beetles right over
the passage, and the open space under the boulder has been carefully
walled up. At 48 ft. the south side is formed for a further 14 ft. by a
low wall, in which are enclosed two boulders. On this side wall are the
remains of a path leading from the passage to _South Enclosure C_, but
a portion of this has crowned in and disappeared.

The north side of the passage from its eastern end is formed by the
boulder, 12 ft. long, just described, and for a further 35 ft. by a
step-back wall 8 ft. high, along the summit of which was a path with
steps leading into the _Eastern Temple_, but now blocked up by large
scales of granite which have fallen from the face of the cliff above.

The western extremity of this passage is formed by two boulders, one
on either side, the one on the south side leaning up against the one
on the north side, thus forming a natural arch 14 ft. long and 10 ft.
high, the path descending about 4 ft. in passing through the archway,
and rising sharply again where it emerges on the opposite end of the
archway into _Cleft Rock Enclosure_, and runs for 27 ft. further west
into the enclosure, where it ends on the south side in a rounded wall
5 ft. high. Large rocks form the north side. In the archway and on the
south side under the boulder is a rock hole 5 ft. broad, 4 ft. deep,
extending under the base of the boulder for 6 ft.

In the passage are traces of steps, but the passage has been greatly
damaged by falls of large slabs from the cliffs.

                             CHAPTER XVII

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

  Eastern Temple—Ancient Balcony—Balcony Enclosure—Balcony
      Cave—Gold Furnace Enclosure—Upper Gold Furnace
      Enclosure—Pattern Passage—Recess Enclosure—North Plateau—North

                          THE EASTERN TEMPLE

This temple is situated at the most easterly part of Zimbabwe Hill
Ruins, on the south side of the line of high cliffs and gigantic
boulders which extend from the east to the west along the summit of the
hill. The centre of the present surface of the interior of this temple
is 222 ft. above the valley.

The main wall is built on a wide curve towards the east extending 98
ft. from the south face of the cliff on the north side round to the
south side, thus disposing the area in a quarter section of a circle
with the apex of the section at the north-north-west of the interior.

A cliff rising perpendicularly for 70 ft. from the floor of the temple
forms the north side of the area, and the west side is formed by
colossal boulders some 30 ft. to 50 ft. in height. The heights and the
massiveness of the cliff and boulders lend a peculiar awe-inspiring
appearance to this temple. These granite rocks, tapestried by Nature
in all possible colours and shades of lichen, enclose two sides of
the interior in the form of an amphitheatre, with the highest portion
of the temple floor at the north end, the present surface gradually
sloping down in a fall of 12 ft. towards the curved main and outer
wall to its east and south-eastern points. On the highest part of this
slope are two well-built retaining walls forming terraces behind them.
These are described later.

This temple is considerably better built than is the _Western Temple_
on this hill. The blocks in the walls are more carefully selected and
fit together more perfectly, are of a better class of granite, and the
courses are truer, while it would appear from the extent of purely
artistic detail and finish introduced by the original builders that far
greater skill was bestowed upon its construction than on that of the
_Western Temple_.


Section of EASTERN TEMPLE Acropolis, Zimbabwe.]

Both temples are built strictly upon the lines of the First Period of
Zimbabwe architecture, all of the features of the Second Period being
altogether absent. Certainly some of the cement work of the higher
floors appears to be ancient, but not of the period of the original
builders, and it is possible that the Second Period ancients occupied
the buildings, and finding them in such excellent condition, had no
need to make repairs or extensions to the walls as they did in so many
scores of First Period ruins throughout the country. The floors of the
original builders of this temple have been opened out by a trench and
exposed at a minimum depth of 4 ft. below the latest floor.

Bent and other writers have stated that this temple is orientated to
the rising of the sun, which can be seen on a level and fairly distant
horizon. The temple obviously affords a splendid natural means for
observing the meridian.

On midwinter day (1902), in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun rose
facing the eastern end of the main wall, and shone on the line of
_Dentelle Pattern_, and also for an hour afterwards shone on the
inside of the south-western end of the wall, and also on that of the
floor. At the end of that time, and until 10.30 a.m., the sun did not
shine on the temple, but only on the inside face of the summit of the
south-west end of the curved main wall, the sun being hidden by the
70-ft. cliff on the north side of the interior. At 11 a.m. it shone
over the cliff on to the south-western side of the interior. Half an
hour before midday the sun shone on the inside of the southern wall and
on the south floor from over the cliff, and also in a single narrow
bar across the floor of the building through the north entrance to the
temple, which is formed by a long and narrow passage between the high
cliffs and some gigantic boulders. The sun shone through this narrow
opening till about half an hour after midday, when the sun had passed
the face of this narrow entrance, and only shone on the south-west and
north-west portions of the interior from over the _Ancient Balcony_,
which is much lower than the cliff, till a little after one o’clock,
the sun then ceasing to shine on the interior for the rest of the day.
At the spot where the line from the point of sunrise at the summer
solstice cuts the midday beam of light which comes through the cliff
entrance on the north, is the site of the ancient altar as determined
by Bent, the site being true south of the north passage. It was at
this spot that Bent found the pottery and soapstone solar discs, the
decorated and plain phalli, the soapstone birds, carved beams, and
decorated bowls resembling Phœnician ware. The writer’s examination
of this spot was rewarded by “finds” of carved soapstone in great

[Illustration: Plan of EASTERN TEMPLE Acropolis, Zimbabwe ]

So obviously noticeable is the beam of light at midday that as the sun
quickly passed the end of the long and narrow rock passage the natives
working for the writer fixed their noon “_Tjiya!_” (“Cease work!”) by
it, and this they did on their own initiative.

Another feature may be noticed. A small circle of sunlight, about 2 ft.
diameter, crosses the floor of the temple in a course equal to about a
fifth part of the radius of a circle from the entrance to the _Balcony
Enclosure_ across the floor where Bent fixes the site of the ancient
altar and passes over the eastern wall. This must have been observed by
the ancients, for it is caused by a small opening between two boulders
which they have utilised in “forming” the _Ancient Balcony_. At 3 p.m.
this circle of light in the sunless interior, on the same day, rested
on the spot at which, according to Bent, the ancient altar stood.

On Midsummer Day, 1903, the whole temple area was flooded with sunlight
at noontide.

These particulars are given merely as matters of interest to the
general reader, and scientists are referred to _The Ruined Cities of
Mashonaland_, by Bent, for his calculations as to the orientation of
this temple. Bent has given his opinion, based upon survey, that this
temple was used for observing the summer solstice.

Two points, however, which may bear upon the orientation of this
building and its use in the observation of sunrise and meridian may be

(_a_) No other temple which has been surveyed by scientists for the
purpose of ascertaining its orientation, whether at Zimbabwe or
elsewhere in Rhodesia, was so plentifully adorned with monoliths of
carved slate or soapstone as was this temple, no less than thirty
fallen monoliths, and the fractured portions of many others, having
been found at the bases of the walls both inside and outside, while
the débris heaps, which have only been very partially searched, must
yet contain other specimens. No other temple, so far discovered, had
such a profusion of geometrically carved soapstone beams as were
unearthed by Bent and by other explorers before him. This would appear
to still further testify to the importance the ancients attached to the
decoration of this temple, whether used for observing the seasons of
the year and astronomical occurrences or not.

(_b_) The position of the _Dentelle Pattern_ in two courses on the
eastern face of the summit of the main wall is fixed on exactly the
same plan as is shown in so many other ruins of temple buildings in
Rhodesia (and the discovery of the ancient emblems of faith have so
far only been made in buildings so decorated, on identical positions,
with one of the three oldest patterns, namely, Dentelle, Chevron, or
Herring-bone), and as this is so unmistakably seen in the case of
numerous other ruins of similar buildings, the position of the pattern
in this instance can hardly be a mere coincidence.

The _Dentelle Pattern_, which forms a distinguishing feature at the
Zimbabwe ruins both on the hill and in the valley, and which is only
found in First Period buildings, is, in this instance, believed to
have originally extended some 30 ft. further towards the south-west,
as a trace of it still remains on the highest remaining portion of
the 39 ft. length of the main wall. The pattern throughout the 24 ft.
length of main wall is somewhat damaged at several points, and the rows
of stones which in all instances elsewhere covered this pattern have
almost disappeared.

The interior measurements of this temple are as follows: 59 ft. 6 in.
from north to south, the northern point for measurement being the
large roughly built step at the south end of the _North Passage_;
66 ft. from south-east to north-west, the north-west point for
measurement being the step at the bottom of the stairs leading from
the temple to _Balcony Enclosure_; and 50 ft. from west-south-west to

The main wall is 98 ft. long, measuring along its inside face, and
starts on the eastern side from the south face of the cliff for 10 ft.
to the rounded entrance to the _Gold Furnace Enclosure_. This 10 ft.
length of wall is 8 ft. higher than the interior floor at the cliff
end, and is 5 ft. high at the entrance. The entrance is 3 ft. wide at
the present top and 2 ft. on its floor. From the rounded entrance
the wall runs facing east-south-east for 24 ft. This section of the
main wall stands 8 ft. above the present level of the interior, but 12
ft. 6 in. from an ancient floor exposed in a trench sunk some 4 ft. 6
in. into the present floor. At the south end of this length there is
a gap in the wall of 22 ft., the wall which remains rising only 6 in.
above the present surface of the lowest part of the temple. The wall
starts again at the south end of the gap, and runs for 39 ft. towards
the south-south-west. The highest portion of this length is 11 ft. 3
in. above the ancient floor as exposed in the trench cut along the
interior face of the main wall, the south-western end of the wall being
only 4 ft. higher than the _Western Entrance_, which has been raised at
a later period 5 ft. 6 in. above the original floor of the entrance.



The widths of the main wall are as follows:—

The 10 ft. length is 7 ft. wide at the present floor, but was probably
wider, as its eastern face has fallen out into the _Gold Furnace
Enclosure_, which is immediately below. The angle between the east
outside face and the cliff was filled in by a rounded buttress, which
has also collapsed and fallen into the enclosure below.

The 24 ft. length is 4 ft. 7 in. wide on the present summit. At 12 ft.
south of the _Eastern Entrance_, an inner or banquette wall runs along
the inside of the main wall, and stands out 2 ft. at its north end, 7
ft. at south end, till it narrows into and becomes part of the main
wall at the _Western Entrance_.

The 22 ft. length is 5 ft. wide at the bottom of the gap, with a
further width of 3 ft. 6 in., which includes that of the banquette wall.

The 39 ft. length of main wall is 5 ft. wide on the summit, and this
with the width of the banquette wall, which at this point is 5 ft. 6
in. wide, makes a total width of 10 ft. 6 in.

The heights of the main wall from the outer bases are as follows:—

The 10 ft. length is 24 ft. above its base, and this, with the 24
ft. length of main wall, forms the western side of the _Gold Furnace

The 24 ft. length is 25 ft. high, and is divided into two depths, one
below the other, 11 ft. and 14 ft., the 11 ft. being the wall and the
14 ft. being a long buttress which starts at 9 ft. from the south side
of the 22 ft. gap and runs to the cliff. The main wall, however, is
continued down to the base of the buttress which is built up against
it. This buttress forms a terraced passage, and was probably the way
the ancients passed from the _Eastern Temple_ to the _Gold Furnace
Enclosure_ below by means of a natural bridge formed by a long and
narrow boulder, the west end of which is built into the buttress, down
the north side of which is a narrow descent with a few block steps
still remaining.

The 39 ft. length is 22 ft. higher than the débris at its outer base,
it is 17 ft. higher than the débris at the centre of the main wall,
and 11 ft. at the steps which lead up from _Pattern Passage_ to the
_Western Entrance_ of the _Eastern Temple_.

On the top of the south banquette wall were most probably steps leading
up to within 2 ft. or 3 ft. of the summit of the wall as if for a
look-out. A rounded buttress stands out 2 ft. 6 in. from the main wall,
and between it and the inner edge of the banquette wall are some blocks
which, though displaced, have fallen in such a way as to provide very
strong grounds for this conjecture.

The _Eastern Entrance_ has a pair of buttresses on a semi-circular
platform projecting 7 ft. into the temple area, the faces of the
buttresses being rounded and flush with the outside edge of this
platform. The buttress on the north-east side is 3 ft., and judging by
débris, it was once at least 7 ft. high. The opposite buttress is now
only 1 ft. 6 in. high. (For measurements of this entrance, see _Main

Between the south buttress and the banquette wall which runs southwards
along the inside of the wall is another raised platform or “blind
steps,” but very ruined and projecting now only 2 ft. from the main
wall. Among the loose stones on the top of this small platform, which
is 6 ft. long, Bent found one of the soapstone birds which has a
_cystos_, with sections of a carved soapstone beam, all of which are
now in the museum at Capetown.

At the north side of this entrance is a wall 15 ft. long reaching
from the entrance to an angular point in the north cliff. This space
so enclosed was built up inside in the form of steps, or blind steps,
for they led nowhere, resembling the blind steps in _Nos. 7, 9, and 12
Enclosures_, and in the _Sacred Enclosure_ (_west_) in the _Elliptical
Temple_ in the valley. The face of a small buttress protrudes some 18
in. from the face of this wall at about midway. Possibly this may have
been the lowest step of the blind steps built up in this corner. In
1888 this raised platform had on its summit a soapstone bird and beams.
In 1903 two phalli and sections of four soapstone beams were found
here, also small gold beads on and near this platform.

The _North Entrance_ is a narrow and deep rock passage 23 ft. long.
The east side is formed by the north-west end of the north cliff, and
is 45 ft. higher than the floor of the passage, but it beetles over
the passage for 6 ft. beyond its north-western side, and so forms,
with the immense boulders on the north-west side, an almost complete
archway right over the passage. The passage is from 2 ft. to 7 ft. 10
in. wide, but with rounded buttresses, the foundations and débris of
which still remain, and also with a boulder that almost blocks the
passage; the width of the passage throughout its whole length could not
have been more than 2 ft. before the buttresses had become dilapidated.
The passage emerges at its north end on the _North Plateau_ (described

The _West Entrance_ is formed by the rounded end of the western
extremity of the main wall and a large boulder between which it passes.
On its present floor it is only 1 ft. 10 in. wide, the wall side having
some six courses of blocks exposed. The boulder on the north side has
moved some 2 ft. into the entrance since the wall was built, and so
partially closed it up, for originally the floor of the entrance was
fully 5 ft. lower, and passed into the temple without steps. This was
discovered to be the case when the upper portion of _Pattern Passage_
was cleared out (July, 1902), when steps were made over the entrance
débris to enable visitors to pass from _Pattern Passage_ into the

The remains of another raised platform—but this one of granite
cement—are on the west side of the interior immediately on the
left-hand side on entering the temple at the west entrance. This
platform is now ruined owing to its having been trodden on by oxen when
this temple was used as a cattle kraal. In 1888 three large soapstone
birds on tall beams stood on this platform, but in 1890 were removed by
Bent, and are now in the museum at Capetown. The holes in the cement
made by Bent on digging out the bases of the beams can still be seen.

From 6 ft. north of this last-mentioned platform is some semi-circular
clay-work rising in three tiers. Possibly these were steps leading up
to the highest terraced level of the interior, but it may be doubted
whether they had any claim to antiquity.

_Sunken Passage._—This passage runs from south-west to north-east under
the present floor of the Eastern Temple for 23 ft., starting from
inside the banquette wall at 8 ft. east of the west entrance. Its depth
is 9 ft. below the surface of interior of temple, but its side walls
are only 7 ft. high. It is 4 ft. wide at the south end and 6 ft. wide
at the north. At north-east end is a rounded buttress 5 ft. high. No
approach or steps down into the passage have so far been discovered.
The passage terminates at the large buttress (already mentioned), the
summit of which is 4 ft. below the surface, is situated within 3 ft.
and immediately in front of Bent’s “altar.” The east side wall of the
passage is better built than the west side.

_Bent’s “altar.”_—This “altar” was stated by Bent to be 10 ft. nearer
to the rising sun at the solstice than the centre of the arc of the
curved, massive, and decorated main wall. Surveyors having located
this spot, examinations were made in 1903, with the result that some
twenty-five phalli, also some sections of phalli, and of carved
portions of soapstone beams and bowls, were found within 3 ft. of this
spot on two sides, and all within a few minutes of each other. This is
by far the largest “find” of phalli ever made at Zimbabwe. At this spot
Bent also made his largest “find” of phalli, solar discs, and other
relics. The large soapstone birds were found 3 ft. or 4 ft. further
south-west of the “altar.” Messrs. Posselt, who resided and farmed at
Zimbabwe in 1888 and before the Occupation, wished to remove these
birds, but the previous Mogabe (Chipfuno) refused his consent.

_Internal walls._—On the north side of the interior of this temple is
a wall acting as a retaining wall, with filled-in ground behind it
forming a terrace. This upper terrace is at the highest point of the
floor of the temple, and is 16 ft. long, 4 ft. high, and 2 ft. 6 in. on
the summit. Judging by the amount of débris, this terrace had in all
probability a parapet wall along its summit. The wall runs from N. 25°
E. to S. 20° W., and starts from the south side of a huge boulder at 16
ft. north-west of the _North Entrance_.

On the south-west side and at the north-west end of the interior of the
temple, and corresponding with the first terraced wall just described,
is another terrace wall 12 ft. long and 3 ft. high, running eastwards
from the south side of the cliff which forms the north-west side of
the temple and the south-west side of the passage which runs from the
_Cleft Rock Enclosure_ to this temple. The two corresponding terraces
form a junction with an abutment wall projecting south-east for 2 ft. 6
in. This projection is 2 ft. high and 5 ft. 6 in. wide.

Immediately in front of this projection on the south-east side and
sloping down for some distance towards the lower part of the temple is
some cement work, which, though old, does not appear to be ancient, for
it contains splinters of time-worn monoliths which show signs of having
once stood upon one of the walls. The purpose of this cement projection
is not clearly seen, for tree roots have easily passed through such
rough cement and have torn it out of all shape, besides which it has
become decomposed and soft.

Between the angle formed by this last-described terraced wall and the
projection just mentioned is a very rudely cemented floor also much
decomposed. The few steps leading up from the flooring at this point
towards the path to the _Cleft Rock Enclosure_ are quite modern, having
been built by the writer to enable visitors to pass over the débris of
a large rounded buttress which once stood against the north-west side
of the nearest boulder. From the top of this débris pile steps of an
ancient character, and more or less defined, continue up the slope at
the foot of the south side of the cliff where runs a path towards the
_Cleft Rock Enclosure_.

A second and lower terrace is 4 ft. long and 4 ft. high, and is carried
on a red cement foundation 18 in. thick. It terminates abruptly on the
south-west extremity in a broken end. This wall juts out from the south
side of the north cliff at 15 ft. east of the _North Entrance_, and
runs south-west. Immediately behind this wall is a second wall running
parallel with it, the face of the second or back wall actually touching
the back of the front wall. This back wall runs south-west for 5 ft.
beyond the end of the front wall, where it also terminates in a broken
end. It is 3 ft. high, but in all probability it was once much higher.

The _Balcony Enclosure_, which is at the north-west end of the temple
and is described later, provided another entrance to this temple, the
_Balcony Enclosure_ being approached from the west and north sides
respectively by the passage through the _Balcony Cave_ and the ascent
from _Rock Holes Path_.

The _Ancient Balcony_ is at the north-west end of the temple, the whole
interior of which it overlooks, and appears to have acted for this
temple in the same manner and for the same purposes as _The Platform_
of the _Western Temple_ and _The Platform_ in the _Elliptical Temple_
in the valley. This _Ancient Balcony_ is described later.

The interior of this temple has been used by the past and present
Makalanga as a cattle kraal, and very possibly the cattle have trodden
any cement work out of shape. It was found to be covered with a thick
stratum of cattle manure, which again was covered by wall débris, and
still further by a foot depth of rich vegetable mould thickly matted
with roots of creepers, shrubs, and trees.

                          THE ANCIENT BALCONY

At the north-west end of the _Eastern Temple_, and at the highest point
of the interior and immediately behind the higher of the terraced walls
before described, fourteen steps, eight of granite cement and six of
blocks, lead for 26 ft. in a north-westerly direction up a passage-way
formed on the south side by a cliff, and on the north side by two large
boulders. Each step is 5 in. high and extends back 18 in. The ascending
passage is 7 ft. wide at its lowest part, and narrows to a creep-hole
between the cliff and the upper of the two large boulders to just the
size that will permit of a man passing through by stooping.

Over this passage are two colossal boulders, held up in a horizontal
position by the cliff, the level top of the southernmost being 26 ft.
above the bottom of the steps, which are exactly underneath. The steps
are laid on cement, and probably are of a late period, at any rate
there is evidence that they have been very considerably repaired.

Immediately facing the top of the steps, and 4 ft. above the
creep-hole, is a rounded buttress projecting from the side of the
cliff, and measuring 15 ft. in circumference. The highest part faces
east, and is still 9 ft. 6 in. in height, while the north-west side is
considerably dilapidated.

This passage is the approach to the _Ancient Balcony_ and _Balcony
Enclosure_. Following up the passage, and turning to the right at the
top, one ascends a bank with traces of steps between the boulder which
forms the creep-hole, and a wall on the north, and arrives on the

The _Balcony_ is formed by the level and parallel tops of the
horizontal boulders, and is 39 ft. long, and at its widest part 12 ft.
10 in. On the south-east side is a parapet wall from 1 to 3 ft. present
reduced height, and 2 ft. 6 in. wide.

The _Balcony_ is 248 ft. above the valley, and commands a most
extensive view to the south-east, including the _Elliptical Temple_ in
the valley, and the _Schlichter Gorge_, which extends into a sea of
romantically shaped summits of kopjes and blue distances. The _Balcony_
commands a complete view of the whole of the interior of the _Eastern

                           BALCONY ENCLOSURE

The length of this enclosure from north to south is 51 ft., and the
average width from 15 ft. to 20 ft., the whole of the sides being
formed by cliff and boulders, except on the north side, where a space
between two large boulders has been built up by the ancients. This wall
is 9 ft. long and 11 ft. high.

The wall extending from the north-east corner of the _Balcony_, and
on the north side, except for one short length, is not ancient. Local
Makalanga state their people of some two or three generations back
re-erected the wall on the old foundation. This is obviously the fact.
But an entrance from the _North Plateau_ was once at this point, and
led down steps on the outside, going west between two large boulders
zigzag downwards to the _Rock Holes Path_.

                             BALCONY CAVE

At the west end of this enclosure is a steep descent of 36 ft. between
two boulders into _Balcony Cave_ formed by a cliff, the east face of
which beetles over the descent. The cave is 19 ft. wide at the bottom
and is very much filled in with wall débris, silted soil, and large
scales of granite off the face of the overhanging rock. This cave
formed an entrance into the _Balcony Enclosure_ from the _Rock Holes
Path_, which runs along the north-west face of the cliff, only on a
very much lower level. A wall 18 ft. high starts from the bottom of the
cave and is built across it on the north side, running west to east.
This wall is partly rounded on the upper portion. At 7 ft. from the
ground the lower part of this wall has collapsed and blocked up the
exit. Another wall 8 ft. long and 6 ft. high and in two rising tiers
crosses from side to side at a higher level. Two almost perfectly
shaped monoliths, very much weather-worn, were found among the débris
in this cave.

                        GOLD FURNACE ENCLOSURE

This enclosure is 12 ft. lower than the _Eastern Temple_, the outer
face of the eastern main wall for 15 ft. forming its west side. On all
other sides it is surrounded by cliff and boulders, a continuation of
the north cliff of the _Eastern Temple_ forming its north side. The
area is 46 ft. from west to east, and 32 ft. from north to south. At
the south-west corner is a chasm 14 ft. long, 2 ft. to 5 ft. wide,
and 11 ft. high running between the front base of the temple wall
and the west end of the huge boulder, 44 ft. long, which forms the
southern side of the enclosure. The chasm leads out of the enclosure
to the south side of the outer wall of the temple. It was once much
larger, but owing to silting in of soil and débris, and the falling
of decomposed slabs of granite from its roof, it has become narrowed
and shallowed. Along the buttress which forms the lower part of the
east front of the temple wall was a path from the east entrance of
the temple to the top of the chasm, which was further arched with
granite slabs making a wider bridge, and this led to the floor of
this enclosure by means of steps which ran down the north face of the
boulder on the south-west side of the enclosure.

It was in this enclosure that Bent believed he had discovered ancient
gold furnaces. At the south-east corner is an open space 9 ft. wide,
which once had a rounded buttress on either side. Beyond this point the
ground falls rapidly to the south towards the edge of the precipice.
Under the cliff are holes hardly deep enough to be termed caves, and
these have been reduced in size by the silting in of soil.


This is situated at the north-east corner of the _Gold Furnace
Enclosure_, but on a level of 4 ft. higher. Separating the two
enclosures is a well-built wall 10 ft. long with a rounded entrance in
the centre.

The greatest width of this enclosure is 9 ft. at the entrance, and its
length is 44 ft., but it is very narrow except for about 12 ft. in the
middle of the length. The south end runs between and under boulders,
while the north end includes a cave under the continuation of the cliff
which forms the north sides of the _Eastern Temple_ and the _Gold
Furnace Enclosure_. This cave has also been reduced in size by the
filling in of débris and soil.

                            PATTERN PASSAGE

This passage runs for 51 ft. along the outside of the south and
south-west portion of the curved main wall of the _Eastern Temple_.
In the south-west portion the passage is 2 ft. wide, and formerly its
floor throughout this section was level with that of the present floor
of _Recess Enclosure_, but a large boulder at the west entrance to the
_Eastern Temple_ having slipped and disturbed the entrance walls,
steps have recently been erected to enable visitors to climb over the
débris heap.



On the west side of the northern length of the passage the wall is 11
ft. high, the upper portion receding from the passage at 8 ft. above
the level of the floor at the foot of the newly-erected steps, and
in the recess so formed is what appears to be a decorative pattern
of original form made of rows of blocks, each row at the back of the
other, and rising backwards in miniature steps or shelves. But these
rows are not believed to have been intended or used as steps, as the
lines of blocks on either side round off to come flush with the face
of the wall and become part of the wall at each end, and are continued
as ordinary courses in the faces of the wall. The exact correctness
of these step-like rows and curves of blocks is remarkable. For the
present, and until the purpose of these steps can be ascertained, this
feature is called _Step Pattern_. It has been suggested that these
steps must have formed a post for a guard to protect the _Western
Entrance_ to the temple.

The wall opposite the approach to _Pattern Passage_ from _Recess
Enclosure_ is 8 ft. high, and rises to 17 ft., as the floor of the
southern section of the passage descends somewhat sharply. The southern
section terminates at the rounded end of the east wall of _Recess
Enclosure_, which here is rather a fine piece of dry masonry. Formerly
this section had steps let into the wall on either side, fragments of
such stones still projecting from the walls, the foundations of which
have been laid bare, and at one point undermined. This vandalism is not
the work of archæologists, but of unauthorised prospectors for gold
relics, who have torn up the whole length of stairs and pavement, not
only in this passage, but in every other passage on the hill which was
not protected by being filled in with wall débris.

                         RECESS ENCLOSURE[61]

This is an almost complete enclosure on the south side of the _Eastern
Temple_, and separated from it by a deep and narrow passage, now known
as _Pattern Passage_. Formerly a passage-way ran along the west side of
the enclosure from north to south. The area of this enclosure is—south
side, 17 ft. 6 in., north side 18 ft., west side 25 ft., and east side
20 ft. The surface shows signs of the enclosure having been filled in
above its original floor by some later occupiers. The south wall has
collapsed except for about 4 ft. at its west end, and this section is 8
ft. high, but the foundations of the rest of this wall are practically
intact. The north wall is considerably broken, its highest point being
now only 5 ft. above the present floor. The west wall, which is intact,
is formed by the outer wall of a building erected at a much higher
level, called _South Enclosure C_. This wall is 22 ft. high, and is in
two parts—the upper part being rounded outwards at the extremities, and
the centre rounded inwards. This wall is exceedingly well built, and
is one of the finest pieces of masonry to be seen on the _Acropolis_,
and shows very great architectural skill on the part of the ancient

The south wall is now only 8 ft. to 9 ft., and on the inside face
has a row of five vertical recesses built in the wall and flush with
its face. These are altogether unlike anything yet discovered in any
ancient ruins,[62] except, perhaps, at _No. 1 Ruin_ at _Khami_. The
widths of the faces of the wall between the recesses from north to
south are 2 ft. 4 in., 1 ft. 9 in., 1 ft. 10 in., 1 ft. 7 in., and 1
ft. 8 in., and these are separated from each other by perpendicular
crevices, each 5 in. wide. Most probably the recesses were once
considerably higher. What practical purpose they could have served is
at present impossible to state, but it has always been held that they
probably once contained wooden beams.



The north-west entrance has rounded walls, and from the east side
of this entrance are the remains of a passage wall running south.
This wall is 6 ft. long, 2 ft. 6 in. high, and 2 ft. 6 in. wide; the
foundations of this wall run almost as far as the south wall of the

All the walls of this enclosure are well built.

In the north-east corner is an excavated hole, showing a wall running
parallel to the east wall at a depth lower than the present floor of
the enclosure. The north end of the east wall is beautifully rounded
and tapers from its base to present summit, its face forming the south
side of the east end of _Pattern Passage_.

                             NORTH PLATEAU

This plateau is situated to the north of the _Eastern Temple_ and at
the north of the cliffs, which form its north-east and north sides.
Its shape is that of a quarter of a circle—the east side being formed
by cliffs running towards the north-east, and the south side by huge
boulders running out towards the north-west, the apex being at the
north end of the _North Passage_ of the _Eastern Temple_. The area from
north to south is 67 ft., and from east to west 53 ft., the outer and
open side being supported by a terrace wall extending along the front
for 43 ft. This terraced wall is well built for this length. It has
a drop from the outer surface edge of this plateau of 11 ft. Traces
of a continuation of this wall across the gorge on the north side on
to the opposite shoulder of the kopje can be seen; but the Makalanga
state that the superstructure built upon these traces was made by their
people long ago, and, indeed, this is very obvious. A Makalanga-built
wall juts out from the north-east side a few feet towards the
_Visitors’ Path_ to this plateau. The plateau is covered with the clay
foundations of the circular huts of the Makalanga, who up to four years
ago had their kraal on the northern summit of the hill.

                             NORTH PARAPET

This structure is at the outer and northern base of the large curved
main wall of the _Western Temple_, on which are the small towers and
monoliths, where it curves towards the north-east and runs parallel
with it for 44 ft. In this parapet is a rising passage with steps
leading from the _North-West Ancient Ascent_ up to the main wall, where
it once passed through it and curved into _Platform Enclosure_ where it
can still be walked along. The point where this passage went through
the main wall has been blocked up by the Makalanga, and the wall is
so very dilapidated that it would be altogether unsafe to clear the
entrance of the obstructing blocks.

The parapet was evidently once more extended towards the east, but the
fall of débris from the broken end of the main wall has carried the
parapet below away.

The western extremity of this parapet is formed by a wall 11 ft. long
projecting at right angles from the foot of the main wall. This wall
is 8 ft. high and is 4 ft. wide on its present reduced summit. From
opposite the north end of this wall commences the west side wall of the
ancient ascent described later.

Immediately on the east side of the wall forming the western extremity
of the parapet there are steps rising 3 ft. 6 in. facing north and
leading up to the sunken passage on the parapet, and above these steps
the passage turns east at right angles along the centre of the parapet.

The width of the parapet is 11 ft., and this width is divided as
follows: width of passage 3 ft., of outer parapet wall 4 ft., and of
inner wall 3 ft. 6 in. The passage rises 8 ft. between where it enters
the _North Parapet_ and where it rounds off towards the south-east
through the main wall. The outer and inner walls are 3 ft. to 4 ft.
above the passage floor, but the outer wall was probably once very much
higher. There are traces of steps in the passage.

The height of the north face of the _North Parapet_ from above the
filled-in floor on the outside is from 9 ft. to 11 ft. This floor
contains the remains of a rather old Makalanga hut.

A parapet wall of a similar character runs from the western end of
_North Parapet_ along the outer base of the main wall, and this is
described later under the title of _Western Parapet_.

                             CHAPTER XVIII

                          THE ACROPOLIS RUINS

  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.

                       NORTH-WEST ANCIENT ASCENT

Unfortunately in describing this ascent it is necessary to commence at
the summit and work downwards instead of upwards. The amount of débris
which covered its lower lengths precluded the tracing of the ascent
from below, and further it is only the higher lengths which have been
cleared out, though now the lower parts can be easily followed.

The ascent begins at the _Water Gate_ at the north-west base of the
hill, and terminates at _The Platform_ which overlooks the _Eastern
Temple_ on the Acropolis. Its total length is a little more than 500 ft.

Walking across the north-west face of the hill it would have been
impossible to discover this ascent owing to the confusing number of
lines of foundations and outcrops of walls running in all directions
over the side of the hill, and the intermediate ground being so much
covered with blocks. The idea that this ascent existed along its
present lines was suggested by viewing the face of the hill from
Mogabe’s kraal, which is on the opposite side of the north-west valley.
From this point the step-like form of the side of the hill can be seen
as a whole, and it appears obvious that artificial means had been
employed in making the lines of projection on the side of the hill.
These were subsequently examined, with the result that sections of a
passage-way downwards were found in one chain extending from the summit
to the base of the hill, though there were some long gaps between the
sections, while the sections themselves were filled in up to where the
side walls out-cropped for a few inches.

The sections of this ancient ascent, commencing at the summit, are as

(_a_) Passage through _Platform Enclosure_ 72 ft. long (see _Platform

(_b_) Passage through main wall 16 ft. long (do.).

(_c_) Passage along _Northern Parapet_ 28 ft. long (see _Northern

(_d_) Section of ascent between _Northern Parapet_ and the old
visitors’ path which the ascent crosses 233 ft. long.

(_e_) Section between Visitors’ Path and the _Water Gate_, which is at
the lowest point of the ascent, over 600 ft. long.

(_f_) _Water Gate_ (see _Water Gate_).

The first three sections have already been described.

_Section (d)._—This extends from the _Northern Parapet_ to the old
visitors’ path. The passage on leaving the parapet turns north-west
for 41 ft. The walls on either side are from 3 ft. to 5 ft. high, but
these heights are increased on either side by a further 2 ft. or 3 ft.,
owing to the depth of soil and block débris lying along the summits of
the side walls, the passage for this length being found buried for this
depth below the surface of the face of the hill. This length of passage
is 2 ft. to 3 ft. in width. At 31 ft. from the upper end of this length
and on the east side is a rounded entrance leading into an enclosure
which is completely buried under débris and silted soil.

At the bottom end of this length of 41 ft. the passage turns due east
for 32 ft., the corner wall being rounded. At this corner a passage
from the west side enters the ascent, but this passage is at present
buried in débris. The width of the ascent here averages 4 ft. to 5 ft.
6 in., but it is narrowed at one point to 2 ft. 6 in. by a rounded
buttress projecting from the north side into the ascent. The heights
of the walls for this length are: south side 6 ft. to 8 ft., with
several feet depth of débris on its summit; north side 4 ft. to 8 ft.
The ascent in this length has a fall of 6 ft. At the bottom of this
length on the south side, and fronting up the ascent, is a rounded
buttress in form of a quarter section of a circle, and this is 11 ft.
round its base. It has a further buttress on its west side and traces
of another on its east side, and between these two buttresses are the
remains of steps, but a tree growing out of the steps has caused their

From this buttress the passage turns due north for 75 ft.; its eastern
side from 28 ft. to 56 ft. of this length had fallen into the passage,
but the rest of that side of the passage is still practically intact.
Along this length the passage is deeply sunk into the face of the hill.
The widths average from 2 ft. 10 in. to 6 ft. The side walls are of
the following heights above the passage floor: east side, 7 ft. to
10 ft.; west side, 5 ft. to 10 ft. On either side of this length are
enclosures which are completely filled in with débris and buried, but
the entrances to these can be seen. This length of passage was found
(October, 1902) to be completely buried, even for some feet above the
10 ft. side walls, and the floors of Makalanga huts were built across
them and the passage.

At the 63 ft. point in this length are two entrances, one on either
side of the passage. The one on the east side is rounded and is 6 ft.
high, and steps are formed by the curving inwards of the courses of the
wall. This leads into an enclosure until recently filled in and buried,
and this enclosure is mentioned in the description of the _North-West
Face of Zimbabwe Hill_, where it is described as being typical of so
many other enclosures on this side of the hill. On the opposite side of
the passage the entrance there is angular on one side and rounded on
the other. Its side walls are 6 ft. high. This entrance is blocked up
in the same manner as was the ascent. This leads into another buried
enclosure, a portion of which has been cleared out and examined. The
passage along the 75 ft. length has a fall of 11 ft.



At the bottom end of this length and going north is an enclosed area
triangular in shape 47 ft. long, and with the apex resting in the lower
end, where the passage becomes narrowed to 2 ft. 6 in. This area and
the corresponding area of similar shape in the _South-East Ancient
Ascent_ appear to have been intended to serve a similar purpose—that
is, to enable a crowd of defenders on a high level to act against two
or three bands of the attacking party on a lower level and in a narrow
passage. Into this area open out at least three entrances from buried
enclosures on either side. The area has in its length a fall of 9 ft.

At the foot of this triangular-shaped area the passage runs north for
38 ft. It is 2 ft. to 4 ft. wide, and the side walls are 4 ft. high.
The fall in this length is 5 ft. At the northern end of this length and
crossing it at right angles is the old path used by visitors in making
the ascent of the hill.

_Section (e)._—This extends from the old path used by visitors
ascending the hill, down to the _Water Gate_.

From the Visitors’ Path the descent to the _Water Gate_ is somewhat
uninteresting, the passage walls being very much dilapidated, the
upper side wall being particularly damaged, having been subject to the
full force of falls of block débris down the face of the hill. In this
way the lower side walls, having been so protected, are in a somewhat
better condition.

Starting down from the path there appears to be a chaos of stones
for some 15 ft., but still the passage can be traced. As there are
several lines of well-laid blocks close to the crossing of the path
and passage, it is quite probable that side passages ran into the main
passage at this point. At the 15 ft. down a very wide wall 4 ft. to 5
ft. high runs down the north side of the passage for 140 ft.

The south side shows an unburied wall 30 ft. long and about 3 ft.
high. At 80 ft. from the Visitors’ Path the passage opens out into
a triangular space 25 ft. wide, with the apex resting at the lowest
point of the steep enclosure. Such triangular spaces on the lines of
steep passages are not uncommon, being found at several ruins. There is
one higher up the same ascent, and another on the South-East Ancient
Ascent. In each case the descent is steep, and the lowest point of the
triangular area rests on a narrow passage coming up from below.

At 140 ft. below the Visitors’ Path the north wall alone is standing,
and this runs downwards for 50 ft. This wall is 4 ft. high and is
rather wide. The south wall is now represented only by a line of wall
débris running parallel with the north wall.

At 190 ft. the passage becomes lost, but exactly parallel and at a
distance of 20 ft. south is the commencement of another passage.
Probably the upper length takes a sharp turn west under a pile of
débris which lies between the two passages. This second passage has a
buried wall 3 ft. high on the south side. On the north side the wall
is 150 ft. long, and on this length the south wall has practically

At the down side of this length the passage becomes far better defined,
having side walls from 3 ft. to 5 ft. high, and 3 ft. wide on their
summits. The passage here takes a sharp turn towards the north for 50
ft., then to the south-west for 25 ft., and again to the north for
almost 100 ft., the side walls being intact for this length, the east
wall being from 4 ft. to 7 ft. high, and the passage 2 ft. 6 in. wide.
This is the best-preserved portion of the lower half of the _Ascent_.
The west side walls are from 3 ft. to 4 ft. high. Between these walls
are traces of steps, also a few buttresses, all rounded.

At the end of this length the passage is continued between walls 4
ft. high to its extremity, before reaching which it takes some sharp
W-shaped turns and terminates in very well-built walls.

The _Water Gate_ faces this point at 100 ft. distance, only at a lower
level of some 30 ft. to 40 ft. The side of the hill is here very
steep, and is faced in parts with granite glacis, between which the
path descended to the _Water Gate_. Converging on the extremity of the
passage are traces of other passages from each side, which give the
impression that the _North-West Ascent_ was the main approach to the
summit of the _Acropolis_ from this side of the hill.

                         THE WATER GATE RUINS

This is situated at the lowest extremity of the North-West Ancient
Ascent to the Acropolis, and forms its approach and entrance from the
valley on the west and north sides of Zimbabwe Hill. It has been styled
the Water Gate on account of there being immediately in front of it a
large donga (water-hole), one of the chain of dongas which run round
the hill from the south-west to the north-east, and are believed to be
artificial, but have become reduced from the original area and depth
by the silting in from the side of the hill during a very long period
of sub-tropical rains. Sections of walls have been discovered at great
depth in these dongas.

This entrance forms part of a long line of wall which runs round the
base of the hill for some two or three hundred yards, and is called
the Inner Defence Wall, in which on the south-west side of the hill is
another large entrance, known as the Outspan Ruins. This line of wall
is in some places very well defined, being from 2 ft. to 4 ft. above
the level of the veld, but some lengths of it are mere lines of stone
débris or ridges of mounds full of blocks; but seen from some heights
up the face of the opposite hill it can be traced throughout its length.

The gateway is exceedingly well constructed, and the curves of the ends
of the walls which form its sides are very bold and massive. Though
it is distant over 900 ft. from the main ruins on the summit of the
hill, it must be admitted to be a very good example of entrances of the
earliest ancient period. But the construction of the wall on either
side of this entrance, and at some little distance from it, becomes
only fairly good, and at a still greater distance roughly built, and
yet the entrance and the line of wall are of the same original plan.
This grading off of the quality of construction on either side of the
entrance and at some little distance from it is also seen in many
other entrances which are not in proximity to the main ruins. The line
of the Inner Defence Wall in which this entrance is inserted curves
outwards towards the west-north-west from about 30 ft. on either side
of it. The entrance is thus in the centre of the curve, and faces
west-north-west. It is 2 ft. 10 in. wide, and 7 ft. from outside to
inside. The side wall on the south is 7 ft. 6 in. high above the steps,
and on the north 5 ft. 6 in., though on either side the present reduced
summit of the wall is from 2 ft. to 4 ft. higher at a few feet from the
entrance. Like all main entrances, save one, at Zimbabwe, it is without
portcullis grooves, these having been found in rounded entrances in
internal and divisional walls. The wall on the south side is 8 ft. wide
on the floor of the entrance, and 7 ft. 6 in. on the north side. There
are remains of three steps on the entrance which commence flush with
the front faces of the two side walls. These are greatly dilapidated,
but it can be seen that they form part of the foundations of the wall.
One stone of what is left in the front row is considerably worn on the
top, as if it had been trodden on for many generations.

As in very many entrances of the earliest style of ancient
architecture—for instance, the main entrance to the Elliptical
Temple—the walls on either side widen out as they approach the
entrance. In this instance the walls widen out from 4 ft. and 5 ft. to
8 ft. as the entrance is neared. There are also traces of buttresses
on either hand on the inner sides of the entrance, also of a few steps
ascending into the interior of the enclosed area.

The front face of the wall on the north side is 5 ft. above the veld,
but the summit increases in height towards the interior face of the
wall, as most of the dilapidations have taken place on the outer side
of the wall. The front face of the south wall is 7 ft. in height, and
the summit of this wall ascends much higher towards its inner face.
At 12 ft. from the entrance, along the face of the south wall, it is
clearly seen where the excellent workmanship of the entrance grades off
to an inferior construction in the continuation of the wall southwards.
The line of wall on the south side is more or less intact for 48 ft.,
at which point it becomes lost in débris and silted soil, though its
line of route can of course be traced much further. The wall on the
north side extends for 90 ft., but from this point northward it is very
easy to follow the course of its débris.

The interior faces of the wall, for about 30 ft. on either side of the
entrance, are still in a good condition, and are from 4 ft. to 7 ft.
above the inside cleared-out level.

On the inner face of the south wall, at 5 ft. above the present level
of the enclosed area, is a herring-bone pattern which directly faces
east-south-east. The pattern remaining is 3 ft. 6 in. long, and 1 ft.
2 in. deep, and is formed of tile-like blocks, varying from 10 in.
to 1 ft. 3 in. in length. Judging by the positions of the stones, it
is highly probable that this pattern extends at least 2 ft. further
towards the entrance. The usual frame for this pattern, and also for
Dentelle and Chevron Patterns, is still good for three courses at its
south end. The size of the stones employed in this pattern is above
the average size used for the same pattern in other ruins, and is
somewhat larger than those in the pattern at Little Umnukwana Ruins, in
the M’Pateni district, where the average length of the stones is 10 in.
So far this is the only herring-bone pattern discovered at Zimbabwe. It
was first noticed by Mr. J. W. Clarke, of Victoria, in September, 1902.

From immediately behind this entrance the north-west face of the hills
rises very sharply, so much so that the rains of many years have silted
soil to a great depth behind the walls. Rain-water would naturally be
guided by the contour of this part of the hill towards this entrance,
so that the area behind it has become filled up to a very much higher
level than in the time of the original occupiers. Some two dozen cubic
feet of this silted soil was cleared out of the entrance in October,
1902, and while the work was progressing a heavy storm, lasting only an
hour, broke over Zimbabwe. On visiting the entrance later in the day it
was found that this one shower had caused the almost entire filling up
of the excavation by mud streams, which had washed down the side of the

Immediately in front of the outer faces of this entrance and running
parallel with this length of the Inner Defence Wall, and at a distance
of 90 ft. from it, are the remains of a line of wall almost hidden in
débris. This wall can be traced for a distance of at least 130 ft.,
and there appears to have been a passage or entrance through it at a
point almost due north of the Water Gate. Further to the north and
north-west of this wall is a donga, and on the north-north-west of this
donga runs the outer defence wall, which is at least 600 yds. long, and
encloses the line of dongas from west of the Elliptical Temple with the
north-east of the base of Zimbabwe Hill. In this Outer Defence Wall
is an opening, and in all probability, judging by the arrangement of
the wall débris and the contour of the ground, a gateway or entrance
was once situated at this point. This opening in the Outer Defence
Wall, the traces of an entrance in the ruined wall in front of the
Water Gate, and the Water Gate entrance are all in one line, and the
line is further made complete by the remains of two small walls in
the donga itself, which equally divide its width, as if these walls
either carried or supported a bridge; or at any rate afforded the means
for crossing the donga. In fact, the size of these dongas and their
relative positions appear to indicate that on this side of the hill the
Acropolis was further defended by water. These two small walls show
signs of having had rounded entrances in their centres.

Taking into consideration the line of the three entrances, the fact
that the ancient ascent through the Water Gate leads into the heart
of the main ruins of the Acropolis, and further that the contour of
the ground beyond the Outer Defence Wall indicates the direction in
which a road from Zimbabwe to the north and north-west must take, it
is reasonable to conjecture that the ancient road from Zimbabwe in
that direction passed on the north side of the Makuma Kopje, on which
Mogabe’s kraal is now located.


About forty or fifty ledges protrude in step form up the north-west
face of Zimbabwe Hill from the valley below up to the front of the west
main wall of the _Western Temple_, and these projections are not only
upwards in terrace form, but broadways, extending across the entire
length of the north-west face of the hill.

The best view of these ledges is obtained from _Makuma Kopje_, on which
is Mogabe’s kraal. From this point it is seen that these projections
must have been artificially made. So great has been the fall of
wall débris, and the washing of soil for many centuries by heavy
sub-tropical rains down the hillside, that even the outer faces, or
retaining walls, of many of these projecting ledges or platforms are
completely buried, and their outline can but barely be traced owing to
the absence of any outcrop of walls. In fact, the whole of this face of
the hill for over 300 yds. upwards, and the same distance broadways, is
but a chaos of fallen blocks, and the visitor, while walking over this
area, sees infinitely less of their arrangement and plan than can be
seen at a distance of a third of a mile from the opposite kopje.

These terraces are not disposed in lines across the hill as are the
_Hill Terraces_ of _Inyanga_, but each is independent of the other.
Nor do they in any point resemble the terrace system of the retaining
walls so often met with in ruins of the Second Period of Zimbabwe

Several of these projecting areas on the steep face of the hill have
recently been cleared of the débris which has in so many instances
completely covered them, and rendered their form but a mere suggestion
of an outline. The outer faces of some of the terrace walls have been
laid bare, and their construction is seen to be of true Zimbabwe
building of the First Period, all features of the Second Period, so far
as examinations have extended, being altogether absent.

The walls are not built on straight lines but on curves, some of the
curves being laid on bold lines, in some instances amounting to a
semi-circle. The angular wall is absent. The construction of most of
the walls is superior to that of Second Period walls. There is no
promiscuous filling-up of the interiors of the walls. The walls are as
well built on the inside as they are on their outside faces, and they
possess the true Zimbabwe batter-back, and such entrances as have been
discovered are excellently rounded.

The spaces between the outside edge of the summits of these walls in
front and the rising surface of the hill behind them have been levelled
by falling débris, but there is no lack of evidence to show that, where
not wholly filled in naturally in the course of time, the work of
their complete filling-in has been systematically carried out by people
who were not the original builders. On clearing the irregular surfaces
of these ledges of débris it was found that the areas were rudely
covered with red clay or _daka_, and on this flooring were the clay
foundations of Makalanga huts, with piles of buck bones and quantities
of charcoal and bits of iron slag. Mogabe’s headmen state that these
hut foundations are not those of Makalanga of their time, as Mogabe’s
kraal, and that of Mokomo before him, though on the north side of the
hill, were situated much higher up the hill and much nearer to, or even
among, the main ruins. Nor do they belong to Makalanga of sixty years
ago, for Mogabe’s people say that when Chipfuno arrived as a boy some
seventy years ago this portion of the hill was then in the same state
as is seen to-day. Judging by the weathered blocks piled and strewn
upon these areas, it is very possible that these rough clay floors and
hut foundations are at least seventy years old, if not considerably
older. Portions of iron assegais and Makalanga hoes found on these
floors are so eaten by rust that they have become thin, and are almost
as brittle as glass.

But the most interesting feature of these terraced areas lies in the
fact, obvious to anyone who inspects the areas cleared out in July
and August, 1902, that these areas were not originally terraces but
ordinary enclosures, with floors from 4 ft. to 10 ft. lower than the
present reduced summits of the outer walls. Some people of times
later than those of the original builders had deliberately taken the
blocks from the outer or down-side walls of the enclosures and thrown
them inside till the interiors were filled up level with the reduced
height of the walls, and over such filling-in had spread a clay floor,
and so made these enclosures into terraced platforms and dry vantage
ground on which to build their huts, lay their corn-drying, threshing,
and winnowing floors, and also their small _daka_ granaries, which,
occupying these well-drained and soilless positions, would be free from
the ravages of white ants.

By clearing the outer faces of these walls from block débris, which
has fallen or rolled down from higher positions on the hill—and these
falls have in some instances utterly ruined the walls beneath—and
following the curve of wall round to its opposite side on the face of
the hill, the rounded entrances into some of these enclosures have been
unburied, the floor of such entrances being on an average 5 ft. to 9
ft. below the débris. These entrances, so far as discoveries have been
made, are all at the rear of the enclosure and close to the face of the
hill. These entrances are narrow, 1 ft. 10 in. and 2 ft. 2 in. being a
fair average width, and once the line of floor which is level with the
floor of the entrances is cleared, it is seen that there are no steps
inside the enclosures, though outside the entrances there are in a
few instances steps leading up to the entrances only, but never steps
leading upwards from inside the entrances. The floor of the entrance,
in each case, is the level of the floor of the enclosure. Inside is
seen a mass of dry blocks without soil, and many of these blocks show a
face that was once exposed to the weather and become time-eaten if not
greatly decomposed, which shows that they once formed part of the face
of an ancient wall.

In removing this block débris from these enclosures no pick or spade
was necessary. The blocks were picked up and handed outside, and when
the enclosures had been emptied there was not 12 in. depth of soil, and
what was there was mainly fine granite chippings caused by the throwing
in of the blocks, and of decomposed _daka_, which had formed the floor,
and which, being of poor quality, constant rainfalls had practically
rotted into sand. It was on these cleared-out floors that portions
of large carved soapstone bowls were discovered in July and August,
1902. The “finds” on the bottom and original floors bore undoubted
evidences of antiquity, and were totally different in character from
the unmistakable Makalanga objects found on the _daka_ floor some feet

As before stated, these terraces of enclosures are in some points
independent of each other—that is, they extend across the face of the
hill most irregularly. The second enclosure may be 20 ft. or 30 ft. in
front of the level of its neighbour on either hand, the third 20 ft.
or 30 ft. to the rear of the level of the first enclosure, and so on.
But the enclosures are built very nearly one behind the other up the
face of the hill, the front wall of one being the back wall of the next
below. Between these ascending lines of enclosures are narrow sunken
passages, the existence of which, until August, 1902, was altogether
unsuspected, as such passages showed no outcrop of their side walls.
Two of these passages are now known to be at least 350 ft. long, and
one of them has been cleared out for this length. They were exceedingly
narrow, so that at many points only one person could pass at a time.
The widths average 2 ft., and their floors are from 3 ft. to 12 ft.
below the present débris-strewn surface of the slope of the hill. Into
these passages the entrances to enclosures on either side open.

Evidently the same people who filled in the enclosures and converted
them into platforms likewise deliberately filled in the passages for
the foundations of old Makalanga huts, and granaries were laid across
the filled-in passages. The “finds” on the floors of these passages and
those found on their “filled-in” tops showed as great differences in
every respect as were presented by the objects found on the original
floors of the enclosures and those on the later clay floors above them.

                             SOUTH TERRACE

This is a natural ledge of ground artificially improved, running east
at the foot of the south precipice for 200 yards from the foot of the
_Rock Passage_, and extending beyond the point where the most easterly
ruins of the Acropolis are built along the summit cliff. This terrace
is supported on its south side by several retaining walls.

Almost all the enclosure walls along this terrace have been demolished
by the falls of great masses of walls from the ruins on the summit of
the cliff. Barely the foundations of such enclosure walls now remain,
the only exception being the enclosure adjoining the bottom end of the
_Rock Passage_.

                          THE “OUTSPAN RUINS”

These ruins, which lie 75 yds. to the north of Havilah Camp, are on the
outspan in the valley which runs along the south side of Zimbabwe Hill,
and also on the path leading from the camp to the South-East Ancient
Ascent. This block of ruins was entirely cleared out of wall débris and
silted soil in September, 1902, and now visitors may walk upon what was
practically the ancient floor. The cement which once formed the floor
has become decomposed to granite sand, and owing to the enclosures of
the ruin having been buried some 3 ft. to 5 ft. under the veld, the
enclosures held all the water which in rainy seasons would pour down
the side of the hill immediately behind.

These ruins form part of the line of Hill Inner Defence Wall, which
encloses the whole of Zimbabwe Hill on its west, south, and east sides
and runs along the foot of the lower slopes of the hill. The most
complete view of this continuous line of wall is obtained from the
summit of the hill. This line of defence wall is again enclosed on the
west side by the Outer Defence Wall, which runs from the north side of
the hill almost as far as the Elliptical Temple, and between these two
walls are the three large dongas on the west side of the hill.

The “Outspan Ruins” form the most perfect section of the Hill Inner
Defence Wall, not excepting the fine entrances to the North-West
Ancient Ascent with its herring-bone pattern, which is also another
section of the same line of inner defence wall, only on the north-west
side of the hill. They also must have served as an important entrance
through the south-west portion of the Hill Inner Defence Wall. The
entrance is complicated and rendered very difficult of attack by a
number of rounded buttresses, in addition to which there are small
enclosures most substantially built, which, most probably, were

[Illustration: Sketch Plan OUTSPAN RUINS Zimbabwe]

There is nothing angular in the plan and construction of these ruins.
They very patently resemble other outlying buildings which obviously
formed part of the original plan of the main Hill Ruins. The courses
in the wall are not very regular, and stones of all shapes and sizes
have been introduced. There is no decorative pattern in this section
of the Hill Inner Defence Wall, but there is one peculiarity in its
architecture, and in that of a conical tower which is described later.

These ruins occupy an area of 113 ft. from south-east to north-west,
and 70 ft. from north-east to south-west.

The main wall faces south. The 113 ft. length only includes the line of
main wall which still stands some 5 ft. to 11 ft. in height, the wall
at either end of this length can be traced extending for 500 yds. to
the east and 350 yds. to the west and north.

The entrance which has rounded walls on either side is 4 ft. wide, and
passes diagonally south-west through the main wall, thus giving it a
length of 8 ft. On its eastern side the wall is 7 ft. high, and 5 ft.
on the western side.

The ruins on the north side of main wall form a central enclosure to
the north of the entrance with an enclosure on either side of it, also
a passage on the south and west sides of the central enclosure.

The central enclosure is formed by a wall 22 ft. long, 4 ft. high, and
5 ft. to 7 ft. wide on the present reduced summit, which runs north at
right angles from the inside of the main wall at 4 ft. east from the
east side of the entrance. The wall, which at its northern extremity
is rounded, forms the divisional wall between the central and eastern
enclosures. The west side of the central enclosure is formed by a wall,
rounded at each end, which starts at 4 ft. from opposite the inside of
the entrance, and goes west for 13 ft. and north-east for 19 ft. This
wall averages 3 ft. to 8 ft. in height, and is from 4 ft. to 5 ft. 6
in. wide at base, and 3 ft. 6 in. on the highest summit. Where the east
wall of this enclosure comes opposite the end of the north-east wall is
an entrance 3 ft. 6 in. wide. The area of this enclosure is 14 ft. from
west to east and 19 ft. from north to south. It is possible that in the
centre of this enclosure once stood a round buttress or tower, and the
position of a few blocks in the floor makes this something more than a
mere conjecture.

On passing through the main entrance from the south, one enters a
passage which runs parallel with the north side of the main wall
for 17 ft. towards the west, and then curves sharply towards the
east-north-east for 19 ft. At its two extremities the passage is from
3 ft. to 3 ft. 6 in. wide, but at the curve at the end of the first
length of 17 ft. it is 6 ft. wide. The western wall of this passage is
19 ft. long, 5 ft. wide at base, and 3 ft. 6 in. on the highest portion
of the summit, this being at the south end, where the wall is 8 ft.
high. This wall is rounded at its northern extremity, and forms the
divisional wall between the passage and the eastern enclosure. Neither
the eastern nor the western enclosures can at present be defined on
their northern sides, though lines of block débris would appear to fix
their boundaries.

The most interesting architectural feature in the “Outspan Ruins” is
the conical tower built to form part of the main wall. This is an
independent structure from its base upwards. It is 9 ft. high, and
though built of irregularly shaped stones and without much adherence to
courses, it is symmetrical in appearance. On its west side between it
and the rounded end of the main wall is a space 2 in. wide on the floor
and 5 ft. wide at 6 ft. from the floor. This narrow loopholed space
still remains open, save for a single slab which at 6 ft. above the
floor is built into the tower and the main wall, thus forming a sort of
stone shelf. On the eastern side of the tower the space between it and
the rounded wall of the entrance is neatly built up, and a slab is laid
from the rounded wall into the courses of the tower at 5 ft. above the
floor. Possibly these slabs on either side of the tower formed raised
platforms to afford a view over the wall, while the narrow loophole
might have served as a look-out. The circumference of the tower at 5
ft. from its base is 19 ft. 3 in.

The portion of these ruins which lies to the south of the main wall
comprises (1) a wall running south at right angles to the main wall at
4 ft. from the west side of the entrance. This wall is 24 ft. long,
and averages 3 ft. 6 in. in height, and is 2 ft. wide on its present
summit; (2) a circular buttress built independently and standing
opposite the outside of the main entrance at a distance of 8 ft. 6 in.
Its height is now only 3 ft. 10 in., and its circumference at base
is 28 ft. 4 in. It is hollow in the centre, and it has collapsed from
summit to base on its southern side for a width of 3 ft. The obvious
object of this buttress is to divide the open space on the outside of
the entrance into two narrow passages, each of which could easily be
defended by a few even against a great number of besiegers.

At 36 ft. east of the south side of the entrance is an outcrop of a
wall 6 ft. long, and this runs due south at some 5 ft. in front of the
main wall.

                              CHAPTER XIX

                         “THE VALLEY OF RUINS”

“The Valley of Ruins” is on the north-east and east sides of the
Elliptical Temple, and almost half-way between it and the south side
of the east end of the Acropolis Hill. This conglomeration of ruins
extends from the edge of the slope which runs along the north-east
sides of both Elliptical Temple and No. 1 Ruins to within 60 yds. of
the west side of East Ruins, and covers an area of about 250 yds. from
east to west and 120 yds. from north to south. This area is the upper
portion of the Zimbabwe Valley, which descends towards the east, the
streams from this valley during the rainy season falling into the
Mapudzi stream, which runs southwards down the Schlichter Gorge towards
the Moshawasha Valley, and later finds its way into the Motelekwe River.

Till 1902–3 these extensive ruins, some of which are massive and most
excellently constructed, remained not only unexplored but unexamined,
and no particulars or plan had ever been attempted to be given, all
writers being content to refer to them as “The Valley of Ruins,” while
some writers altogether ignore the existence of the group. Dr. Helm, of
Morgenster, whose professional duties have taken him twice every month
for the last six years within a few score yards of the ruins, states
that he never supposed the wood and the jungle contained any walls.

Since the Occupation in 1890 no attention has been paid to these
ruins. No visitors’ or even native paths crossed the area, nor are
there the slightest traces in the shape of trenches of relic hunters
and gold prospectors having worked here. So unfrequented has it been
that some fair-sized buck have recently been shot within the walls.
The area was found to be covered with an almost impenetrable jungle of
trees, bushes, and creepers. The local natives declared the place to be
bewitched, and consequently they avoided it.

“The Valley of Ruins” has recently (1903) been found to consist of
three groups, each of which includes several distinct ruins, some being
of an important character.

The area is divided as follows:—

1. Lower or north-eastern section, including the Posselt, Philips, and
Maund Ruins.

2. Middle section, which lies between the lower section and the edge of
the slope of land on the north-east side of the Elliptical Temple.

3. Upper section, including all ruins between the Elliptical Temple
and the edge of the slope overlooking lower portions of “The Valley of

Before describing these complicated groups there are some features
represented by them which may be mentioned.

(_a_) Several of these ruins, especially those in the lower section,
are exceedingly massive and well built, the courses marvellously
true with an absence of straight joints. The curves of the wall are
beautifully designed and are laid on boldly sweeping lines. The
material is good, and is also most carefully selected and sized. The
masonry of many of the walls is far superior to that of some of the
divisional walls of the Elliptical Temple and to the majority of the
walls on the Acropolis.

(_b_) The absence of the angular style of buildings, except with
certain structures in the middle section. Rounded entrances and
buttresses and gracefully rounded ends of walls form the most
prevailing features of most of these ruins. Two conical towers, several
very large semi-circular buttresses or platforms form prominent
features. Two drains were discovered (1903) in Philips Ruins and three
in Posselt Ruins (B).

(_c_) The middle section is poorly built, and possesses some angular
features. The upper section is well built.

(_d_) The discovery (1903) in the lower section of these ruins of gold
articles, decorated and plain soapstone beams and relics of the oldest
type, including the soapstone beam with bird on summit—the finest
specimen yet found in Zimbabwe—point to the fact that certain of these
ruins were used for somewhat higher purposes than those of forts or
workshops, possibly, as many now suggest, as residences for priests
or officials connected with the temple. This surmise is justifiable,
seeing that the north-east passage connects such well-built and
substantial portions of these mines directly with the North Entrance
and Parallel Passage and Sacred Enclosure of the Elliptical Temple.
In the lower section of these ruins there are no traces of ancient or
native industries having been carried on.

(_e_) In the lower section of these ruins there are fewer signs of
modern or even of very old Makalanga clay huts, such as are fully
described in “_Native huts found in ruins_.” No modern articles were
found here. The consequence is there has been in this lower group of
ruins very little artificial filling-up of the enclosures, and the
ruins are more open and are easier of examination than most of the
other ruins at Zimbabwe. But being on lower ground, with a huge bank
of granite and soil on the south-western flank, there has been a
considerable amount of soil silted into the ruins during the course of
hundreds of years, but not to any great depth. The filling-in, both
natural, is no more than about 2 ft., as compared with 5 ft. and 7
ft. in other ruins elsewhere where there are abundant signs of native


                             POSSELT RUINS

These ruins are the most westerly of the lower section of _The Valley
of Ruins_. They consist of two almost oval-shaped buildings adjoining
each other, and for the purposes of this description are marked _A_ and
_B_ respectively on the plan. This set of ruins lies at the north-east
extremity of the _North-East Passage_ leading from the _Elliptical

_A_ is 175 ft. long from north to south, and 91 ft. from east to west.
_B_ lies at almost right angles to _A_ on its south-west side, and is
110 ft. from east to west, and 75 ft. from north to south.

The interesting points concerning the Posselt Ruins are:—

(1) The discovery of beaten gold and of the older class of relics.

(2) Two entrances with unworked soapstone beams used as lintels in
portcullis grooves.

(3) Complicated entrances; a small conical tower; cement dadoes; a
parallel passage; circular and semi-circular buttresses; only slight
artificial filling-in of interior; some evidence of occupation by old
or modern natives.

(4) Massive character of walls originally averaging at least 15 ft.
in height; excellent construction, main walls being superior to many
divisional walls in the _Elliptical Temple_ and to most of the walls on
the _Acropolis_; the overwhelming predominance of the rounded style of

(5) No evidence of either ancient or native industries having been
carried on in these ruins.

                      SECTION A OF POSSELT RUINS

_Main walls._—The main walls average from 7 ft. to 12 ft. in height
above the surface of the veld, while the height of the interior
faces, which are some 3 ft. above the outside level, averages 6 ft.
to 9 ft. The great amount of wall débris at the foot of the walls
suggests an original average height of at least 15 ft. above the cement
floors. Some practical builders have computed it to have been almost
20 ft., and the batter-back would permit of this. The average of 15
ft. is a very conservative estimate of the original height. There is
more dilapidation on the outside top edges of the walls than on the
inside. The width of the main walls at base averages 6 ft., and on
the reduced summit at 9 ft. above the outer surface of the ground
4 ft. Some of the divisional walls are almost equally as massive.
As is usual in the rounded style of building, the main walls, also
the foundations, widen out as they near an entrance. The curves of
the walls are most symmetrical, especially of the wall which curves
outwards from the north to the east-south-east. Two granite beams—one 6
ft. 3 in. high—once stood erect on the north-east portion of the main
wall. A flat granite slab still stands erect on the west wall. Other
long granite beams were found at the foot of the wall both outside
and inside. The foundations of the main walls are carried under the
entrances and form their floors.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan POSSELT RUINS “Valley of Ruins” (_Lower

_Construction._—The construction of the main walls and also of some of
the divisional walls is good, though there are places where a rather
inferior workmanship can be noticed. On the whole, the courses are
regular, straight joints are infrequent, and the sizes of the blocks of
each course show they were carefully selected. There are a few short
lengths of walls in the interior which do not appear to have been parts
of the original building. These are erected upon the black vegetable
mould, and are poorly constructed, are slight and of indifferent
material, being almost identical, if not quite so, with old Makalanga
walls, the noticeable feature of which is the building of one stone
exactly above and squarely on the block below without any pretence at
bonding. This is known as the column style, and can be seen in walls
in native villages as well as within certain ruins at Zimbabwe, mainly
on the _Acropolis_, where, as in these ruins, there are the remains of
very old Makalanga cement huts.

_Entrances._—There are four rounded entrances through the main wall;
possibly there was a fifth on the east side where there is a wide gap.
There are twelve entrances in divisional walls, nine of which are
rounded, two being partly angular and partly rounded, and one angular,
this last being before referred to as probably of later construction.
It is almost certain that many more divisional entrances will yet be
discovered, as several of the divisional walls only just outcrop above
the surface of the interior. Almost every entrance has portcullis
grooves. All four of the entrances through the main wall have rounded
buttresses on either side projecting into the interior of the building.
Three of the more important divisional entrances also have rounded
buttresses on each side of the entrance.

The E.N.E. entrance was evidently the main entrance. Its walls are very
massive, and the arrangement of the inner walls strongly suggests the
intention to protect the entrance and afford a second line of defence.
This entrance generally is the most imposing of all four approaches.
It opens directly on to the exterior of the building, which the west
entrance does not; nor most probably did the S.E. entrance, which
opens out towards other ruins. The E.N.E. entrance varies in width
from 2 ft. 10 in. to 4 ft., and the passage is 12 ft. long. The side
walls are 5 ft. high, but rise sharply towards the exterior to 8 ft.
and 11 ft. respectively, and both are about 6 ft. wide on floor level.
As in the entrances through the main wall of the _Elliptical Temple_,
the foundations run under the entrance and form its passage floor.
The entrance has two buttresses on the inner side, and these have
portcullis grooves.

The west entrance opens in _Section B_ of the _Posselt Ruins_. This is
1 ft. 10 in. wide, 7 ft. long, and the side walls are 7 ft. high above
the floor and 6 ft. wide on the floor level. The entrance shows remains
of portcullis grooves. The floor of the entrance is 2 ft. above the
cement floor of the interior of the building, and there are the remains
of large rounded cement steps down on to the floor. On the inner side
is the _Parallel Passage_, described later, and as in this passage
are a quantity of buttresses, these show that the entrance was well
protected from attack from the side of _Section B_, especially on the
north outer side of the entrance, where is what visitors have called a
“sentry-box,” a small walled-in area immediately adjoining and opening
directly upon the entrance into _Section A_. The elaborate protection
of this entrance from attacks from _Section B_ would appear to show
that _Section A_ was regarded by the builders as the more important
portion of these buildings.

The south-east entrance opens out on to the veld, but there are
extensive ruins, portion of the middle section of “The Valley of
Ruins,” at a few yards’ distance in front of it with traces of walls
between. This entrance is 2 ft. 4 in. wide between the buttresses, and
3 ft. wide between the sides of the main wall. It is 11 ft. long, and
the side walls are 7 ft. high on either side, rising rapidly on the
east side to 10 ft. There is a pair of rounded buttresses 5 ft. high on
the inner side, and these have portcullis grooves. It is probable that
this was the entrance used by the ancient occupiers on ascending from
these ruins to the _Elliptical Temple_, as the north-eastern extremity
of the _North-East Passage_ is not many yards away from this entrance.

An entrance through a divisional wall just within and on the west side
of the E.N.E. entrance is worthy of notice. This passes through a
wall 6 ft. wide on floor level, and 7 ft. high on the south-west side
and 6 ft. high on the north-east side. In this entrance, which has
rounded buttresses on the inner side, a length of unworked soapstone
beam was found acting as a side lintel in a portcullis groove, also
the fragments of a corresponding soapstone lintel. In this entrance
was discovered (March, 1903) beaten gold and fragments of decorated
soapstone bowls.

_Parallel Passage._—This is the sixth parallel passage so far
discovered at Zimbabwe, and is about the fifth in importance. It runs
for 66 ft. on the inside of, and parallel to, the west main wall. The
inner or east wall of the passage is formed by a line of buttresses
with short walls between each, and in these walls are various entrances
leading towards the interior of the building. No portion of this inner
wall is more than 5 ft. in height, though the wall débris along their
summits rises 2 ft. higher. The passage is defended by several pairs of
rounded buttresses with portcullis grooves, and averages in width from
5 ft. to 8 ft.

The passage commences on the south side of the west entrance which
leads from _Section B_ of these ruins. Two large rounded buttresses
form its southern extremity. The buttress on the west side, which is
5 ft. high, projects 5 ft. into the walled-in area opposite to the
inside of the west entrance, and the eastern buttress, which is 4 ft.
high, projects 3 ft. to meet it, leaving the entrance between them 3
ft. wide. There are no portcullis grooves, but it is probable, judging
by the position of the débris, that a pair of rounded buttresses once
stood on either side of the entrance. Portcullis grooves are most
usually found in such additional buttresses. In this walled-in area,
facing the inside of the west entrance, is a passage-way leading into
the interior of the building, but this still remains unexplored.

Going north from this point, the Parallel Passage is narrowed to 4
ft. by a rounded buttress 5 ft. high projecting from the inner or
eastern side of the passage. From this buttress a wall 5 ft. high runs
north-east and parallel to the inside of main wall for 13 ft., the
passage along this length being about 4 ft. 6 in. wide. At the northern
end of this length of wall are a pair of rounded buttresses 4 ft. 6 in.
high with portcullis grooves. The entrance between the two is 1 ft.
10 in. wide, and these are built upon the same foundation which forms
the floor of the entrance. At 16 ft. further north is another pair
projecting from either side into the passage. The one on the west side
is 5 ft. high, is rounded, and has a portcullis groove. The opposite
is 3 ft. high and greatly dilapidated. It is angular on one side and
rounded on the other, and there are traces only of a portcullis groove.
The quality of the construction differs, the rounded buttress being the
better built. Possibly the other buttress is a reconstruction of a much
later date. The entrance between the buttresses is 2 ft. 6 in. wide.
Both buttresses are erected on the same foundation which forms the
floor of the entrance.

Between the last-described two pairs of buttresses and on the east side
is a roughly built entrance 1 ft. 10 in. wide, with the two buttresses
angular on the outside and rounded on the inside. This leads into
the interior of the building. At the northern end of the passage and
on the east side and leading into the interior is an entrance with
portcullis grooves built upon a curved line. The west corners, which
are 3 ft. 6 in. high, are angular, but the inside walls are rounded.
This is altogether better built and more substantial than the entrance
previously described. The northern extremity of the passage is abrupt
on its eastern side, which faces the south end of the gap in the main
west wall, and the presumption is that the passage was originally
continued further north, but that when the main wall fell the eastern
side of the passage was also destroyed.

In places the floor of the passage shows by the wall of a large
semi-circular buttress which projects 11 ft. from the inner face of
the main wall. All the walls surrounding the area are very well built.
The south side is formed by an opening 2 ft. 4 in. wide between the
semi-circular buttress and the west side of the conical tower, by the
conical tower, by an opening 2 ft. wide between the east side of the
tower and a rounded buttress 4 ft. high, which projects 3 ft. 6 in.
from the wall forming the east side of the enclosure. The floor, which
is made of granite cement, is 1 ft. above the floor on the south, and
is approached by a rounded step.

_Conical Tower._—This tower and the Conical Tower in the adjoining
_Philips Ruins_ are almost identical in construction and position. It
has a circumference at 14 in. above its foundation of 17 ft. 6 in., and
at 3 ft. 6 in. above this level the circumference is 15 ft. 6 in. It
is impossible to measure its circumference at base owing to the cement
floor enclosing its north and north-east sides. It is 5 ft. 8 in. high
from base on the north side and 4 ft. on the south side. The filling-in
process of very late occupiers has caused its dilapidation. The tower
has been proved to be solid.

_Semi-circular Buttress._—A large remains of pavement, portions being
cemented and portions paved with blocks. A large rounded granite cement
step crosses the northern end of the passage.

_Dadoes._—In the passage and on the lower inside face of the main wall
are several lengths of granite cement dadoes, the longest being 10 ft.
and 12 ft. The dadoes are still 2 ft. to 3 ft. high, and about 3 in. to
5 in. thick.

_Enclosures._—It is probable, judging by the number of sections of
divisional walls outcropping above the surface of the interior, that
there are some eight or ten distinct enclosures within _Section
A_ of these ruins. Some enclosures have several entrances, all so
far discovered being rounded. The divisional walls of most of the
enclosures are massive and well built, some being far superior in
construction and material to several of the divisional walls in the
_Elliptical Temple_.

The most perfect enclosure is on the inner side of the north-east,
immediately west of the E.N.E entrance. This was entirely filled in
with soil and blocks up to the tops of the walls, which are 7 ft. and 8
ft. high. All this filling-in has now been removed (March, 1903), and
a conical tower, which had been completely buried, was discovered. The
area is formed on the north-east side by the inner face of the main
wall, which is 7 ft. high and 11 ft. long, on the east side by a wall
7 ft. high and 9 ft. long, and on the west side it averages from 2 in.
to 4 in. in thickness. Its faces are usually smoothed and the tops are
rounded off inwards.

_Native huts._—There are the remains of seven old native huts in this
section of the ruins. These are identical with No. 3 huts described in
“_Makalanga huts within ancient ruins_,” see “_Notes on Architecture_.”
They are built about 2 ft. and 3 ft. above the ancient cement floors.
Two are built across gaps in divisional walls, and one partially covers
a portion of the gap in the north-west main wall, which, had it been
intact, would not have enabled the builders of the hut to find room for
the erection of their dwelling.

                       POSSELT RUINS. SECTION B

This lies to the west of _Section A_ of the _Posselt Ruins_, which it
immediately adjoins on its south-west side and practically forms part
of the same ruins.

Its area is 110 ft. from east to west, and 75 ft. from north to south,
and is oval in plan. The construction of the walls is excellent, and
this section appears to be one of the earliest period ruins. Its
central portion has been filled in, and some of the walls dividing off
the enclosures are still buried beneath the débris. There are no signs
of native occupation of the interior of the ruins, but on the outside
of the building are the circular ruins of old native huts and débris
consisting mostly of ashes, bones, and pottery.

Only the three enclosures at the west end have been cleared out to
their old floors, but nothing was found of any antique character.

_Walls._—The outer walls are massive and show excellent construction,
and average in height between 5 ft. and 10 ft., their width being 6 ft.
at 5 ft. above the ground. The inner walls are also massive and are
fairly well built, being 5 ft. wide at 4 ft. above the ground. There is
a narrow and low divisional wall of poor construction cutting off the
north-east portion of these ruins, and this most probably is of later

_Entrances._—There are only two entrances through the main or outer
walls. The one on the north-east side is 2 ft. 6 in. wide, and has
very massive walls, which are rounded, and all exceptionally well
constructed. There is a pair of rounded buttresses immediately inside,
and these have portcullis grooves. The foundation of the main wall
forms the floor of the entrance passage.

The south entrance is 4 ft. wide, and is built upon the foundation of
the main south wall. It is narrowed to 2 ft. by two rounded buttresses,
and these have portcullis grooves.

“_Sentry-box._”—This class of structure has been popularly termed
“sentry-box.” In the angle at the north-east corner is a rounded wall
with a narrow opening into the inside. This is situated close to the
entrance leading into _Section A_, and its position suggests the idea
that it was used as a sentry-box guarding the entrance. There are
several of these structures at Zimbabwe, and they all occupy a similar
position near entrances.

_Drains._—There are three drains through the walls of this section of
the _Posselt Ruins_, one in the south wall passing through a wall 5 ft.
6 in. wide, one in a divisional wall, 4 ft. wide, which projects from
the south main wall towards the north, and one in a divisional wall 5
ft. wide at the north-west of the building.

A semi-circular buttress projects 11 ft. into the interior from the
cunei face of the north-east main wall. It is 27 ft. round its outer
face. On the east side the buttress is 8 ft. high, and on the south and
west sides, owing to dilapidations, and also to a higher floor, these
faces are only 4 ft. and 5 ft. high. The top surface is covered with a
foot depth of granite cement.

_Circular platform._—This is at the eastern extremity of the ruins.
It is 21 ft. in diameter and 5 ft. above the floors of the adjoining
enclosures. On the east side the summit is approached by granite cement
steps which are large and well rounded, and on the south by stone steps.

On the west of this platform are two raised enclosures immediately
on the inside of the main wall. The northern one has steps leading
some way towards the west side of the _Circular Platform_, and there
probably once reached its summit.

_Cement dadoes._—In these ruins are many lengths of granite cement
dado work, the greatest length intact being 33 ft., and this is on the
east of the west main wall. This work is also extensively found in
the _Parallel Passage_. Not only is it found on the faces of walls,
but also on round buttresses and on the side walls of entrances, thus
reducing their widths by about 5 in. It runs about 3 ft. higher than
the cemented floors.

                             PHILIPS RUINS

These ruins lie to the east of the _Posselt Ruins_, which they almost
adjoin, being only 8 yds. apart at their nearest points. These ruins
present several most interesting features:—

(1) The discovery (March, 1903) of the finest, most perfect, and most
elaborately decorated soapstone beam with bird on summit yet found at
_Great Zimbabwe_, also of phalli and beaten gold.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan PHILIPS’ RUINS “Valley of Ruins” (_Lower
Section_) ]

(2) An excellently constructed and massive wall, built upon the plan
of a section of a circle, with its centre facing due east, and the
discovery of quantities of sections of worked soapstone beams along
its base, together with fragments of carved soapstone bowls, and also
ancient relics of the oldest type.

(3) A small conical tower uncovered March, 1903.

(4) Excellent and massive character of the construction of the walls of
the numerous rounded entrances, buttresses, and ends of walls. There
are two drains, also a tall slate beam built into a portcullis groove
to form a side lintel post in an entrance.

(5) The complete absence of signs of native occupation of these ruins
except on the east side of the large curved wall, and these are slight.

_Area._—The area occupied by these ruins is 140 ft. from east to west,
and 150 ft. from north to south. There is no main outer wall on the
south side, and it is probable, judging by wall débris, that these
ruins extended some 20 yds. further south.

_Main walls._—These extend from the west side round the north to the
south-east, the rest having disappeared; or possibly Posselt Ruins and
these were originally one immense ruin, so that an outer wall on the
west side might never have existed; but this could not have been the
case with regard to the south side.

The main outer walls average from 5 ft. to 9 ft. in height on their
outer faces, and 3 ft. to 8 ft. on their inner sides, the interior of
the building being on a considerably higher level than the exterior.
This is owing mainly to the natural fall of the ground towards the
north-east and east on which the ruins are built. The widths of the
main walls vary from 6 ft. to 8 ft. on floor level, 5 ft. at 6 ft.
above the floor, while some reduced summits have a width of 5 ft. at 9
ft. above the floor.

_Construction._—These ruins, especially some portions, such as the
massive curved wall, are most excellently built. The selection of
the blocks, the good and even quality of the granite employed, show
that some special importance was attached to these portions of the
ruins. Except for one small buttress, the angular style of building is
absolutely absent from these structures.

The divisional walls are also well built, and are superior to the main
and outer walls of several ruins at Zimbabwe.

_Curved wall._—This wall forms the most prominent feature in these
ruins, and it at once attracts the attention of all visitors on account
of its symmetrical and massive character, excellent workmanship, and
the height of its reduced summit, which has the extraordinary width of
5 ft. at 13 ft. from the ground. The curve is laid on so exact a plan
that it was an easy matter for a surveyor to definitely determine the
centre of the arc. The centre of the curve faces outwards due east,
and standing at the centre of the arc the extremities of the wall
are found to be E.N.E. and E.S.E. respectively. It is 125 ft. round
its inner face at 6 ft. above the remains of cement flooring, and 84
ft. round its outer face at the same height from the ground, but its
outer extremities are hidden behind rounded walls and buttresses. The
distance between the two extremities across the bow is 75 ft., and
from that line to the centre of the curve the distance is 23 ft. The
batter-back of the wall is 1 ft. 3 in. in 10 ft.

The height of the reduced summit for 60 ft. averages 9 ft. to 13 ft.
on either side of the wall, but as these heights are taken from raised
cement steps, platforms, and sections of floors, at least another 2 ft.
or 3 ft. may be added to their present reduced height, for the greatest
height from foundation to summit is 15 ft. 6 in. The original height
may safely be estimated at 20 ft. above the cement flooring. This
estimate is justified by the great amount of wall débris found along
the bases of either side of the wall. On the summit near the south end
of the wall are the remains of a banquette, and these inner terraces or
look-outs are almost invariably behind walls which are at least breast
high above the floor of the banquette; moreover, the batter-back of
the faces of the wall would well allow of a wall 20 ft. high and yet
leave a fairly wide summit. Where the entrance facing the E.N.E. passes
through this wall, the side walls are reduced to 5 ft. in height on
either side above the floor of the entrance, which is 3 ft. above the
foundation of the wall.

This entrance, like those in the main walls of the _Elliptical Temple_,
is carried over the foundation of the wall, and this forms its passage
floor. It is 2 ft. wide and 6 ft. 6 in. long, and has two rounded
buttresses on the inner side, and these have portcullis grooves. These
buttresses are built upon a semi-circular platform projecting 6 ft.
into the interior of the building, thus making the entrance passage
about 12 ft. in length. The floor of the entrance is covered with
granite cement.

One peculiar feature in the construction of this wall is that, while
the northern end is rounded off, the southern end is continued in the
form of a portion of a loop, which circles southwards and eastwards,
and then runs back into the east face of the curved wall, enclosing
an almost circular area of 10 ft. in diameter. The wall in this loop
is well built. The average height of the loop-wall is 6 ft., but on
the south side it rises to 10 ft., where the width of the summit is 3
ft. The interior was rudely filled up with stones, below which was a
cement floor 3 ft. higher than the outside level and 6 ft. above the
foundation. This raised platform or pulpit is approached on the west
side by a few steps leading up to a rounded opening into the loop.

This curved wall, massive as it is, does not form an outer wall of
these ruins, but crosses their centre, dividing them into two parts.
It is apparently independent so far as its plan, superior character of
construction, and purpose are concerned.

At the west side of the curved wall, and at the centre of the curve,
is a wall 23 ft. long projecting towards the interior of the building.
This is 3 ft. high at its western extremity, but its summit rapidly
rises to 8 ft. in height. It has a slight curve towards the south. On
its north side is a small recess extending from base to summit, and
this is exactly similar in construction to the recesses in “_Buttress_”
or “_Recess Enclosure_” on the _Acropolis_.

On either side of this wall, and in the angles formed by the curved
wall, are low granite cement platforms which are rounded on the front
faces. These resemble the “_blind steps_” found in all the main ruins
at Zimbabwe.

The purpose of the erection of the curved wall might possibly have
been for solar or astronomical observations, and though this is a mere
conjecture, the following points may lend it some support:—

(1) In close proximity to this curved wall, and on its eastern side,
was discovered the soapstone beam with carved bird on the summit—this
being the finest specimen yet discovered at Zimbabwe—also phalli and
ancient relics of the oldest type. The soapstone birds had so far been
discovered only at the _Western and Eastern Temples_ on the _Acropolis_.

(2) The discovery under the wall débris which lay along each side of
the wall at its base of quantities of lengths of broken soapstone beams
which, though not carved, had been worked with tools, the widths of the
edges of the chisel being very plainly discernible, some sections being
beautifully rounded and polished. These are believed to have originally
decorated the summit of the wall, a suggestion supported by the shape
and markings on the bases of several beams so discovered. Soapstone
beams once fixed on the summits of walls had previously been discovered
only at the three temples.

(3) The proximity of a small conical tower in an adjoining enclosure at
the north-eastern end of this wall.

(4) The large raised platform formed by the looped wall, and originally
approached by steps on the west side, somewhat corresponds in position
with the _Platform_ in the _Elliptical Temple_ and at the _Western
Temple_, and with the _Balcony_ at the _Eastern Temple_.

_Conical Tower._—This is situated in the most north-easterly enclosure
of these ruins. It is still 6 ft. 6 in. in height, but judging from the
block débris it was once much higher. At 3 ft. 6 in. above the granite
cement floor at its base it has a circumference of 18 ft. 10 in. It is
impossible to measure the circumference of its base, as a large rounded
cement step extends between it and the south wall of the enclosure. The
tower, which has a fair and noticeable batter-back, is very well built.
It has been proved to be solid. Its foundations are 6 in. below the
cement floor. There are four of these small conical towers at Zimbabwe,
two having been discovered in March, 1903. On the east side of this
tower, and built up against its east side, is a small rounded platform
3 ft. high, covered with granite cement, which is approached by two
large steps.

_Entrances._—There are three entrances to these ruins—the north,
north-east, and east—and most probably others will be found as further
exploration work is carried on here.

The north entrance appears to have been the main approach. This
is an intricate entrance, and one which appears to have possessed
considerable importance in the minds of the original builders. It lies
between two outer rounded walls, each 6 ft. high, which curve inwards
towards each other so as to form a passage-way about 6 ft. wide, which
is again narrowed at its southern extremity to 2 ft. 6 in. by two
rounded buttresses on either side. These buttresses have portcullis
grooves. The area opens into a small walled-in area, 10 ft. by 10 ft.,
the walls being 6 ft. high, and very well and substantially built.
The floor is made of granite cement. There are three rounded walls in
this area. A buttress with a portcullis groove is in the south-western
corner of the area, but the corresponding buttress has disappeared. The
walled-in area would have enabled twenty defenders to protect the 2 ft.
6 in. wide entrance from being forced by an attacking party. The west
side of the entrance passage is carried further south by two walls,
each built upon a semi-circular plan.

The north-east entrance opens into the enclosure which contains the
Conical Tower already described. The side walls are 5 ft. high, and 4
ft. and 5 ft. wide at this height from the floor. The entrance is 2 ft.
4 in. wide, and including the steps it is 9 ft. long. A semi-circular
platform projects 6 ft. into the enclosure, and on it are built two
rounded buttresses with portcullis grooves. These buttresses are in an
advanced state of dilapidation. There are three steps between these
buttresses, and these lead down on to the floor of the interior.
An immense slate beam rises out of the ground immediately on the
north-east side of the exterior of the entrance.

At present only the south side of the east entrance has been opened
out. This is 4 ft. high, and is rounded. On the inner side is a
semi-circular buttress hollow inside with an opening into it from the
south side.

All the entrances, of which there are seven in the divisional walls,
are rounded, and most have portcullis grooves.

At the centre of the eastern face of the curved wall is a rounded
entrance with portcullis groove, in which is built a slate beam which
stands 8 ft. above the floor. The total length of the beam is at least
11 ft. This is the most perfect specimen of all the stone lintels built
in portcullis grooves.

_Enclosures._—Judging from sections of divisional walls, there were in
all probability no less than sixteen enclosures in these ruins. Some
were of large area, but subdivided. All the divisional walls are laid
on curved lines. The only complete enclosure is the one on the north
side, where is the Conical Tower. The wall on the south side is from 5
ft. to 9 ft. high, on the west side 5 ft. to 10 ft., and on the north
side, which is the main outer wall of the ruins, 5 ft. This latter
wall, which is curved outwards towards the north-east, is 4 ft. wide at
5 ft. above the ground. A cement floor is laid around the tower. The
west entrance was described earlier under the heading of “_Entrances_.”

_Buttresses._—In these ruins are numerous rounded buttresses. A large
semi-circular buttress 4 ft. to 5 ft. high, 22 ft. round the face,
9 ft. from back to front, and 12 ft. across the back, faces the east
and outer side of the centre of the curved wall, from which point the
buttress is due east at 25 ft. distance. On the west side of this
buttress is a passage with cement floor, rounded steps, and dadoes.

_Drains._—So far as these ruins have been cleared, only two drains have
been exposed, one through a wall 5 ft. wide, which wall runs parallel
to the east side of the large curved wall, and one through the main
wall leading from the north-east enclosure.

_Cement._—Granite cement has been extensively employed at these ruins,
both for flooring, dadoes, and steps, also for platforms in the angles
of walls, which somewhat resemble the “blind steps” in the angles of
the divisional walls of the _Elliptical Temple_.

                              MAUND RUINS

These ruins, though not extensive, appear to have been of some
importance. They are situated at a distance of 60 yds. from the
east-north-east side of Philips Ruins, and lie almost half-way between
those ruins and the East Ruins.

Their construction is excellent, and the walls are massive, while all
the entrances are rounded, most having possessed a pair of granite
lintel beams. Although built upon by far the lowest level of any
ruin at Zimbabwe, it is the least filled-in, either naturally or
artificially, by any native occupiers. There are very few traces of
Makalanga occupation. The granite cement floors are at a depth of 1 ft.
to 2 ft. below the surface soil within the interior. No ancient relics,
save fragments of soapstone bowls carved with chevron pattern, have
been found here.

The most interesting points as to these ruins are:—

(1) Two very fine rounded ends of walls, both being excellent pieces of

(2) Two structures facing east and west respectively, the summits
being approached by large steps, and each associated with one of the
rounded walls.

(3) Sections of red clay walls in the gaps of the stone walls.

The area of these ruins is 143 ft. from east to west, and 138 ft. from
north to south. There is some evidence that these ruins once occupied a
larger area.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan MAUND RUINS “Valley of Ruins” (_Lower

P. _Platforms_ CS. _Cement platforms_ ]

There is only one entrance, so far discovered, through the main wall,
and this faces north. It is massive and well built, and opens into a
vestibule enclosure 15 ft. long, 9 ft. wide, and 5 ft. and 7 ft. in
height. The side walls of the entrance are 5 ft. high, the width of the
main wall is 6 ft. 6 in., the width of the passage 3 ft., but narrowed
on the inside to less than 2 ft. by two rounded buttresses with
portcullis grooves, the south one of which has almost disappeared.

The east end of the south wall of the vestibule enclosure is one of
two beautifully rounded ends of walls before referred to. The symmetry
of the batter-back is perfect. This wall is 7 ft. high, 5 ft. wide at
base, and 3 ft. 10 in. at summit. The vestibule has a granite cement
floor. At the east end of the vestibule is one large rounded buttress
with portcullis grooves. The corresponding buttress on the south-west
side is much ruined.



On the west side of the ruins, and immediately west of the west wall
of the vestibule wall, and built from wall to wall in the angle of the
main and vestibule wall, is a raised platform 6 ft. high approached
by four rows of stone steps once covered with granite cement. This
structure is apparently different in purpose and construction from
the “_blind steps_” found in some of the ruins at Great Zimbabwe, for
in this instance the platform must have afforded a good position for
seeing over the outer wall, and also for watching the entrance which it

A similar structure is to be found on the east side of these ruins.
This also is an excellent piece of workmanship. The steps in this
instance lead from the west side of the base of the wall to its summit,
and were once covered with granite cement, portions of which still
remain. The wall is 8 ft. high, and its north end is beautifully
rounded. It is 4 ft. 6 in. wide at its base, and 3 ft. wide on the
summit. The north or rounded end of the wall, at 6 ft. above the
ground, turns on each side towards the centre of the summit, forming a
small round tower 2 ft. high. There are four steps, but it is possible
that other steps were in between each of the steps now seen. The summit
of the steps faces due east. This wall is not an outer wall.

There appear to have been at least ten enclosures. There are eleven
divisional entrances, all rounded, of which eight have portcullis
grooves and several have rounded buttresses on the inside. Two long
granite beams and some sections of broken beams were found in most of
the entrances, but not in those in which the portcullis grooves had
been carefully built up.

In the northern enclosures and 2 ft. under the surface were found
several large and massive cement steps laid on curved lines.


                             RENDERS RUINS

These are the best-defined ruins of the Middle Section of the Valley of
Ruins, are of better construction, and have walls still standing of a
fairly good height. All the other ruins in this section are almost, if
not quite, impossible to trace, and a view of them gives the impression
that they are of much later construction than the Renders Ruins.

These ruins, which lie east and west, cover an area of 300 ft. from
east to west, and 200 ft. from north to south. They lie within 30
yds. of the south and south-west sides of Posselt Ruins, A and B, the
intervening space, being full of outcrops of walls. On the south and
south-west sides of these ruins is the Upper Section of the Valley of

The most striking features of the Renders Ruins are (1) their
complicated plan; (2) the banquette wall on the summit of the south
wall of No. 3 Enclosure; and (3) the great amount of ancient gold,
Arabian pottery and glass, and other relics discovered in No. 1

The ruins are built upon the formation rock which slopes down from
south-west to north-east, the floors of all the enclosures being the
bed-rock itself, and this has such a steep gradient that at some points
it makes it difficult for those wearing nailed boots to ascend from the
lower to the higher portions of the ruins.

These ruins are approached from the Mauch Ruins by a passage and steps,
also from the Motelekwe wagon-track, and by a path passing the west end
of Posselt Ruins B. The North-East Passage leading from the Elliptical
Temple is scarcely any longer an approach, as the passage walls have
in some places fallen inwards and blocked the passage.

_No. 1 Enclosure._—This is the most easterly of the enclosures of
these ruins. It is oval in plan, being 73 ft. from east to west, and
52 ft. from north to south. The walls are substantially built, but are
constructed in the style usually found in ruins built at some distance
from any of the main ruins. The highest walls are on the west and
southern sides, and these average from 7 ft. to 9 ft. in height, 4 ft.
to 5 ft. at 5 ft. above the floor in width, and are 4 ft. wide at the
summit. The other walls are considerably dilapidated and average about
4 ft. in height. The bare formation rock forms its floor, and it slopes
considerably from south to north.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan RENDERS’ RUINS Valley of Ruins Middle

On the rock floor the following “finds” were made: Twenty pieces of
beaten gold and gold wire, a few gold beads, amounting altogether
to 3 ozs. In the yellowish soil above the floor and at a depth of 4
ft. Arabian glass with arabesque patterns most delicately engraved,
beautifully glazed pottery of white clay with different bevels on the
edges, and sunken designs under the glazes which are both sea-green
and a delicate shade of forget-me-not blue, also very thin china of
white clay with rich deep blue-and-gold enamel, also some minutely thin
green glass, a large soapstone bowl, a fine copper chain, and some
other pottery of excellent make and covered with green glaze, which has
the appearance of being ancient or certainly of being of very antique
character. On the upper level was found half a hundred-weight of
twisted iron wire in coils ready to be cut off in lengths for bangles.
The coils were fused together. Coils of fine brass wire similarly
fused, over 200 ivory and glass beads unrecognisable by local natives,
two pairs of double iron gongs, brass bangles, large cakes of copper,
crucibles used for smelting copper, and two hundred-weight of hoes,
axes, and chisels far superior in make to those of the Makalanga of
to-day. The local natives examined this last class of “finds” with much
wonderment. There was a total absence of articles of modern native make.

There is overwhelming evidence that during the last two periods of
occupations of this enclosure it was most extensively occupied as a
copper and iron-smelting place.

On the outer side of the south wall is a remarkable instance of the
silting of the soil from higher ground. The depth of soil on the south
face of the wall is at least 5 ft., and this has been washed into its
present position by the rainstorms of many years. The triangular space
formed by the wall and the sloping granite rock was thus filled in for
a length of fully 70 ft.

There are no signs of any entrances into this enclosure except on the
north-east side, where there is a long gap in the wall.

_No. 2 Enclosure._—This is situated due west of No. 1 Enclosure. Its
area, which is square save on the south side where it slightly rounds
outwards, is 30 ft. by 20 ft. The débris from the high east wall of No.
3 Enclosure has almost filled it up to the summit of its walls. Nothing
of any antiquarian value was found here, but the examination work was
only partial. This enclosure probably acted as a passage-way from the
North-East Passage to Nos. 1 and 5 Enclosures, and possibly towards the
Lower Section of “The Valley of Ruins.”

_No. 3 Enclosure._—The plan of this enclosure, which lies directly west
of No. 2 Enclosure, is almost circular save that its north-east wall is
slightly squared. The area is 39 ft. from north to south, and 36 ft.
from east to west. The walls are exceedingly massive, some being 7 ft.
wide at base and 5 ft. wide on the present summit at 7 ft. from the
ground. They are obviously of better construction than any of the other
walls of these ruins.

On the summit of the south wall are the remains of a banquette wall
still 4 ft. long and 4 ft. high, which makes the total height of the
wall at this point 11 ft. There is only one entrance, which is on the
north-west, is rounded, and has portcullis grooves.

This enclosure has not as yet yielded any article of an antique
character, but modern native articles are practically absent.

_No. 4 Enclosure._—This is practically an open space separating these
ruins on the south side from the ruins which are on higher ground,
and extend up to the north-east walls of the Elliptical Temple. In
area it is 150 ft. long from east to west, and averages in width from
north to south some 50 ft. It is bounded on the south by three long
semi-circular terraced walls, each about 8 ft. in height. Its floor on
the north side is of formation rock, which slopes at a steep gradient
to the north side where soil has silted in to a depth of 5 ft. On the
north-east side it is bounded by the outer faces of Enclosures Nos. 1,
2, and 3.

The North-East Passage runs into the south-west corner of the area,
and there are steps and a passage leading down from Mauch Ruins at the
south-east corner of the area.

In this enclosure were found some fine pottery with Arabic lettering
on the rim with beautiful designs, also a few gold beads.

_No. 5 Enclosure._—This area is 86 ft. from north to south, and 40 ft.
from east to west. It is bounded by No. 8 Enclosure on the west, by
No. 2 Enclosure on the south, and by No. 1 Enclosure and a large open
space not yet explored on the east and north sides. The walls are still
fairly high, averaging 9 ft. on the south side, 8 ft. on the west, 7
ft. on the north and east sides. The construction is massive, the walls
averaging 5 ft. to 6 ft. in width at base.

The entrance on the north-east side is rounded and had portcullis
grooves. The foundations of the wall, as in all the older buildings,
form the floor of the passage.

The only other entrance is in the south-east corner, and this leads
into No. 2 Enclosure.

_No. 6 Enclosure._—This enclosed area is directly on the west side of
No. 3 Enclosure, and is 90 ft. from east to west, and averages 35 ft.
from north to south. Possibly it contained sub-divisions, for small
walls and traces of walls are to be found within it. The average height
of the walls, so far as they are intact, is from 6 ft. to 8 ft. The
floor of this enclosure is formed of granite rock which slopes slightly
to the north. The eastern end of the south wall runs up a steep rock
incline sideways, and is in consequence much dilapidated.

The North-East Passage runs from No. 4 Enclosure into this area at
its south-east corner where it divides, one part going down into “The
Valley,” while the other, following along the higher ground, trends to
the west as far as No. 1 Ruins.

The two entrances at the south-east corner of the enclosure where
the North-East Passage divides are both rounded—the entrance on the
north-east side is also rounded.

_No. 7 Enclosure and Passage._—This enclosure, which is triangular in
form, is the most westerly of all the clearly defined areas of the
Renders Ruins. It is 28 ft. long on its western side, 18 ft. on its
north-east side, and 29 ft. on its southern side. The inner faces of
the walls average 8 ft. in height. A large entrance, evidently of some
importance, is on the west side. This is rounded and has portcullis
grooves, while the side walls are 5 ft. high and the passage is 3 ft. 6
in. wide. Steps led from the entrance downwards on the outward side.

A drain runs through the south wall leading from No. 6 Enclosure.

A passage 31 ft. long with side walls 6 ft. high leads from this
enclosure into No. 8.

_No. 8 Enclosure_ appears to be of a very chaotic and irregular
character, mounds of soil, piles of stones, and traces of
sub-divisional walls being the principal features of this area, the
surface measurements of which are 150 ft. from east to west, and 70 ft.
from north to south. Soil has been evidently brought into the enclosure
for the purpose of forming platforms on which are the remains of very
old Makalanga clay huts.

Probably there were at least six sub-divisions of this enclosure. On
the north, north-west, west, and south-west the walls average 6 ft.
to 9 ft. in height, and about 4 ft. on the other sides. The walls are
substantial and are fairly well built in places, the more substantial
building being on the west side, where there is a prominent end of an
angular wall 15 ft. high facing the north.

There are at least four entrances to this enclosure, viz. one on the
north side which is rounded, a second on the south side which is also
rounded and has portcullis grooves, one on the north-east side which is
angular, and the fourth on the east side, and this is rounded.


                              MAUCH RUINS

These are well-defined ruins, and they form part of the Upper Section
of “The Valley of Ruins,” and are situated on the north-east of the
north-east extremity of the chevron pattern on the Elliptical Temple at
a distance of 105 yds. They occupy the granite plateau on the edge of
steep ground overlooking the Middle and Lower Sections of “The Valley
of Ruins.”

The plan and the excellently constructed portions of some of the walls,
and the class of relics found here in 1903, when these ruins were
partially cleared out, all point to the building having a distinct
claim to some antiquity, although of a more subsequent age than that of
some of the main ruins.

The distinctive features of this ruin are its high walls, a passage
running parallel with the inside of the main north-east wall, a large
semi-circular buttress or platform, and the quantity of beaten gold and
gold wire discovered here.

_Main walls._—The workmanship of some of the lengths of main walls
is excellent, but some are of inferior construction, portions being
obviously reconstructions with the joints plainly visible. There are at
least two reconstructed walls—one on the west side of the main wall,
and the other on the north-east side of the Parallel Passage. In the
inferior portions blocks of all sizes and shapes have been employed.
The best-built portions are the north-east main wall and the divisional
wall which runs north-east to south-west. All the main walls are built
upon a curved plan.

The main walls are still high, though evidently somewhat reduced from
their original heights. The heights from the outside surface average
from 9 ft. to 12 ft., and in places the level of the summits is very
fairly maintained. From the interior surface the heights vary from 7
ft. to 10 ft.

The widths of the walls are evenly maintained throughout, being about
4 ft. 6 in. wide at 4 ft. above the ground, and 3 ft. to 3 ft. 6 in.
at a summit of 12 ft., the battering-back being about 1 ft. in 8 ft.
Some of the walls have been thrown out of batter, and the upper edges

All the ends of the walls are rounded, except in the large divisional
wall, where is an unfinished end facing north, which terminates

[Illustration: Sketch Plan MAUCH RUINS “Valley of Ruins” (_Upper

_Interior Area._—The measurements of the interior are: 98 ft. from
east to west, and 83 ft. from north to south. The area is of a rough
oval shape. It originally contained at least three enclosures. The
soil filling-in is artificial. The elevation of the ruin precludes any
suggestion of silting in naturally. This work is believed to be that of
all local natives of some few generations past.

_Parallel Passage._—This is 99 ft. long down its centre, and was most
probably much longer, as its extremities disappear in débris. The
north-east side wall of the passage, which is the main wall, is from
7 ft. to 9 ft. high at the eastern end, and there is a break owing to
dilapidations at 50 ft. west of this point, while near the lower or
western end the walls on either side are 7 ft. high. The north-west end
is formed by a wall 7 ft. high, a low wall, a semi-circular wall, and
boulders. On the south side, and opposite the opening in the north-east
wall, steps to a somewhat higher level can be traced, leading
southwards up from the passage, and these steps have a rounded wall on
each side. The rounded end of the north-east main wall is a fine piece
of workmanship. The passage is from 3 ft. to 4 ft. wide.

_Entrances._—There are five entrances, and each is rounded, and all
the buttresses are also rounded. One entrance leads into the ruin on
the west side, and there are rounded buttresses on either side, which
are erected on a semi-circular platform projecting 16 ft. into the
interior. This entrance opens into a passage which was discovered by
Bent (1891), but was not opened out till 1903. A second entrance is in
the north-east wall, but on its western side only traces of the side
wall remain. A third entrance is on the east side of the building. This
is 6 ft. high on either side, and is without buttresses or portcullis
grooves. The floor of the passage is formed by the foundation walls.
This entrance leads into an outer enclosure on the eastern side. The
last entrance is between the south end of the large divisional wall
and the semi-circular buttress or platform. Possibly a buttress has
disappeared from the south side of this entrance.

_Divisional walls._—There are two divisional walls, one being the wall
already mentioned as separating the two main enclosures. This runs
north-east from the large semi-circular buttress for 16 ft. It is 9
ft. high and is well built, and has a drain passing through the lower
courses. The north-eastern extremity of this wall is 32 ft. from the
inside face of the main north-east wall. The other wall is 15 ft. long,
and runs out eastwards from the inside face of the main west wall.
This is 7 ft. high, but its height is reduced to 3 ft. at its eastern
extremity. It is 3 ft. wide at the surface level.

_Drain-holes._—There are three well-constructed drains running through
walls; one passes the divisional wall which is on the eastern side
of the building, another passes through the main eastern wall into
the outer enclosure, and the third is in the east wall of the outer

_Semi-circular Buttress._—This structure lies on the south side of
the ruins, and projects 16 ft. into the interior. The total length
round the face is 32 ft. It is 24 ft. across the back, and 10 ft. high
on the west, 6 ft. high on the north, and 6 ft. high on the east. It
appears to be perfectly solid, and once to have had a level surface.
Large trees have grown on its south and west sides, and have done
considerable damage to it. Two small walls are on its north-east side,
and these run towards the buttress as if they once had formed the
approach to the summit.

_Outer Enclosure._—On the eastern side is an enclosure, but somewhat
roughly built. It is 51 ft. from north to south, and 30 ft. from east
to west at its southern end, and 19 ft. from east to west at its
northern end. This enclosure has been extensively filled in with soil
and the usual Kafir débris, among which were found two pairs of double
iron gongs.

_West Passage._—This passage, which was discovered by Bent in 1891,
runs along the outer side of the main west wall for 60 ft. It is 3
ft. to 4 ft. wide, and the wall on the west side of it is very much
dilapidated. From the western entrance to these ruins the passage runs
27 ft. further north, and descends some 29 ft. by means of stairs, and
then passes out between high walls on to the granite floor of _Renders
Ruins_, which are in the Middle Section of “The Valley of Ruins.”

_General._—The position of the Mauch Ruins on their east and north-east
sides is strengthened for defensive purposes by a steep drop of about
12 ft. down on to the level occupied by the Middle Section of “The
Valley of Ruins.” This drop is formed by an almost vertical granite
glacis, which it would have been very difficult to climb.

_Finds._—Gold wire, beaten gold, and gold beads, and portions of
sea-green glazed pottery of white clay.

                           SOUTH-EAST RUINS

These ruins are situated at the south-eastern extremity of the Zimbabwe
Ruins’ area where the Valley of Ruins terminates on its eastern side,
and are only ten minutes’ walk from Havilah Camp. They occupy a summit
of a bare and rounded kopje, commanding most extensive views of the
country beyond Schlichter Gorge to the south and of the Arowi district
towards the east-north-east. Its position is highly strategetic, and
there is a steep descent on the south-west side into a deep gorge, down
which the stream rising on the east side of the Elliptical Temple flows
toward the Mapudzi.

The area of well-defined walls is 140 ft. from north to south, and
120 ft. from east to west, but there are traces of walls in all
directions—on the south at 70 yds. and on the south-west at 20 yds.
distance. The formation rock crops to the present surface at many
places, and the depth of soil elsewhere is inconsiderable.

The style of building very closely resembles that of Ridge Ruins, which
lie between the Elliptical Temple and Havilah Camp, as to which there
are considerable doubts of its being of very remote antiquity.

The walls, the majority of which are of massive proportions, are not at
all well built, blocks of all sizes and shapes having been employed,
and there is little or no attempt to adhere to courses. The present
reduced average height of the walls is from 4 ft. to about 6 ft., but,
judging from wall débris, every wall must have originally been at least
some 7 ft. or 8 ft. in height. The walls are from 4 ft. to 5 ft. wide
at base, and 3 ft. to 4 ft. wide at their very much reduced summits.

The plan of the building is laid on curved lines, and the only entrance
which remains intact has rounded sides. It is possible these buildings
once had six outer and inner entrances. The main entrance appears to
have been on the west side.

[Illustration: SOUTH-EAST RUINS Zimbabwe

_Single figures are heights of walls in feet._]

There are about eight enclosures, and in some of these there are
remains of very old Makalanga huts, and the soil of the interior is
filled with great quantities of Kafir pottery, iron-work, iron slag,
cattle bones, and ashes. Two Kafir graves were found, but these were
not of any great age. Local natives state their own people once lived
here, but not in their time, and this is extremely probable; but they
do not think the walls were built by any Makalanga.

On the east side, just outside the main wall, there are three sets of
_isafuba_ game-holes cut into the formation rock. Each set has four
rows of eight holes each.

The ruins have been but partially examined at several points, but
nothing of any antique character has been found here.

                              CHAPTER XX

                         “THE VALLEY OF RUINS”

           No. 1 Ruins—Ridge Ruins—Camp Ruins, Nos. 1 and 2.

                              NO. 1 RUINS

These ruins, which are of an important character, lie on the north side
of the Elliptical Temple at a distance of 63 yds. from the north-west
entrance to that building, with which it is connected by a substantial
and well-constructed wall running out due north from the north-west
outer face of the main wall of the temple at 43 ft. west from the
north-west entrance and at the points [705 ft.] and [710 ft.].

Visitors would know this ruin as the one which lies back on the
left-hand side of the path leading from Havilah Camp to the west
entrance of the Elliptical Temple, and as the one with the tall
column-like forms of the aloes crowned with fleshy leaves which line
the summit of its walls, as also do the candelabra-shaped branches
of numerous large euphorbia trees which together impart to these
walls a pre-Raphaelite appearance peculiarly striking because of
its old-world-looking character. But though this ruin may be known
to visitors, they rarely examine its enclosures, for the internal
portions, owing to extensive excavations during past years, are most
uneven, and require some climbing over their irregular surfaces.

Whether the age of this ruin synchronises with that of the Elliptical
Temple is for several obvious reasons open to some question, but that
it is “ancient” admits of no possible doubt. Its architecture and
construction are both inferior to those of the Elliptical Temple, and
to many ruins throughout the country which belong to the earliest type
of Zimbabwe buildings, though it must be admitted that great care is
shown in its construction. Possibly these buildings are of somewhat
later date than the Elliptical Temple, while the purpose to which
it was devoted was such as not to warrant such elaborate care being
lavished upon it as on the temples and the buildings used as residences.

Excavators have literally turned this ruin inside out, and have
excavated whole areas to depths of 5 ft. to 7 ft. till the granite
formation was reached, and have left some of the foundations both bare
and undermined. There is no doubt that the building has thus been
completely ransacked, and yet there is nothing to show that it was
either a temple or a place where at any time gold-smelting was carried
on, there being no traces of gold furnaces, blow-pipes, crucibles,
scorifiers, or cement spattered with gold; in fact, pannings of such
soil as still remains within it has not so far shown any “traces”
or fragments of gold wire or beads and pellets of gold such as are
so frequently and abundantly found in other ruins at Zimbabwe. Nor
have any indications of copper-smelting been found here as in other
ruins. There is no suggestion in its plan that it was a temple.
Certainly there is no decorative pattern on its walls, nor are there
any monoliths, nor even fragments of what might have been monoliths.
Certainly stones said to be phalli have been found there, but a few
years ago it was the fashion in Rhodesia to style every stone of
peculiar shape a phallus. But supposing some of these objects were
undoubted phalli, these might easily have come from the Elliptical
Temple a few yards away, especially seeing that the north-west entrance
to the temple was enclosed on either hand by walls of No. 1 Ruins,
and that phalli and miniature soapstone birds have been discovered
by almost all explorers of these ruins among the débris deposited
outside all three entrances to the temple. The inner banquette walls
on either side of the north-west entrance to these ruins, as well as
the massively built outer walls, strongly suggest a fortification,
and the conglomeration of tall buttresses overlooking the Elliptical
Temple, and also “The Valley of Ruins,” rather confirms this view,
especially as the ruins contain no evidences of any industry having
been carried on by the ancients within them. Moreover, these are
the only ruins of any importance on the north and west sides of the
Elliptical Temple which could possibly have served as a fort for the
protection of that side of the temple, and its site occupies a strongly
strategetic position on the summit of sloping ground. Unless it was
a fortification, the whole flank of the area of small ruins in the
vicinity of the north entrance would have been undefended, for on the
northern and eastern sides of such area of ruins are very substantially
built forts occupying elevations of vantage.

Sir John Willoughby states that the design of this building is very
irregular, the inner walls terminate abruptly and form only three sides
of an enclosure with floors ever varying in their relative levels, the
wall foundations are of unequal depths, and the interiors of some of
the walls are carelessly filled in with stones, this latter being a
feature absent in the earliest types of Zimbabwes, but present in later

All these departures from the style of construction as employed in
the Elliptical Temple, and in very many of the ruins at Zimbabwe, are
obvious to anyone on making an inspection, as also the irregularity in
the sizes of the stones of any single course, the poorer quality of
the granite, the employment of unhewn stones, and the introduction of
the angular and plumb style of building so peculiarly absent in the
Elliptical Temple and elsewhere at Zimbabwe. There are no drain-holes
in any of the walls of these ruins.

Of old and recent Makalanga occupations of these ruins there is
ample evidence. Kafir pottery, bones, ashes, and scraps of iron are
abundant, and the clay foundations of Makalanga huts and granaries can
be seen in every enclosure on floors overlying rudely filled-in areas.

These ruins occupy an area of 62 yds. from east to west, and 54 yds.
from north to south. The portion of the ruins in the best condition, as
well as the most important parts, are situated on the west side. The
north and east portions are the most dilapidated. The building on the
north and north-east sides is on the edge of a sharp slope down into a
valley which contains the walls of several minor ruins.

[Illustration: N^o. 1 RUINS Zimbabwe]

The main or outer wall of these ruins runs for 185 ft. from the west
entrance on the west side of the building round in a curve outwards
towards the west-north-west, north, and north-east. There are three
short gaps in the northern portion of the wall. On the whole, the
greater portion of the wall is still in a fairly good condition,
it being from 12 ft. to 15 ft. high above the outside level of the
bed-rock on which its foundations are laid. The wall is practically
plumb as compared with the main wall of the Elliptical Temple, besides
being angular at the entrances. It is 4 ft. wide at 6 ft. above the
outside level, but the north-western side is slightly wider. The wall,
though substantially constructed, does not show great evenness of
courses, while the sizes of the blocks vary considerably. Near the west
entrance it is very poorly built, while the wall on the opposite side
of the passage is excellently constructed. Possibly this indifferently
built portion was repaired at a much later date. It is on this wall
that grew the tall aloes and large euphorbia trees, some of which have
recently been removed. The north and north-east portions of the wall,
being built upon the edge of the declivity, tend to give the wall
a more imposing appearance, while its elevated position commands a
splendid view of “The Valley of Ruins.” The large mound on the north
side of the north-west entrance is soil débris brought by explorers
from the interior of the ruins in 1892.

Three entrances pass through this wall, on the west, north-west, and
north sides.

The west entrance is 2 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. wide, the west side wall
being 4 ft. to 5 ft. high, and the east side 5 ft. to 7 ft. high. The
entrance walls are plumb and angular. There are no buttresses on either
side, and no portcullis groves. The entrance leads into Enclosure A,
but there are traces of a wall which runs across the inside at a short
distance, and might have been that of a sort of vestibule to Enclosure
A. Immediately on the outside of this entrance there is a passage
between the outer face of the main wall on the east side and the east
wall of Enclosures W X Y Z on the west side, and this passage, which is
46 ft. long, 3 ft. 6 in. wide and has the west side wall 5 ft. high,
actually forms part of the entrance. At 31 ft. from the north end of
the passage there is one side of a rounded entrance into Enclosure Y.
There are no traces of steps having been built here.

The north-west entrance was evidently the main entrance. It is the
largest and best-constructed of all these entrances. It has a banquette
wall on either hand in the interior, also a strongly built vestibule
with entrances into Enclosures C and D, and opposite the entrance on
the outside are walls of other ruins.

It is 3 ft. 6 in. wide, 7 ft. long, and the walls on either side are
only 6 ft. high, but they rise sharply to the level of the general line
of summit of the wall. Three feet of the length of the entrance on the
east side are formed by the end of the banquette wall, but on the west
side the banquette wall is only about 16 in. wide. The entrance is
angular and plumb and has portcullis grooves. This is the only instance
so far discovered where a completely angular entrance has portcullis
grooves, also the only instance where the main or, indeed, any outer
entrance has such grooves, except the north entrance to this ruin,
which is partly angular and partly rounded. There is no indication that
this entrance was once covered in.

Immediately on the inside of this entrance is a small enclosure which
served as a vestibule and as an approach to enclosures C and D. This is
9 ft. long, 6 ft. wide, and the walls are from 5 ft. to 8 ft. above the
paved floor which was destroyed some years ago. At the west end there
is a passage 4 ft. 4 in. long and 2 ft. 10 in. wide with angular sides
leading into Enclosure C, the walls on either side being 4 ft. to 5 ft.
high. At the east end of this vestibule is a passage 9 ft. long and 2
ft. 10 in. wide leading to Enclosure D, the walls on either side being
5 ft. to 7 ft. high.

The north entrance opens into Enclosure D at its north-east corner. It
is angular on the outside but rounded on the inside. It is 2 ft. 10
in. wide, 4 ft. 6 in. long, and the walls on either side are now only
from 3 ft. to 5 ft. high. There are portcullis grooves in the rounded
portions of the side walls. The entrance does not pass through the wall
at right angles, but obliquely towards the north, which the opening
faces. A wall runs north for 15 ft. from the east outer side of the
entrance, but its extremity terminates in block débris. In the angle
of the two walls at the outer foot of the entrance are traces of steps
leading for a few feet down the declivity along the west side of the
projecting wall.

The banquette wall rounds round the inside face of the main wall
on either side of the north-east or main entrance, and forms a
terrace behind it which would afford a good view over the main wall.
Practically the main wall and the banquette wall are one and the same
structure at certain points, since the stones of the main wall project
into the banquette; but at other points they are independent of each
other, and at these points the space between the two structures is
filled in with stones to the level of the summit of the banquette.

The eastern length of banquette starts from the east side of the
north-west entrance and runs along the inside of the main wall into
Enclosure D for a length of 17 ft., the summit being 6 ft. high
and 3 ft. 6 in. wide at the entrance and 5 ft. wide at its eastern
extremity. This length of banquette cannot be described as of excellent

The western length of banquette is 48 ft. long and 4 ft. to 8 ft.
high, and is 1 ft. wide at the north-west entrance, but widens out to
11 ft. at the west end, where it connects with the “conglomeration of
buttresses,” all rounded, which overlook every part of this ruin. The
workmanship in this length of banquette is somewhat inferior.

There are at least ten enclosures, and these, for the purposes of this
description, are lettered from A to H or named. On the west side there
are four outer enclosures, and these are lettered W to Z.

_Enclosure A._—The area of this enclosure is 105 ft. from north to
south, its longest points, and 51 ft. from east to west, its widest
points. It has four entrances.

The north-west entrance is the west entrance to these ruins, and has
already been described.

The south-west entrance is approached by an outer passage on this
side, but the actual entrance, owing to the amount of débris, can only
be traced, the débris being level with the summits of the walls on
either side. These walls are from 4 ft. to 5 ft. high, 3 ft. 6 in. on
their present summits, and are fairly well built. The passage walls
are 8 ft. apart for a length of 64 ft. from this enclosure towards the
south-west, at which point they curve off in different directions,
the west side wall running a further 51 ft. towards the west, with
traces of continuation. The east side wall curves round towards the
south-south-east for 105 ft., including gaps, and at its extremity
it becomes lost in débris, but in all probability, judging by recent
clearing away of débris and also by excavations, it ran up to the west
outer face of the Elliptical Temple. There are no signs of any entrance
passing through these side walls. The workmanship of both walls is
fairly good.

The north-east entrance is from Enclosure E, which lies on the
north-east side. This was a wide entrance with rounded sides, and
appears to have been built at a higher level than the floor of
Enclosure A, but the entrance and the steps leading up to it are now
almost lost in débris.

The east entrance is from Enclosure B. This was rounded, but is now
filled in to the top by wall débris.

The floor of this enclosure is formed by bed-rock. The highest parts of
the walls are as follows: south side, 4 ft.; east side, 7 ft.; north
side, 14 ft.; and west side, 5 ft. to 8 ft.

_Enclosure B._—The area of this enclosure, which lies at the south-east
side of Enclosure A, is 49 ft. from north to south and 23 ft. from east
to west. This enclosure has two entrances, the one on the west side
being the east entrance to Enclosure A, while the one on the north
side is from a passage which connects this enclosure with Enclosure F.
Both entrances are rounded. This enclosure appears to have been cleared
out to below the levels of the bottom of the foundations.

The passage connecting Enclosures B and F runs from south-west to
north-east. Including the two entrances, it is 23 ft. long, and 3 ft.
wide at the south-west end, and 5 ft. wide at the north-east end. The
side walls, which are very substantial, are still 8 ft. high. The
entrance from this passage into Enclosure F is formed by two large
rounded buttresses with portcullis grooves.

_Enclosure C._—This enclosure is on the west side of the ruins, and
is on the south side of the main and north-west entrance to these
ruins, and north of Enclosure A, and is on the inner side of the west
portion of the main wall. Its length from north to south is 43 ft.,
and its width from east to west 17 ft. The western length of banquette
wall forms its west side, and the face of this wall is poorly built.
The south wall must be considered as badly built. On its south and
south-east sides is the “conglomeration of buttresses,” the character
of which can better be seen by glancing at the accompanying plan. The
buttresses are almost circular, and have their centres filled with
stones, thrown in most promiscuously. The east wall is well built;
still it is inferior to any of the main walls of the Elliptical Temple.
Through this wall is an aperture 2 ft. wide and with side walls 3 ft.
high. The floor of this enclosure has been cleared away in places,
showing the foundations of the walls.

_Enclosure D._—This enclosure is on the inner side of the north portion
of the main wall, and east of the north-west entrance to these ruins
and of the Entrance Enclosure.

The area of this enclosure is 41 ft. from north to south, and 45 ft.
from east to west. It is bounded on the north, west, and south sides by
the banquette and main walls for 23 ft., on the west by the Entrance
Enclosure for 5 ft., and by Enclosure EE for 18 ft., on the south by
a wall dividing it from Enclosure E for 10 ft., but the rest of the
southern boundary wall for 12 ft. is now only débris, and in places can
barely be traced. On the east side is a wall 15 ft. long, 4 ft. high, 2
ft. 10 in. wide on present summit, which separates this enclosure from
Enclosure H; the rest of the eastern boundary is lost in débris.

From the north inner side of the main wall at 20 ft. from the
north-west corner of this enclosure there is a wall 4 ft. high
projecting southwards into the enclosure for 5 ft., and this has an
angular end.

A wall 6 ft. long, forming part of the passage from the north-west
entrance, projects into this enclosure. Judging by the arrangement of
débris in the space between this wall and the main wall, it is very
probable that there were steps here leading up to the summit of the
banquette wall.

At the eastern corner of this enclosure is the north entrance to these
ruins. This has already been described.

_Enclosure EE._—This enclosure is bounded on the north by Enclosure
D, on the north-west by Entrance Enclosure, on the west by Enclosure
C, and on the south by Enclosure E. Its area is 26 ft. from north to
south, and 27 ft. from east to west.

The floor of the south-west corner was once at a higher level than that
of the rest of the enclosure, and to this originally raised portion
there are remains of a narrow-rounded entrance on the south side, now
filled up with débris, from Enclosure E. There are traces of steps up
to this raised entrance. The floor of the aperture in the wall on the
east side of Enclosure C appears to have been on the level of this
raised floor.

_Enclosure E._—This lies directly to the south of Enclosure EE. Its
area is 49 ft. from north to south, and 48 ft. from east to west. It
is bounded on the west for 49 ft. by a wall and the “conglomeration
of buttresses” already mentioned, which respectively separates it from
Enclosures A and C; on the south for 45 ft. by Enclosures B and the
passage which connects Enclosures B and F; on the east for 36 ft. by
a wall and a large rounded buttress, which is one of the prominent
features of these ruins; the rest of the east boundary cannot be
traced, owing to débris piles; lastly, on the north by Enclosures EE
and D.

There are still two entrances remaining—one from Enclosure A and the
other from Enclosure C. Both are approached from the enclosure by
steps, now ruined but traceable, leading up either side of the central
buttress of the “conglomeration of buttresses.”

The large buttress on the east side is semi-circular, the centre of
its face is towards the west. It is 6 ft. high, 30 ft. round its face,
and is fairly well built, it being a wall with its internal portion
promiscuously thrown in till its summit was levelled throughout.

On the south-west are two rounded buttresses with their faces towards
the east and west respectively.

The enclosure contains piles of excavators’ soil débris of some age.

_Enclosure F._—This is situated on the east side of Enclosure E, and
lies between that enclosure and Enclosure G. Its area is roughly
circular, it being 37 ft. from north to south, and 42 ft. from east to
west. Its southern boundary is formed for 37 ft. by the outer south
wall of these ruins, which wall is 5 ft. high and 4 ft. wide on its
present very reduced summit. There is a gap of 12 ft. on its north-west
side, where there are now only traces of a wall.

The enclosure has two entrances now remaining—the entrance from the
passage leading from Enclosure B, which has already been described,
and an entrance through the outer south wall. This entrance which
is rounded is 2 ft. 6 in. wide, the side walls are 3 ft. high, and
there are portcullis grooves on either hand, and these have been
deliberately built up. This enclosure resembles the other portions of
these ruins with regard to large piles of soil débris on its area.

_Enclosure G._—This is the most easterly enclosure in these ruins. It
is bounded on the south by Enclosure F, on the west by Enclosure H,
and on the north and east by the outer east wall of the ruins, which
wall is 8 ft. high and 3 ft. 6 in. wide on its present summit. Its
area is 35 ft. from east to west, and 47 ft. from north to south. It
possessed three entrances, and these were on its west, north, and east
sides. The west entrance is barely distinguishable, but has traces of
its having been angular. The north entrance has rounded sides, and
leads from Enclosure H, a wall 22 ft. long and 5 ft. high forming a
division between the two enclosures. The enclosure has been filled in
with débris up to the level of this wall and overlooks the east end of
Enclosure H, which here is very much lower. The east entrance through
the outer wall is rounded on its south side, but the north side has

_Enclosure H._—This lies on the inner side of the north and north-east
portions of the main wall, which here is considerably broken. It is
bounded on the west by Enclosure D, on the south by Enclosures E and
F, and on the east by Enclosure G. Most probably there was an entrance
between the main wall on the east side and Enclosure G, and this led
to the network of ruins which are built up against this side of No. 1
Ruins and extend for some 300 yds. towards the east. The area of this
enclosure is 53 ft. from east to west, and 31 ft. from north to south.
The western end of this enclosure is considerably higher than the
eastern end.

_Outer enclosures._—Four enclosures lie to the west of the south-west
extremity of the main wall, and are separated from it by the passage
which leads to the west entrance of these ruins, and connects these
enclosures with Enclosure A.

These enclosures adjoin one another in a single line broadways from
south to north, there being a common wall for all of them on their west
sides. These enclosures are lettered W to Z, commencing at the south

Their areas are as follows:—

  W 25 ft. N. to S., and 20 ft. E. to W.
  X 15 ft.    〃          26 ft.    〃
  Y 12 ft.    〃          22 ft.    〃
  Z 16 ft.    〃          19 ft.    〃

                              RIDGE RUINS

These ruins are situated on the highest point of the bare granite ridge
which extends from the north-west of the _Elliptical Temple_ towards
the north-west, and curves towards the north, where it terminates at
_Havilah Camp_.

The southern extremity of these ruins is 140 yds. from the north-west
side of the _Elliptical Temple_ and 100 yds. west of _No. 1 Ruins_. The
path from the outspan and camp to the water springs and the _Elliptical
Temple_ passes close to its west side, while another path to the
_Temple_ passes close to its east side. The _Outer Defence Wall_,
which runs from the west side of the _Temple_ round towards the west,
north-west, and north of the _Acropolis Hill_, runs parallel to the
west side of these ruins at a distance of 96 ft. A number of euphorbia
trees and aloes line its walls, which are now comparatively low, the
highest parts being about 9 ft.

The whale-back granite glacis on which these ruins are built dips
sharply from immediately outside the walls all round these ruins,
except at the south-east end, which is here only slightly higher than
the present ground level outside the _Elliptical Temple_. Except for
vegetable mould at a few points, the whole of the floors of these ruins
are formed by the formation rock.

The plan of these ruins shows an oval area, with a long and wide outer
passage running along its east side for 246 ft. from the north to the
south of the oval enclosure, this passage having its southern extremity
well protected by traverses and buttressed entrances.

These ruins, though built of irregularly sized stones, have the faces
of the walls which still remain remarkably true and even, so much so
that experienced builders after examining the walls state that with
such irregularly sized stones it would be most difficult to erect
walls with faces as true as those of these ruins. There appears to
be no similarity whatever between the second-period architecture and
construction and these ruins, except that the filling-in of the walls
between their faces is more promiscuous than is the case with walls
of first-period architecture and construction. Its entrances and
buttresses are all rounded, and the walls have a fair batter-back,
there being no plumb wall present.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan RIDGE RUINS Zimbabwe.]

It would be difficult to state the purpose these ruins were intended to
serve, but seeing they occupy the most westerly position of the main
ruins’ area, and that they are built on a commanding and strategetic
position, it might be inferred, if their claim to any great antiquity
were established, that their purpose was that of a fort, defending
not only the westerly side of the main ruins’ area, but also part of
a main line of communication, of which the Parallel Passage formed
a section, between the _Elliptical Temple_ and the west end of the
_Acropolis Hill_. This suggestion is, in fact, apparently supported by
the numerous traverses in the passage, traces of which can still be
noticed, and by the fact that the oval enclosure overlooks the passage
throughout its length. But, as stated before, these ruins cannot at
present be classed as _ancient_, though they are undoubtedly of great

_Oval Enclosure._—The area of the oval enclosure is 170 ft. from north
to south, and 86 ft. from east to west. These are its longest and its
widest points. The floor is formed by comparatively level surfaces of
granite rock. There is very little soil within the enclosure, and this
consists of black mould, decomposed cement, and native clay. The walls
still standing average some 4 ft. to 7 ft. in height, and are about 3
ft. 6 in. wide on their present reduced summits, and are battered-back.
Plumb and angular walls are absent. The east wall is at one point
carried over a large boulder 8 ft. high, and a few courses of blocks on
the summit still remain. The north wall is considerably dilapidated,
and the débris of this portion lies on the face of the declivity.
The external faces of the walls are in a much better condition than
the inner faces, for trees and shrubs which could not grow on the
outer granite slopes manage to thrive in the very scanty soil of the
interior. This enclosure has been used by the natives as a cattle
kraal. Though cattle could not climb into the enclosure from outside,
they no doubt damaged the inside faces of the walls by attempting to
get outside from over the walls. The material for the stone foundations
of circular huts of no very great age, which are to be seen in the
enclosure, was very probably taken from the inside faces of the walls.

These Makalanga stone foundations, which are identical with those found
in old Makalanga kraals, occupy the following positions. At 60 ft.
from the south end and 12 ft. from the west side, foundations of stone
blocks 19 ft. in diameter. At 110 ft. from south end and almost facing
the west entrance, stone foundations of hut 22 ft. in diameter. At 8
ft. from north end foundation blocks disarranged and exact measurement
impossible. At 60 ft. from south end and 10 ft. from east side is
another foundation, but here again the blocks have become considerably

This enclosure has two entrances, and these are on the south and west
sides respectively. The south entrance is comparatively intact, but the
west entrance is buried in wall débris and can only be traced on one
side. Both are rounded. The south entrance walls are 3 ft. 6 in. high,
the passage is 2 ft. wide and 7 ft. long, and there are portcullis
grooves. The north side of the west entrance is formed by a large
boulder 6 ft. high.

There is no trace of ornamentation on the walls, but if it ever
existed, the walls having become so reduced, it must have disappeared.
No article was found for which the slightest antiquity could be
claimed, all the finds being obviously of native make, though somewhat
superior to their make of to-day.

_Parallel Passage._—Roughly speaking, the passage throughout its length
of 246 ft. from north to south runs parallel with the east wall of
the oval enclosure and follows it round in its curves, but narrowing
towards its southern extremity. There is no entrance from the passage
to the oval enclosure except at the south end. At the north end the
passage is 47 ft. wide, and the formation rock forms the floor; at
40 ft. further south the passage is 36 ft. wide; at 80 ft. from the
north end 22 ft. wide; at 160 ft., 19 ft. wide; at 190 ft., 13 ft.
wide, which width is maintained as far as the southern extremity. The
heights of the outer wall vary from 5 ft. to 7 ft., the best-preserved
lengths being near the southern end, where a pair of traverses with
rounded ends stand at a few feet north of the south entrance to the
passage. This entrance has rounded sides.

A passage crosses from east to west at the southern extremity, and in
it are three entrances with rounded sides. Opposite the south face
of the southern extremity of the passage, and at 6 ft. distance is
an independent screen wall, 16 ft. long and 5 ft. high, covering the
approach to the entrance from the south. At several points in the
parallel passage there are distinct traces of traverses.

The new path from _Havilah Camp_ to the _Elliptical Temple_ now runs
through the parallel passage of these ruins.

                           CAMP RUINS NO. 1.

Camp Ruins Nos. 1 and 2 lie north and south respectively of the
Shangani Grave, which separates them, the huts of the camp being built
on the north and wrest sides and within a few feet of the remains of
Camp Ruins No. 1, which is Sir John Willoughby’s No. 3 Ruins in his
_Further Excavations at Zimbabye_, 1892.

Sir John describes this ruin as follows:—

  “Previous to my arrival, the only trace of ruins here was one
  small stone buttress on the eastern side. My original intention
  was to find any wall foundations that might exist, and then to
  cross-cut right through the mound at their level from east to
  west, and from north to south. But I was deterred from carrying
  this out, because as the work proceeded, traces of cement
  floors at different levels were discovered. By starting low
  down the mound, I came upon a wall, varying in height from 4
  ft. to 6 ft., which encircled it. The original height of this
  wall can only be estimated by comparing the existing structure
  with the fallen débris which was buried by an accumulation of
  soil. At the foot of this wall, and on the outside, I found
  many specimens of arrow-heads, Kafir pottery, bracelets, and
  necklaces of iron and copper. I also found something which may
  perhaps prove to be an object of special interest. This was a
  piece of copper about 6 in. in length and a quarter of an inch
  thick, covered with a green substance (whether enamel, paint,
  or lacquer, I am unable to determine), and inlaid with one of
  the triangular Zimbabwe designs. It was buried 5 ft. below
  the surface, almost in contact with the east side of the wall

[Illustration: CAMP RUINS N^o. 1.


  “I also discovered a small cave under a big rock that
  culminates in the highest point of the mound, but the only
  object of interest here found, besides bits of coarse pottery,
  was a piece of crystal or glass. On driving into the mound
  through a somewhat broken entrance in the inside wall of the
  west side, I was much puzzled by striking a level cement floor
  some 4 ft. above the wall foundations, and on following this
  level I came upon a second floor about 2 ft. above the first.
  It would therefore seem that originally there were a series of
  cement terraces, one above the other, culminating in a point
  of observation on the south side on the summit of a large
  rock, or that different occupants at varying dates had made
  new floors. It was near this rock that I came upon one of the
  few pieces of masonry inside the other wall, and that only
  very fragmentary in character. In following the outside wall
  on its inner face, I found it varied in width between 2 ft. 6
  in. and 4 ft., and that its foundations also varied much in
  depth. In the cutting thus made I came upon three small furnace
  holes close together on a level with the top of the wall as it
  now stands, the foundations of which increased in depth as I
  proceeded, and disclosed here and there what appeared to be an
  extensive layer of ashes with the bones and teeth of animals. A
  notable peculiarity in this mound is the variety of stratified
  soil with folding concave towards the centre. The surface soil
  is more or less black; then comes a bright red clay divided by
  a broad yellow streak, and below this a dash of yellow, with
  here and there a vein of decomposed sandstone or other rocky
  substance. During this excavation I was not very successful in
  finds, which were only represented by three pieces of sea-green
  china, one of which was lying in the solid red clay below the
  surface, and 8 ft. to 10 ft. into the side of the mound, and
  two dull green porcelain beads, found 7 ft. deep and near its
  centre. Taking into consideration the ash beds and furnace
  holes already referred to, I feel justified in suggesting that
  once a workshop was here the scene of useful activity, and
  at that time surrounded by an irregular wall for protective
  purposes, with a point of outlook to guard against surprise,
  such as the big rock with the summit would represent.”

As the author resided actually within Camp Ruins for fully two years
(1902–4), very frequent opportunities of thoroughly examining the walls
have presented themselves, the result being that it is now ascertained
that these ruins as seen to-day can be shown to be not ancient but of
a some very old Makalanga period. The furnace holes alluded to have
been used for iron-smelting, and to the depth of 11 ft. no single
article approaching an antique or even mediæval character has been
found within or near its walls. The brass wire bangles found at depth
still have their grass, hair, or fibre intact. Garden hoes, assegai
heads, and coarse pottery of ordinary Kafir make are here found in
abundance. The green pottery beads are found in almost every ruin at
Zimbabwe, and never at lower depth than the yellow soil which lies
immediately under the black vegetable mould on the floors of all the
ruins. Certainly, the present natives do not know this class of beads.
That this building, as suggested by Sir John Willoughby, was once a
workshop is obvious from the quantities of iron slag and ashes and
burnt clay floors and iron furnaces found in the vicinity. The bones
of animals are mainly those of buck of all kinds. The construction of
the walls precludes any suggestion that they could have been standing
very many centuries, certainly not extending back to any period which
could, even by long inference, be considered “ancient.” The workmanship
is decidedly poorer than that shown in modern Kafir buildings in the

But while this ruin, as seen to-day, may not itself be ancient, there
is some evidence that the ancients must have fortified this knoll;
and when we consider its strategetic position on the granite ridge,
extending from the south-west foot of the Acropolis Hill and the
Elliptical Temple, it becomes highly probable that later people have
utilised the material of some older buildings once occupying this
position in the erection of their poorer structures. Foundations of
walls surround the knoll at distances of some fifty and one hundred
yards from these ruins, and these show a fair claim to be recognised as
ancient, or, at any rate, as older than the walls on the summit. The
“cement” mentioned by Sir John is common soil _daga_ (clay), similar to
that found in old Makalanga huts and floors.

The ruin crowning the knoll is roughly circular, with a diameter of
about 100 ft., with walls varying in height from 4 ft. to 6 ft. The
accompanying plan, with explanatory notes, kindly lent to the author
by Sir John Willoughby, shows the character of this ruin. The “finds”
made here in 1902–3 are identical with those discovered by Sir John

                            CAMP RUIN No. 2

This ruin lies 50 ft. south of Camp Ruins No. 1, and is on the same
knoll, the two being separated from each other by the Shangani

[Illustration: CAMP RUINS N^o. 2


Sir John Willoughby writes:—

“I carefully attacked Ruin No. 2, but with a disappointing result. It
merely appears to be an enclosure formed by an irregular outside wall,
varying in thickness and in the depth of its foundations. In tracing
this wall, the bed-rock was occasionally exposed at a depth of 3 ft.
The only ‘finds’ here were two small pieces of sea-green china, one
small piece of white china, a few Kafir arrow-heads, whorls of poor
make, two fragments of pottery having a kind of basket design, and a
copper or brass clasp or fastening, which probably formed part of a box
of modern date.”

This ruin has recently been re-examined with similarly disappointing
result, and the remarks made with regard to No. 1 Ruin apply equally
to this ruin. Clay foundations and floors of old Kafir huts fill the
interior at different levels. Probably in the most ancient period, long
before the present structures were erected, one large ruin occupied the
site of both Nos. 1 and 2 Ruins, and encircled and crowned the knoll,
for judging from very old foundations, walls surrounded the knoll. At
least there were two such walls, one being within and higher than the

                              CHAPTER XXI

                          RUINS NEAR ZIMBABWE

        East Ruins—Other Ruins within the Zimbabwe Ruins’ Area.

                              EAST RUINS

These ruins lie 20 yds. to the south of the Motelekwe Road at 550 yds.
east of Havilah Camp, and face the east end of the Acropolis Hill at a
distance of 300 yds. south.

They occupy a rise overlooking the Valley of Ruins, and are built
upon an open granite glacis which originally formed its floor. Their
elevated and strategetic position at once claim the attention of
visitors. These ruins have always been written and spoken of as being
a fort for the defence of the east side of the Valley of Ruins, and,
in fact, for all the ruins of the lower Zimbabwe group, including the
Elliptical Temple, and especially for the eastern end of the South-East
Ancient Ascent to the Acropolis. Judging from the contour of the
country round about, the only possible line the ancient road from the
east and the coast could have taken must have passed within a few yards
of this ruin.

The view from East Ruins towards the east is most extensive and
picturesque, for the land slopes on that side for over two miles
towards the Beroma Range and the valley of the Motelekwe, while in the
hollow are the Chipo-popo and Mapudzi rivers. Opposite are the peculiar
and romantic columns of granite near Chenga’s kraal.

For the purposes of defence these ruins are ideally situated. On the
south side they are protected by a steep declivity of some 40 ft. into
the valley, and down this the original builders and later occupiers
have shot their débris in great quantities. The space between the ruin
and the declivity, some 25 yds. in width and 100 ft. in length, is
covered with short lengths of walls and wall débris.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan

EAST RUINS Motelekwe Road Great Zimbabwe

_Single figures are heights of walls in feet._]

The area covered by these ruins is 140 ft. from north to south, and 93
ft. from east to west. It is most probable that on the south and east
sides there were other enclosures.

The walls on the north, west, and south are fairly well built and
massive, and are still some 8 ft. to 10 ft. in height, and average 3
ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. width of summit at those heights. The walls on the
south-east and east average a height of from 4 ft. to 7 ft., while the
divisional walls which remain have a reduced height of 4 ft. and 5 ft.,
and these latter are also substantially constructed.

There are four well-defined enclosures, the two on the west side being
the most perfect. The northern enclosure had once been subdivided into
at least six separate compartments.

Both in plan and construction these ruins excel most of the minor
ruins, including No. 1 Ruins, and many walls on the Acropolis. The
curved lines of the walls on the northern and southern sides are bold
and striking, and well and exactly carried out. Their solidity is very
noticeable, especially on both outer and inner faces. Not only are the
courses in these walls fairly even, but the blocks are well-sized and
are of a good quality of granite. In some portions of the walls the
workmanship is of an inferior character.

But, whatever the style of construction may be, the faces of the walls
are beautifully even from base to summit and also lengthways, for
placing one’s eye close up against the wall and glancing along an area
of wall-face, there is hardly to be seen half an inch of front of block
protruding in front of its neighbours. This, of course, does not apply
to the batter-back, which is only that of an average wall at Zimbabwe.
The impression gained on viewing these massive walls, which occupy such
an excellently strategetic position, is that the original builders
intended the building to be used for some important purpose.

The northern enclosure is 60 ft. from north to south, and 67 ft.
from east to west. The south-west enclosure is 61 ft. from north to
south, and 51 ft. from east to west. The eastern enclosure is 55 ft.
from north to south, and 22 ft. from east to west. The south-eastern
enclosure, which is rather rudely constructed, and the walls of which
are very considerably dilapidated, is 20 ft. from north to south, and
80 ft. from east to west.

There are three entrances through the outer walls, and these are on the
west, south, and east, and all are rounded; two have buttresses, one
has portcullis grooves, and the foundation forms the passage floor in
each case. Two divisional entrances now only remain, and these are also

Immediately inside the west entrance and on the north side is what
appears to have been a raised platform, facing west, about 4 ft. above
the original floor. This may have an area of 15 ft. from north to
south by 12 ft. from east to west, but the artificial filling-in of
the ruin with soil has raised the interior surface to the level of
this platform. Probably, as at other ruins at Zimbabwe with identical
platforms in corresponding positions, this afforded a look-out
overlooking the entrance. On the eastern side of these ruins there is a
similar but smaller structure which may have answered the same purpose.

In the eastern enclosure and on the east face of the west wall is a
recess starting upwards from the ground. This is 3 ft. high, 1 ft. 10
in. wide, and the blocks on each side respectively are flush-edged with
each other. The recess goes back about the length of two blocks (see
_Architecture_—_Blind Recesses_).

These ruins have been artificially filled in with soil to a depth of 3
ft. to 5 ft. by native occupiers of a comparatively late date, for the
soil on the surface and downwards to the bottom of the filling-in is
thick with old native pottery and the broken-up remains of Kafir huts.

Although almost every relic-hunter seems to have paid attention
to these ruins, nothing of any antique value has been found here.
Probably when the original occupiers left the granite floors were
still exposed, and any objects found there may have been removed long
before the filling-in took place. So far, there is no evidence that any
industry—whether of ancient, mediæval, or modern occupiers—has ever
been carried on in this building.


_Bentberg (Matusu)._—This kopje, which is 240 ft. above the threshold
of the West Entrance to the Elliptical Temple, lies immediately south
and south-west of the temple. Only 200 yds. separate the building from
the foot of the hill. Here are many signs of very old occupations in
the form of ruined terrace walls apparently of the Zimbabwe style, but
of a very late period. The local Makalanga state that though their
predecessors of the same race have had kraals on this hill, the terrace
walls are not of any Makalanga construction; and this appears to be
obvious. Further, though Makalanga pottery is abundant, yet there
can be found both pottery and cement of a very superior quality and
make; and such are repudiated by the natives as having been made by
Amangwa, Makalanga, or Barotse. Great quantities of quartz broken into
very small splinters are to be found in large areas on the hill. The
nearest quartz reefs are six miles west of Zimbabwe. The older remains
of terraces—many buried in silted soil—are to be found on the north
side of the hill, but traces of walls can be met with extending almost
to the summit and round the western flank. It is impossible to imagine
that the ancients did not in some manner occupy the hill, as otherwise
the Elliptical Temple would have been exposed on its south side without
any defences. The old Barotse had a kraal at the foot of the north side
of the hill just above the spot where are still the traces of Bent’s

_Rusivanga Kopje._—This hill (190 ft.) rises from the Zimbabwe Valley
at some 300 yds. west of Havilah Camp. It is directly on the right of
the road from Victoria to Zimbabwe at about a third of a mile from
the main ruins, the road passing between it and Makuma Kopje on which
is Mogabe’s kraal. The northern and eastern faces of this hill show
in places from base to summit abundant evidence of occupations by
ancients and also by very old Makalanga and Barotse. The remains of
walls are in most instances of inferior construction, though at some
points the courses of excellently built wall can be traced. There are
also rudely built ramparts and enclosure walls of some later period. On
the summit of the hill was once a fort. Fragments of soapstone, slate,
quartz, and ironstone are to be found, also large stone-crushers, some
excellent pottery, and cement work of superior quality. At one point
is a cement wall carried across the top of a boulder. There are stone
foundations of Makalanga huts which are circular and lined with cement,
and winnowing floors with raised edges. On the eastern side of the
hill two sets of _isafuba_ game-holes have been cut into the surface
of the granite rock. Each of these has thirty-six holes. On the west
side and near the summit there are at least thirty different sets of
game-holes cut into the granite, the holes of the sets varying in size.
On the open granite areas on the hill are several places where deep
depressions have been worn into the rock, evidently by the sharpening
of tools or by grinding stones.

_Ruin on Bingura’s Path._—This is located on the left-hand side of the
path leading to Bingura’s kraal at about half a mile from the camp.
Only its south-east wall is now standing, but its outlines can be
traced by piles of blocks on all other sides. The area covered is about
half an acre. The wall is well and substantially built, and is still 6
ft. high. This appears to be of very old construction. There have been
no important “finds” made here, the ruin not having yet been examined.
It occupies a strategetic position on slightly raised ground in the
valley between the Bentberg and Rusivanga.

                       RUIN NEAR CHENGA’S KRAAL

This is situated one mile and a quarter east of Havilah Camp, and is
the most easterly ruin of the Zimbabwe group. It stands upon a low
ledge on the west side of the Beroma Range, and is a quarter of a mile
west of Chenga’s kraal, and directly overlooks the Mapudzi stream,
which flows at about 60 ft. immediately below the west face of the
ruin. The position is strategetic and affords a view over several
valleys. The area covered by walls and stone débris is fully an acre
and a half, but the actual walls now standing in any recognisable form
of plan only cover 100 ft. by 80 ft.

A cluster of large boulders has been utilised, and over these and
between them the walls have been erected, the interior being filled
up with earth almost up to the summits of the walls by some later
occupiers. On clearing this foreign soil from the interior faces
of the walls, two buried entrances, both rounded, were discovered,
and it was then possible to prepare a plan of such of the walls as
were so cleared. Nothing of any antique value was found during these
operations, all the “finds,” which were not numerous, being of old
native articles.

All the walls are curved, and all buttresses, entrances, and ends of
walls are rounded, and have a distinct batter-back. The granite blocks
in some portions of the walls are as regular in size and shape as those
to be seen in the Elliptical Temple, but the construction is not of
the best. The outer faces of the walls have been first raised, and the
internal portions afterwards filled in with stones of all sizes and
shapes, but larger than those seen in the filling-in of the interiors
of many of the walls at Khami Ruins. The courses at some points are
very regular, but at others there has been no attempt at making any
courses. The column style of building adopted by old Makalanga and
Barotse is present in parts. The walls average about 4 ft. in width at
base and 3 ft. on present reduced summit. There is no mural decorative
work introduced.

[Illustration: Sketch Plan



The natives state that this ruin was not built by the same people that
built the rough walls of the minor ruins at Zimbabwe, their theory
being that it was erected by Barotse very many generations ago, and
on this point they are very emphatic. The translations of the native
expressions for relics are “pretty stone” and “money.” In starting work
here, the labourers, who receive small rewards for discovering relics,
grumbled considerably, and informed the author that it was useless to
work there, as no “pretty stones” or “money” would be found there.
Similar remarks were made about other small ruins, and in every case
they have been proved to be correct. Whether this ruin has actually any
claim to antiquity is a matter which, at present, it would be unsafe to
dogmatise upon.


These ruins are in a valley which runs north and south on the Beroma
Range at one mile distance south-east of Chenga’s kraal, and lie a few
yards to the west of the native path leading from Chenga’s to Madavid’s
kraal. Madavid is the native name for David, a Basuto, who lives near.

The area covered is fully a third of an acre on the summit of a knoll,
which rises some 30 ft. above the valley. Traces of walls covering an
area of an acre and a half are to be seen on the south, west, and north
sides. Large granite boulders have been utilised in the construction,
the walls being carried in curved lines from boulder to boulder,
enclosing a rudely drawn circular area 51 ft. from east to west, and
42 ft. from north to south. In one instance the wall is carried over a

The faces of the walls show good workmanship, the courses being fairly
even, the joints uniformly distributed, and the blocks regular in size.
The bases of the walls average from 4 ft. to 5 ft. in width, while the
very reduced summits are 3 ft. 6 in. wide at 5 ft. from the ground. The
walls display a carefulness in construction which is absent from some
of the divisional walls of the main ruins at Zimbabwe. The side walls
of the entrance on the east side of the building are most perfectly
rounded. There is no mural decoration. The interior of the building is
of earth, which contains Kafir pottery, etc. No exploration work has
been done here.


These ruins are situated at a distance of seven miles south-east of
Zimbabwe, and occupy a position overlooking the Motelekwe Valley,
and are on the eastern side of the lower shoulders of the southern
extremity of the Beroma Range. On the south side of the ruins the
ground falls in the direction of the Motelekwe River, which here flows
south to south-west of the ruins at the distance of about a mile. The
Mapaku kraal is a quarter of a mile north-west of the ruins. At the
village are some caves (_I-Baku_, cave; _Mapaku_, caves). The headman
is a Molinye, younger brother to the Mogabe Handisibishe of Zimbabwe.
Good water can be obtained from several places in the vicinity of the

[Illustration: MAPAKU RUINS or “Little Zimbabwe”]

The area covered by these ruins, excepting traces of outlying walls,
is 70 ft. from north to south, and 80 ft. from east to west. Though
the ruins are small in area, yet they have a considerable importance,
seeing that they form one of the ruins of the chain of such structures
which stretches at certain intervals from Zimbabwe along the Motelekwe
River, which chain again connects with the chain of a similar class
of ruins running from the lower Sabi in Portuguese territory in the
direction of Sofala. The chains of ruins appear to point out the
ancient approach from the coast to the metropolitan centre at Zimbabwe
and the gold districts of Southern Mashonaland and Matabeleland.

The thickness and height of the walls are the first features which
will strike anyone on entering the building, especially when the small
size of the centre ruins are taken into consideration. The walls are
all built on curved lines, and average a width of 4 to 5 ft. at the
base, and 3 ft. at present reduced summits at 8 ft. above the ground.
All the walls are built upon the granite rock formation, and there is
comparatively very little soil on the floors, and most of this is black
vegetable mould. Fortunately these ruins have not been subjected to the
filling-in operations of the very old Kafir peoples as have so very
many ancient ruins in Rhodesia. The absence of sufficient soil for the
growth of large trees has no doubt saved the walls from more serious
dilapidation. The walls are white with lichen, this being a feature in
all the ruins along the Motelekwe Valley, which, seen from Zimbabwe, is
usually filled with mist-fogs.

The main entrance evidently is the one on the south-west side of the
building, for here is a long narrow passage leading from the interior,
the passage running parallel to the south main wall forming an easily
defended approach. The ruins have only two entrances—the main entrance
and an angular entrance on the north side without portcullis grooves.
This latter entrance leads into an outer enclosure only, and is
protected on the inside by what may be described as a “sentry-box.”
This is a curved wall 7 ft. long and 5 ft. high, enclosing a small area
large enough to hold two or three men, and its entrance opens on to the
inside of the entrance in the main wall. There are several of these
“sentry-boxes” at Zimbabwe occupying exactly similar positions near

The interior of the building contains at least four enclosures and two
long passages, and these may be described as follows:—

No. 1 Enclosure, which is on the north-east side of the ruins, is
22 ft. from east to west, and 13 ft. 6 in. from north to south. The
floor is formation rock covered over (1903) with a few inches’ depth of
vegetable mould. The main wall, which forms its north and east sides,
is 6 ft. high throughout, the wall on the west is 8 ft. high, and the
curved walls which divide this enclosure from No. 2 Enclosure average
6 ft. and 7 ft. in height, except at the entrance to No. 2 Enclosure,
where the height on either side is reduced to 5 ft.



No. 2 Enclosure, which is roughly circular in form, is only approached
by one entrance, and this is on its north side, and leads from No. 1
Enclosure. This entrance is angular, and has portcullis grooves, and is
2 ft. 8 in. wide and 3 ft. 6 in. long. The walls of this enclosure are
substantially built, being 3 ft. wide at their summits, which average
7 ft. to 9 ft. in height. The area enclosed is 20 ft. from north to
south, and 24 ft. from east to west. This enclosure, judging by its
complicated approach, was evidently the principal part of the ruins.

Nos. 1 and 2 Enclosures are only approached by a passage 25 ft. long
running north and south, which is 2 ft. 10 in. wide at its northern
end and widens to 6 ft. 6 in. at the south end. The west wall of the
passage is from 5 ft. to 6 ft. high, and that on the east side 7 ft. to
8 ft. high.

Leading from the north end of this passage into No. 1 Enclosure is a
covered entrance, 5 ft. high, 2 ft. 6 in. wide, and 5 ft. long. The
roof is supported by flat granite slabs. On either side, and extending
from floor to roof, are portcullis grooves. This entrance is somewhat
dilapidated, and it is feared that one side of it may soon fall down.

No. 3 Enclosure is bounded on the north by the divisional wall of No.
2 Enclosure, on the east and south by the curved main wall, and on the
west by a very dilapidated divisional wall, which separates it from
No. 4 Enclosure. It is 21 ft. 6 in. from north to south at its widest
point, and about 35 ft. from east to west at its longest point.

This enclosure is the first to be approached from the main or west
entrance to the building, with which it is connected by a passage
running parallel to the south main wall for 28 ft. Where the passage
enters No. 3 Enclosure are the remains of a rounded buttress on the
north side. From this buttress the passage westwards is 4 ft. 6 in.
wide, but quickly narrows to 2 ft. 8 in., which width is maintained
till it reaches the main entrance. The wall on the south side of
the passage is from 6 ft. to 9 ft. high, and that on the north side
averages 5 ft., but is greatly dilapidated toward its eastern end.

No. 4 Enclosure is on the western side of the building, and is 41 ft.
from north to south at its broadest part, and 39 ft. from east to west
at its longest part.

On the south side of the exterior are two circular stone foundations
of one course each. These are 9 ft. in diameter. A number of granite
blocks lie to the east of the building, and suggest the former
existence of some structure.

The construction as a whole is somewhat similar to that seen in some of
the buildings in the Valley of Ruins at Zimbabwe. Straight joints and
tilted blocks, long and shallow in form, and a disregard of courses,
are the principal features in the workmanship shown in these ruins.
There is no mural decoration.


                                NOTE A

                            GREAT ZIMBABWE

                          NOTICE TO VISITORS

1. The only outspan is between Havilah Camp and the south side of the
Acropolis Hill.

2. No trees or bush on the Zimbabwe reserve to be cut by visitors or
their native servants. Cut firewood is provided on the outspan.

3. No visitor shall take into any ruin any spades or other tools for
the purpose of prospecting for relics or gold, or use the same within
the reserve. No excavated soil shall be panned, nor any stones removed
from the ruins. Surveys can only be made on the written authority of
the chief secretary.

4. Visitors are requested not to touch or damage old cement work,
or shake any ancient monoliths, or climb on walls or places marked
“Dangerous,” and are asked to assist the Government in the preservation
of the ruins by giving immediate notice to the magistrate at Victoria,
or to any official in charge of the ruins, of any of the above offences
being committed.

5. The provisions of the “Ancient Monuments Protection Ordinance,
1902,” with regard to the illegal possession of relics, prospecting for
same, or damage to ruins, and the consequent penalties of fines and
imprisonment for such offences will be strictly enforced.

6. The attention of visitors is also directed to the subjoined rules
framed under the said ordinance.

                                By order,
                                    H. H. CASTENS, _Chief Secretary_.

          _1st May, 1904._

                   GOVERNMENT NOTICE No. 103 OF 1904

                              CHIEF SECRETARY’S OFFICE, SALISBURY.
                                                  _28th April, 1904._

  It is hereby notified for public information that His Honour
  the Administrator has been pleased to approve of the subjoined
  rules, framed under the provisions of Section 7 of the “Ancient
  Monuments Protection Ordinance, 1902,” for visiting and
  inspecting the ruins of Zimbabwe.

  By command of His Honour the Administrator.

                                    H. H. CASTENS, _Chief Secretary_.

1. The public will ordinarily be permitted to visit and inspect the
ancient ruins at Zimbabwe between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.,
subject to the conditions prescribed by these rules.

2. Any person producing a written permit granted to him by the
Administrator, or by a magistrate, or a printed ticket in the
prescribed form for the admission of visitors to the ruins, will be
allowed access to them. All such permits and tickets shall, before
admission, be delivered to the caretaker or person in attendance at the

3. No person shall:—

  (1) Dig or search within or about the walls of the ruins for
        minerals, precious stones, or curiosities; or

  (2) Carry into any part of the ruins any spades or other tools;

  (3) Pan or sift any excavated soil in or about the ruins; or

  (4) Remove any stone, wood, brick, or material from the ruins;

  (5) Remove trees, shrubs, or plants growing within or about the
        ruins, under a penalty, upon conviction, of a sum not
        exceeding £5.

                                NOTE B

                           ROBERT M. W. SWAN

We regret to record the death, which took place on March 26th last,
of Mr. R. M. W. Swan, well known for his share in the earlier
investigations of the ruins of Mashonaland. Mr. Swan was born in 1858,
and after receiving a technical training in Glasgow University and in
the laboratory of Mr. R. Tattock, went out to Spain in 1878 in the
capacity of a mining expert. In 1879 he went to Greece, and the next
seven years were spent in mining work, principally in Antiparos and
neighbouring islands. In addition to his professional employment, he
devoted much attention to archæology, publishing several papers on his
researches, and sending many specimens to the British Museum. It was
during this period that he first made the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs.
Theodore Bent, whom he accompanied during their visits to several of
the islands, afterwards taking part in the expedition to Mashonaland,
carried out by them in 1891, for the examination of the Zimbabwe and
other ruins. During this expedition he undertook the cartographic
portion of the work, executing for the first time a careful plan of
the ruins, besides mapping the country along the routes followed,
and fixing the positions of a number of points astronomically. When,
after his return to this country, Mr. Bent described the results of
his journey before the Society, Mr. Swan added some notes on the
geography and meteorology of Mashonaland, and subsequently contributed
to the _Proceedings_ (May, 1892), a short paper on the orientation
of the ruins, showing in a striking way the close connection which
existed between the arrangement of the structures and the astronomical
phenomena to which, as sun-worshippers, their builders had paid so much
attention. The subject was more fully discussed in the section which he
contributed to Mr. Bent’s _Ruined Cities of Mashonaland_. The theory
which he developed was subjected to some criticism; but on returning
to South Africa to continue his investigations, he collected _data_,
which, as he claimed, fully bore out his ideas. During this journey,
carried out in 1893, he examined various ruins, till then undescribed,
besides doing something to improve the mapping of the country along his
route, which led inland by way of the Limpopo.

This visit to South Africa lasted about two years, spent in part in
geological and mining work. In 1896 he examined the mining districts of
Western Australia and Tasmania, and in 1898 went to Siam with a similar
object, leaving again, after a short visit to this country, for the
Malay Peninsula, where he was engaged in mining work until his death,
which took place at Kuala Lumpur after an operation for abscess of the
liver. Here, as in South Africa, he did much careful cartographical and
geological work.

Mr. Swan was an expert linguist, and from his residence in Greece had
acquired a great love for the classics. He possessed a large store
of knowledge on varied subjects, which he was always anxious to share
with others. He was a Fellow of the Geological and Chemical Societies,
as well as of our own, which he joined in 1893, having received the
Murchison Grant in 1892. (_Royal Geographical Society’s Journal_, May,

                                NOTE C

                      GREAT ZIMBABWE, JULY, 1903

This “find” consists of pottery of a very good quality about a quarter
of an inch thick, but covered with a most excellent glaze of blue,
white, and gold enamel, the white forming the background.

There are at least four bands of pattern which encircled a large open
bowl. No. 8 is a part of the rim, which was straight. No. 1 appears by
its form to have been portion of the upper band; Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7
the second band; No. 9 the third band; and a decoration of palm fronds,
in brown paint and in outline only, its lowest band.

The clay is a light brown and of fine quality.

The lettering or pattern is outlined with faint gold, with yellow
paint scroll-work filling the spaces between, and so minute are these
decorations that very few would notice them. They resemble, only on a
very minute scale, No. 3.

I cannot piece the fragments together, but Nos. 4 and 7 seem to fit.

The glaze is very thickly laid on, and both inside and outside are
covered, and it is of such splendid make, colour, and appearance that
many who have seen it say it is of the highest quality.

The inside is white, and has lines of faint blue artistically drawn
without being of any set pattern.

No portion of the base found would enable one to judge whether the bowl
had been made on a potter’s wheel or not.

All the fragments were found together on a deeply buried floor, and at
the same spot a quantity of large pieces of beaten gold and some gold
beads were discovered.

Some very thin light-brown pottery covered with white enamel, extending
some inches down from the rim inside and with thick bars of dull blue
enamel running from rim to centre, were also found at the same spot.

                                NOTE D

                            ZIMBABWE RUINS

  [Extracted, by permission, from the Reports (1900–1902) of the
  British South Africa Company.]

I arrived at Victoria on the 23rd May, and left for Zimbabwe the
following morning.

On inspecting the ruins I found the interior of the Elliptical Temple
one impenetrable jungle of trees, bushes, creepers, tall grass (6
to 10 ft.), and decayed tree stumps and branches, so that it was
impossible to see beyond a few feet, while the surface of the ground
was most irregular and thickly covered with wall débris. The air
inside was fetid and heavy-smelling from the rank vegetation. There
being no opening on the eastern side, the interior is protected from
the prevailing winds, and the sun shining on the damp, dense, and
almost tropical foliage and plant growth made the air oppressive and
unhealthy, so that one could not remain long at a time in the building.

Our first work was to clear away the undergrowth, but it was so dense
and matted with creepers that, with fifteen men working for a whole
day with hatchets, sickles, and spades, we were only able to advance
a few feet into the interior from the west entrance. It required nine
days for fifteen men to clear the interior of undergrowth alone. A
further three days were given to pulling up grass and shrub roots. The
atmosphere of the interior is completely changed, as the sun has dried
the surface of the ground. It is now possible to stand in the centre of
the building and obtain an uninterrupted view of the walls all round,
and at the same time to see at a glance the whole of the divisional
walls and enclosures.

The north side of the summit of the Conical Tower has in very recent
years been denuded of several courses of blocks owing to the boughs
of large trees swinging upon it in the high winds. The tower is more
reduced than is shown in photographs taken six years ago. The dentelle
ornamentation on the summit has practically disappeared within the last
ten years. Some ancient blocks in the top courses are likely to fall.
These blocks could be pushed back flush with the face of the tower, and
some of the blocks which have very recently fallen might be restored to
their original position. The summit when cleared of vegetation should
be cemented over. It is a feature in Zimbabwe construction everywhere
in Rhodesia, for a block, when it falls, to carry with it the stones of
the course beneath it.

Visitors point out that the tower has lately shown a tendency to tilt
somewhat towards the north-east. This is mainly due to the dense tree
growth enveloping the tower, which keeps it constantly dripping with
moisture, especially on the north side, where the main wall further
screens it from the morning sun. The only remedy appears to be to
so thin out the trees that the tower and its foundations may become
perfectly dry. The wet state of the tower has caused it to become
overgrown with lichen, which, decaying, produces vegetable matter
which lodges in the crevices of the courses, and out of which grow
small plants and shrubs, many of which we have removed. A large bush
was growing out from the side in mould so formed, and the remains of
a large bush on the summit are still to be seen. Should the tilting
not be prevented by such means as the thinning out of adjacent trees,
the value of the tower to scientists as a means of calculating the
orientation of the temple, and therefore its age, would become lost.
Three or four trees from close to the north-east, north, and north-west
sides of the tower have been cleared away, and the vicinity has already
a much drier appearance.

The dank air and soil round the tower have caused the extensive growth
of large parent monkey-rope trees, which with their ropes spread in
great lengths in all directions, thickly interlacing the tops of the
trees, while their roots have in very many places pierced into both
main and divisional walls and torn out lengths of stonework. Monkey
ropes appear to be the most active source of the dilapidations of the
walls near the tower, but wild vines also have done considerable harm.
Several hundred yards of monkey rope have been cut down and taken
outside the temple, also very long stretches of monkey rope roots have
been pulled up. All lower branches are being removed, so as to give a
clear view all round the temple. Some of the upper branches are being
thinned out.

The surface of the ground within the temple is covered with rich
leaf mould soil to a depth of at least one foot, and sometimes under
trees to a depth of one foot and a half. It is in this mould that
the thickets of large shrubs, creepers, especially monkey-ropes and
wild vines, seem to have thriven, as also in the débris heaps left by
Mr. Bent (1891) and Sir John Willoughby (1892), where the turning
over of the old time-hardened soil has ventilated it and caused most
sturdy growth of plants and trees. This leaf mould has been removed
from the floors of the inner parallel passage and in the passage on
the north-east, east, and south-east sides of No. 1 Enclosure, and
has been passed through sieves, and the soil neatly piled for future
examination. Thus has been removed in these places the unhealthy smell
formerly noticed. This work ought to be done in all internal enclosures
of the building.

All wall débris is being neatly stacked and piled near where it
obviously came from. All scattered stones on the floors are being
collected and placed in piles. This work has made the enclosures to
appear neat and tidy. Messrs. Bent and Willoughby’s débris is also
being stacked in much smaller compass. All débris heaps are being
marked “débris” on painted boards. A large quantity of such débris
might after examination be removed outside the building and stacked.

The summits of the main walls have been damaged at several points
by past and present boughs overspreading the walls and beating them
till several courses, the whole width of the walls, have disappeared,
thus causing depressions in the top line of walls at several points.
All branches, whether from trees within or without the temple, which
overhang the walls, are being carefully removed with the aid of
guide-ropes. Leaf mould has collected on the summits of the main walls
to such an extent that large shrubs and small trees are thriving on the
summits; these will be removed.

Seven monoliths have been found under the leaf mould and grass and
shrub roots both inside and outside the foot of the main walls. Their
former positions on the walls are being ascertained, and where obvious
they will be re-erected.

The chevron pattern on the outside of the walls of the temple has been
damaged, and in three places partially destroyed by large swinging
boughs. It is also destroyed in two places by heavy festoons of
creepers which had their roots in the open work of the pattern, the
roots pushing out some of the blocks of which the pattern is composed.
Some of these fallen blocks have been found, and there is a probability
that a portion of the pattern, where damaged, may be restored. It is
proposed to hand-pick all vegetable soil from the open spaces of the
pattern to prevent future growths of creepers.

A clearing 8 yds. wide has been made round the outside of the whole of
temple, and an inspection of the walls by visitors is now possible.

All the tops of divisional and broken portions and ends of walls, and
all interstices on both faces, are having the leaf mould carefully
hand-picked from them. This is a slow process, but will check their
dilapidation by vegetable growth for a very long time.

The trenches made by Mr. Bent and Sir John Willoughby are being cleared
of grass and silted soil, and their spade and pick marks on the bottoms
can be seen. No ancient floor or soil has been disturbed, the ancient
floors being some 3 ft. to 5 ft. below the present surface.

Roots of monkey-ropes and trees are binding the inside of main walls
below the present surface, as does a large plant in a small pot, and
are in most places, and below the surface, penetrating into the dry
masonry with damaging effect. I would suggest that a trench 2 ft. wide
by 3 ft. deep be made on the inside of all walls, and all such roots
removed. A yearly inspection of such trenches could be made, and any
new roots and runners lopped off as they appeared. Run-offs could be
made to prevent any accumulation of water in the trenches.

_Architectural features._—(_a_) Four ancient drains, in addition to
those mentioned by Bent and Willoughby, have been discovered.

(_b_) A rounded entrance with double curves; the only instance so far

(_c_) Three sets of stone steps and several square yards of ancient
cement flooring (not of the original builders) have been carefully

(_d_) A second-period architecture building with terraces superimposed
on the walls of a first-period ruin.

(_e_) An enlarged plan of the temple, based on Mr. Bent’s and Sir
John Willoughby’s measurements, is being prepared, and a quantity of
altogether fresh architectural detail included.

Though the present is not a treasure-seeking expedition, yet there is
strong probability that some “finds” of historic value may be made.

I have visited the Hill Fortress several times. Both the Western and
Eastern Temples on this hill are so full of undergrowth that it is
quite impossible to make any examination until it is cleared away.
Within a week I hope to put on men to make a good path up to the

The following new features in ancient architecture have been

1. A dentelle pattern till recently covered with wall débris. A portion
destroyed by roots (Acropolis Ascent).

2. A small enclosure with cemented lining on face of walls (Acropolis).

3. Three wedge-shaped buttresses, first set discovered in Rhodesia

4. Two drains, one showing signs of having been cemented (Acropolis).

5. A northern ancient ascent between parallel walls from large rounded
entrance near donga in the valley.

6. Passage 7 ft. deep and about 20 ft. long, completely buried in
fallen wall débris, over which the visitors’ path had crossed (South
Enclosure, Acropolis).

7. Passage 8 ft. deep and 30 ft. long, completely covered by wall
débris, over which the old visitors’ ascent path had crossed (Platform

8. The round towers on the large west wall of Acropolis can now be
shown, by the radii of stones of the top courses recently discovered,
to have originally been conical.

9. Two large ancient entrances, hitherto unknown, deliberately filled
in by Makalangas for graves, the remains removed and reburied with
Mogabe’s consent (Cleft Rock Enclosure).

10. The covered passage at foot of platform which had been blocked
up by Makalangas for graves (fifteen years old) cleared, the remains
removed and reburied with Mogabe’s consent. Visitors can now traverse
this passage.

                                NOTE E

  [Extracted from Report presented to the Chief Secretary,
  Government Offices, Salisbury, Rhodesia, November, 1903.]

_Zimbabwe, Acropolis Ruins._—I regret having to report that the
slanting granite beam on the platform at the Western Temple of the
Acropolis Ruins has fallen and is fractured. This happened during the
heavy thunder and rain storms of last week. The discovery of its fall
was made to-day by Mr. Molyneux (Scientific Association, Bulawayo),
Mr. Herbert Hayles (Sheriff of Victoria), and myself. No clearing or
any other operations have been conducted here within a distance of
twenty feet. Mr. Molyneux thoroughly agrees with me that the fall was
perfectly natural.

The beam has for at least twelve years leant over at a severe angle,
and now it can be seen that it was once perpendicular. The base was
only fixed in the stonework for 1 ft. 8 in. The length of the beam from
the base was 12 ft. 11 in., but this was longer by 2 ft. 4 in. some
time previously to Mr. Theodore Bent’s visit in 1891.

The great marvel is that no one has been killed by its fall, for many
visitors climbing to the platform have used the beam to assist in the
ascent, and also in descending, and I have, as is well known, on scores
of occasions warned them not to do so.

The beam in falling did but slight damage to the surrounding masonry.
The portions of the beam are now laid together.

I have photographs of the platform, and showing this beam, taken from
all points of the compass.

                                RICH^{D.} N. HALL,
                                         _Curator of Great Zimbabwe_.

                                NOTE F

                       GREAT ZIMBABWE IN 1902–3

  No.          Article.                                  Where found.

  1. Gold wire bangle, 3½ oz.                    { South Terrace,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  2. Beaten gold round carbonised wood.          }
       A few gold tacks in the wood              }        Do.

  3. Head and neck of carved soapstone           }
       bird (the ninth yet discovered); believed } Western Temple,
       to be the largest and best-preserved      }   Acropolis.
       specimen                                  }

  4. Fragment of carved soapstone bowl.          }
       Two horned animals                        }        Do.

  5. Fragment of carved soapstone bowl.          } South Enclosure,
       Herring-bone on cord pattern              }   Acropolis.

  6. Fragment of carved soapstone bowl.          } Western Temple,
       Horned animal                             }   Acropolis.

  7. Fragment of rim of carved soapstone         } South Enclosure,
       bowl, cord pattern                        }   Acropolis.

   8. Two sections of large soapstone bowl;      }
        believed to be two of the three          } No. 2. Enclosure,
        missing sections of bowl lent by the     }   Elliptical Temple.
        Right Hon. C. J. Rhodes to the           }
        Cape Town Museum                         }

   9. Phallus in two sections; found broken;     } Elliptical Temple.
        undecorated soapstone                    }

  10. Phallus (section of), with “breast and     }
        furrow” pattern, which was an            }        Do.
        ancient symbol of fertility; soapstone   }

  11. Phallus (section of), found with true      }        Do.
        phalli; soapstone; undecorated.          }

  12. Phallus; soapstone                         }        Do.

  13. Phallus (section of), “breast and furrow”  }
        pattern; soapstone                       }        Do.

  14. Base of phallus; soapstone; found          }        Do.
        with true phalli                         }

  15. Cut soapstone, plain, found with true      }        Do.
        phalli                                   }

  16. Phallus (section of, conjectured), found   }        Do.
        with true phalli; soapstone              }

  17. Soapstone amulet                             Acropolis.

  18. Soapstone whorl                              Elliptical Temple.

  19. Ten fragments of neck of carved soapstone  }        Do.
        vase                                     }

  20. Fragment of carved rim of soapstone        } No. 10 Enclosure,
        bowl; cord pattern                       }   Acropolis.

  21. Carved soapstone bead                      } Elliptical Temple.

  22. Four pottery whorls and two fragments      }        Do.

  23. Serpentine stone, with veins of asbestos   }
        chrysotile (not chrysolithic,            }
        as stated by Mr. Bent); not ordinary     }
        asbestos, but similar to Canadian.       } Western Temple,
        Veins have decomposed before             }   Acropolis.
        body of stone                            }

  24.               Do.                          }        Do.

  25. Copper spearhead                           }        Do.

  26. Two copper spearheads, broken              }        Do.

  27. Two iron ringed instruments, conjectured   }
        to have belonged to Arab                 } Elliptical Temple.
        colony once settled at Zimbabwe          }

  28. Two wedge-shape headed nails                        Do.

  29. Beaten copper                                Acropolis.

  30. Iron handle of double-pointed iron         } Elliptical Temple.
        hand-pick                                }

  31. Jasper stone with gold embedded.           }
        Found with burnishing stones             } No. 10 Enclosure.

  32. Quartz pebble, showing visible gold;       }
        also artificially worn. Found with       }        Do.
        burnishing tools                         }

  33. Quartz pebble, showing visible gold.       }        Do.
        Found with burnishing tools              }

  34. Collection of stone tools, artificially    }
        worn; some are burnishers. 3 ft.         }        Do.
        deep                                     }

  35. Fragments of soapstone beams; crude        } Acropolis.
        decorations                              }

  36. Collection of iron articles from depth     }
        in Elliptical Temple which has not       }
        been occupied as a Makalanga kraal       } Elliptical Temple.
        for over sixty years                     }

  37. Collection of seven fragments of soapstone } Acropolis and
        bowls                                    }   Elliptical Temple.

  38. Section of soapstone mould                 { No. 7 Enclosure,
                                                 {   Elliptical Temple.

  39. Cake of gold                                 North-East Passage.

  40. Stone, both water and artificially worn,   }
        showing gold on both sides. Found        } No. 10 Enclosure,
        with burnishing tools                    }   Elliptical Temple.

  41. Flat stone showing gold on one side.       }        Do.
        Found with burnishing tools              }

  42. Three portions of crucibles, six clay      } No. 6 Enclosure,
        scorifiers, one portion of clay lining   }   Elliptical Temple.
        of furnace, all showing gold in flux     }

  43. Fragment of soapstone bowl, herring-bone   } No. 1 Enclosure,
        pattern on cord                          }   Elliptical Temple.

  44. Fragment of soapstone bowl, herring-bone   } No. 6 Enclosure,
        pattern on cord                          }   Elliptical Temple.

  45. Fragment of soapstone bowl, carved         { No. 7 Enclosure,
                                                 {   Elliptical Temple.

  46. Fragment of soapstone bowl, cord           } No. 6 Enclosure,
        pattern                                  }   Elliptical Temple.

  47. Fragment of large soapstone bowl,          }        Do.
        carved                                   }

  48. Section of soapstone mould; conjectured    }        Do.
        old Makalanga                            }

  49.                Do.                                  Do.

  50. Soapstone I-daha pipe bowl, carved;        } Elliptical Temple.
        old Makalanga                            }

  51. Soapstone amulet                           { No. 6 Enclosure,
                                                 {   Elliptical Temple.

  52. Iron pincers; conjectured old Makalanga    }        Do.

  53. Iron gong; do.                                      Do.

  54.                Do.                                  Do.

  55. Barbed copper spearhead                    { Western Temple,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  56. Twenty-three pottery whorls                { On old Makalanga
                                                 {   floors.

  57. Conjectured base of soapstone phallus,     } No. 6 Enclosure,
        converted by old Makalanga               }  Elliptical Temple.
        into a crude mould                       }

  58_a_. }                                       { Summit of main wall
  58_b_. } Three sections of soapstone beams     {   above chevron
  58_c_. }                                       {   pattern, Elliptical
                                                 {   Temple.

  59. Section of soapstone beam                  { Eastern Temple,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  60.                Do.                                  Do.

  61.                Do.                                  Do.

  62.                Do.                                  Do.

  63.                Do.                                  Do.

  64.     Do. (showing tool marks)                        Do.

  65. Section of cement cylinder with bevel      } Mauch Ruins.
        round base. Age uncertain                }

  66. Beaten gold                                { Western Temple,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  67. Forked iron instrument, with six gold      }
        bosses riveted with gold; spiral         }        Do.
        grooves at base                          }

  68. Beaten gold (2⅛ oz.)                         Valley of Ruins.

                                                 { W. and E. Temples,
  69. Phalli (8) and fragments of phalli         {   Acropolis, and
                                                 {   Philips Ruins.

  70. Fragments of rim of soapstone bowl         } No. 5 Enclosure,
        carved with procession of horned         }   Elliptical Temple.
        animals. Pieces fit each other           }

  71. Pottery animals (3); conjectured old       } No. 1 Enclosure,
        Makalanga                                }   Elliptical Temple.

  72. I-daha pipe-bowls (2) of soapstone,        } No. 5 Enclosure,
        carved; conjectured old Makalanga        }   Elliptical Temple.

  73. Iron with gravitating holes for drawing    }
        wire; old Makalanga. These wire          } No. 6 Enclosure,
        drawers were in use until a few years    }   Elliptical Temple.

  74. Copper finger-rings (2); snake pattern       Renders Ruins.

  75. Copper sheathing (2 lbs.)                  { Western Temple,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  76. Single iron gong                             Renders Ruins.

  77. Large piece of coral                         Renders Ruins.

  78. Pottery whorls (200)                         Old native floors.

  79. Double iron gongs (3 sets) and single      } Upper floors.
        gongs (2)                                }

  80. Serpentine stone                             Elliptical Temple.

  81. Nozzle of blow-pipe                                 Do.

  82. Porcelain beads, unknown to present        } Western Temple,
        natives. 5 ft. deep                      }   Acropolis.

  83. Pottery beads, unknown to present          } Various ruins.
        natives                                  }

  84. Soapstone amulet or seal (?)                 Renders Ruins.

  85. Block of solid copper                               Do.

  86. Iron striker found with gong                        Do.

  87. Quantity of fragments of carved             } Elliptical Temple.
        soapstone. Ribbed pattern                 }

  88. Fragments of rim of soapstone bowl          }
        carved with ring pattern. (These          } Maund Ruins.
        fit together)                             }

  89. Portion of carved soapstone beam            }
        converted into double claw-hammer         } Elliptical Temple.
        shaped ingot moulds                       }

  90. Soapstone phallus                           { Platform Area,
                                                  {   Elliptical Temple.

  91. Copper barbed spearheads (2)                { Platform Area,
                                                  {   Elliptical Temple.

  92. Soapstone with gravitating holes             Renders Ruins.

  93. 2⅛ oz. beaten gold, gold beads, gold
        bar, and gold wire

                                                 { From near arc wall
                                                 {   in Philips Ruins;
  94. Fifteen sections of soapstone beams        {   also from circular
        (plain)                                  {   cement platform in
                                                 {   Platform Area,
                                                 {   Elliptical Temple.

  95. Case of sections of soapstone bowls,       { Elliptical Temple,
        plain and decorated                      {   Acropolis and
                                                 {   Philips Ruins.

  96. Section of carved soapstone beam             No. 15 Enclosure,
                                                     Elliptical Temple.

  97. Iron spoon                                   Renders Ruins.

  98. Iron lamp and stand (conjectured)                   Do.

  99. Iron pick                                    Elliptical Temple.

  100. Iron pick and 2 handles                            Do.

  101. Twisted iron wire in coils                  Renders Ruins.

  102. Bar mould of soapstone                      Elliptical Temple.

  103. Section of soapstone beam carved          { Western Temple,
         with maize pattern                      {   Acropolis.

  104. Bundle of brass wire bangles                Renders Ruins.

  105. Three iron nails                            Elliptical Temple.

  106. Ornamented iron spearhead                 { Western Temple,
                                                 {   Acropolis.

  107. Bevelled cement                             General.

  108. Spearhead                                   Renders Ruins.

  109. Two stone balls                             Elliptical Temple.

  110. Collection of specimens of hoes,
         assegai-heads, arrow-heads, axes,
         and iron-work found in ruins

  111. Several pieces of worked soapstone

  112. Soapstone bird on beam                      Philips Ruins.

  113. Packet of large gold beads, 1 in.         }
         fine gold chain, one single gold wire   } Various Ruins.
         bangle, gold wire, and beaten gold      }

  114. Four soapstone phalli (one ornate)        } Philips Ruins.
         and two amulets                         }

  115. Two small bronze bells                      Renders Ruins.

  116. Two large enamelled beads                   Western Temple.

  117. Collections of copper ingots, copper      } Elliptical Temple,
         bars, copper wire, copper bangles,      } Renders Ruins,
         and cakes of copper                     } and Acropolis.

  118. Copper band 12 ft. 6 in. long and         } Renders Ruins.
         1 in. wide                              }

  119. Box of Nankin china, sections showing     }
         plates of various sizes and             } From most ruins.
         designs                                 }

  120. Portions of glass basin, engraved         } No. 7 Enclosure,
         and hand-painted                        }   Elliptical Temple.

  121. Glazed pottery, with conjectured          } Renders Ruins.
         post-Koranic lettering                  }

  122. Fragments of Venetian glass                        Do.

  123. Fragments of antique glazed earthenware,  }        Do.
         showing potter’s wheel marks            }

  124. Three fragments of antique pottery,       }        Do.
         glazed                                  }

  125. 12 ft. fine copper chain                           Do.

  126. Pottery nozzle of blow-pipe                        Do.

  127. Fused brass wire                                   Do.

  128. Two iron instruments                               Do.

  129. Bronze axe-head, and fractured bronze     }
         arrow-head                              } Western Temple.

  130_a_. Part of young lion’s jaw                  Renders Ruins.
   〃 _b_. Large lump of resin                             Do.
   〃 _c_. Wart-hog tusk                                   Do.
   〃 _d_. Two sections of glass prism                     Do.

  131. Remains of antique copper box                      Do.

  132. Oldest form of gold crucible, showing     } Exterior (west) of
         gold in flux                            }   Elliptical Temple.

  133. Piece of slag showing gold                         Do.

  134. Packet of sheets of beaten gold           { Parallel Passage,
                                                 {   Elliptical Temple.

  135. Several cases of duplicates of soapstone, }
         iron, copper, and pottery               } Various Ruins.
         articles                                }

                                NOTE G


             Examinations made by the Author, August, 1903

_No. 1 Hole._—No. 5 Enclosure. 6 yds. south-east of west entrance.

3 ft. 10 in. diameter.

9 in. to 12 in., burnt clay floor (pinkish), 2 in. layer of small

Below floor, bright yellow granite sand, set very hard, contains no

On north side to 3 ft. depth, old trench of prospectors, filled in with
blocks and red soil.

Formation rock exposed at 8 ft. 7 in., and this has a fall of 1½ in. in
3 ft. 10 in. towards east.

Surface of bed-rock is rough and decomposed to a depth of ⅓ of an inch,
and can easily be chipped with pick.

Above formation rock is 1 ft. depth of granite sand, filled with flakes
of decomposed granite from rock, and of deep orange colour.

Water passes along surface of bed-rock, and soil was damp and wet for 3
in. in depth.

_No. 2 Hole._—No. 5 Enclosure. 6 ft. north-east of monoliths.

3 ft. 9 in. diameter.

1 ft. burnt clay floor and scattered blocks and granite chips, soil
damp for 2 ft. and wet for a few inches above formation rock, which is
decomposed and easily scaled.

Formation rock disclosed at 12 ft. 7 in., with fall of 7 in. in 3 ft. 6
in. towards E.N.E.

Sides show bright yellow granite sand set hard, and no stones.

_No. 3 Hole._—South side of No. 5 Enclosure.

3 ft. 9 in. diameter.

6 in. burnt clay floor.

Sand red at top and yellow beneath; no stones.

Bed-rock covered with 1 ft. depth of decomposed granite with aphite
chips, surface of rock rough and greatly decomposed; aphite chips.

Formation rock disclosed at 10 ft. 1 in. depth.

Fall of rock 4 in. in 3 ft. 4 in. towards east.

Bottom very wet.

_No. 4. Hole._—Between No. 5 Enclosure and Central Area.

3 ft. 6 in. diameter.

9 in. burnt clay and small stones, forming bedding for clay.

2 ft. red veld soil.

1 ft. 8 in. decomposed granite above rock.

Rest bright yellowy and set hard.

Formation rock disclosed at 12 ft. 1 in. depth, showing fall of 3 in.
in 3 ft. towards north and north-east.

Bottom very wet.

_No. 5 Hole._—West side of No. 6 Enclosure.

At depth of 11 ft. no formation rock, but rods showed rock at 3 ft. 4
in. lower; unsafe to make hole deeper. Soil very wet.

_No. 6 Hole._—East end of No. 6 Enclosure.

At depth of 14 ft. no sign of rock.

_No. 7 Hole._—Centre of Platform Area.

At depth of 12 ft. no sign of rock; bottom wet.

_No. 8 Hole._—Centre of Central Area.

At depth of 8 ft. no trace of rock. Hole passed through two clay
floors, and below one granite cement floor.

The Central Area had previously been cleared to a depth of 5 ft. before
hole was sunk.


  =Abolosi.= _See_ =Barosie=

  =Acropolis Ruins=—
    Situation, 3
    First impressions of, 5
    View from, 6–11
    Sunset on, 24–30
    Description of, 276–362
    S.E. ascent, 276–294
    Lower Parapet, 282–286
    Rock Passage, 286–288
    Higher Parapet, 288–290
    Original heights of walls, 290, 291
    Ascent from coast route, 291, 292
    Possible ancient scenes on ascent, 293, 294
    Dentelle Pattern on ascent, 285, 289
    Western Enclosure, 294–296
    Western Temple, xxviii, xxix, 297–309
    North Wall, 298, 299
    West Wall, 299, 300
    Monoliths and Conical Towers, 300, 302
    Architecture and construction of West Wall, 302, 303
    South Wall, 303, 304
    East side of Western Temple, 304
    Centre of arc of West Wall, 304–307
    Covered Passage, 307
    Platform Cave, 307, 308
    Stairs to Platform, 308
    Parallel Passage, 308
    Internal walls, xxix, 308, 309
    Sections of floors, xxviii, xxix, 309
    Platform Enclosure, 310–312
    Cleft Rock Enclosure, 312, 313
    The Platform, 313–315, 441, 442
    Balcony Wall, 315
    Little Enclosure, 315, 316
    The Winding Stairs, 316
    Upper Passage, 316
    East Passage, 316
    Buttress Passage, 317, 318
    South Enclosure A, 318
    South Cave, 319, 320
    South Passage, 320
    South Enclosure B, 320, 321
    South Enclosure C, 321
    Central Passage, 321
    Eastern Temple, 323–335
    Section of Eastern Temple, 324
    Plan of Eastern Temple, 326
    Dentelle Pattern at Eastern Temple, 328
    Bent’s “altar” at Eastern Temple, 333
    The Ancient Balcony, 335, 336
    Gold Furnace Enclosure, 337, 338
    Balcony Cave, 337
    Balcony Enclosure, 336
    Upper Gold Furnace Enclosure, 338
    Pattern Passage, 338, 339
    Step Pattern, 339
    Recess Enclosure, 340, 341
    North Plateau, 341, 342
    North Parapet, 342, 343
    N.W. ascent, 344–349
    Water Gate Ruins, 349–353
    Terraced Enclosures on N.W. face of hill, 353–357
    South Terrace, 357, 358
    Outspan Ruins, 279, 358–362

  =Aden (Eudaemon)=, 67

  =Almaquah (Venus or Ashtaroth)=, Sabæan Divinity, 108, 194

  =Amangwa Tribe=, 53, 57, 59, 84, 85, 91

  =Ancient Architecture at Zimbabwe=, 135–192
    Sabæans (Himyarites) as builders, xxxii, xxxvii (note), 136, 193,
    Degree of durability of walls, 138
    Dilapidations, 139–148
    Makalanga walls within ruins, xxix, 149–152, 312, 336, 373
    Some other walls not ancient, xxvii, xxix, 152
    Makalanga huts within ruins, xx, xxix, 149–156, 365, 368, 373, 413
    Passages, 156–162
    Entrances and buttresses, 162–166
    Dilapidations to entrances and buttresses, 166, 167
    Drains, 168–172
    Battering of walls, 172–174
    Monoliths, 174–176
    Soapstone monoliths, 176–178
    Number of monoliths still more or less erect, 178–180
    Slate and granite beams, 180, 181
    Cement dadoes, 181–182, 240, 372, 375, 383
    Built-up crevices, 182, 183
    Holes in wall other than drains, 183, 184, 423
    Blind steps and platforms, 184, 185, 236, 240, 254, 261, 385
    Ancient walls at a distance from any main ruins are of less
        superior construction, 185–187
    Cement, 187–189
    Ancients and caves and rock holes (_see_ =Caves=), 189–192
    Recesses, 340, 341, 379
    “Sentry-boxes,” 374, 430

  =Ancient clothing=, surmise as to, 293

  =Ancient output of gold=, 292

  =Ancient relics discovered at Zimbabwe=, 102–135
    Inventory of, 142, 148

  =Ancient road, Zimbabwe and Sofala=, Taunton, 63, 74

  =Arab “finds” at Zimbabwe=—
    Box, 116
    Lamp chain, 116
    Lamp-stand, 118
    Iron keys, 122
    Calcedony beads, 126
    Glass, 128
    Pottery, 131, 436

  =Arab gold and ivory traders=, 67

  =Arab trading station at Zimbabwe=, 132–134

  =Area of Zimbabwe Ruins=, xv-xvii

  =Arowi Kopje=, 11, 66, 69, 95

  =Ashtaroth.= _See_ =Almaquah=

  =Bailey, Thomas=, grave of, 19

  =Baranzimba’s kraal=, 10, 16, 52
    His old kraal, 52, 57
    The headman, 41, 88

  =Barbosa, Duarte= (1514), on the Makalanga, 123, 132, 133

  =Barotse (Barosie, Marosie, Varosie, Abolosi)=—
    Derivation and origin of, 81, 82
    Excellent stone-builders, 82, 85
    Jerri’s people Barotse, 82
    Head kraal at Zimbabwe, 8, 83, 424
    Resided in the ruins, 83
    Resided on Bentberg, 153
    Totem of race, 91
    Totem of tribe, 91–92
    Pottery, 129
    Kraal of Motumi, 58

  =Baduma Tribe=, 91, 94

  =Beads=, 126
    Gold, 113
    Calcedony, 126
    Porcelain, 132
    Glass, 132
    Ivory and bone, 126
    Unknown to natives, 306

  =Bent, F.R.G.S., Theodore=, xv, xvii, xxix, 3, 8, 18, 35, 39, 55, 64,
      106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 125, 135, 151, 161, 171, 193, 195, 198,
      208, 209, 218, 221, 222, 223, 226, 234, 242, 244, 245, 265, 272,
      273, 295, 296, 304, 306, 327, 338

  =Bentberg Hill (Matusa)=, 7, 8, 9, 137
    Ruins on, 424

  =Benzi=, nickname of the present Mogabe, 42

  =Beroma Range=, 11, 31, 49, 51, 63

  =Beroma Ruins=, 68, 69

  =Besa Mountains=, 10

  =Bethûl=, “dwelling-place of God” of Phœnicians, 15

  =Bingura=, Amangwa chief, 57

  =Bingura’s kraal=, 9, 17, 57, 58, 84

  =Bingura’s Path=, 56, 59, 137

  =Bingura’s Path Ruins=, 425

  =Brass articles=, bangles and wire, 123, 124
    Brass bartered for by Makalanga (1514), 123

  “=Breasts, Queen of Sheba’s=,” on Beroma Range, Zimbabwe. _See_
      =Marsgi= and =Sueba=

  =British South Africa Company=, 2, 3, 279

  =Bryce, Professor=, on Makalanga stone buildings, 151

  =Budge, Dr.= (British Museum), opinion on Arabian glass, 128
    On “finds” in later ruins, xviii, xix, xxvi

  =Bungu=, Makalanga Headman, 55

  =Burial-places of ancients=, searches for, xvii-xviii

  =Bushman paintings= absent from Zimbabwe district, 192

  =Byblos, Temple of=, in Phœnicia, compared with Great Zimbabwe,
      xxxix, 245

  =Camp Ruins Nos. 1 and 2=, 414–419

  =Calcedony beads=, 126
    Prof. Flinders Petrie’s opinion on, 126

  =Caves=, 189–192
    At Wuwuli, 55
      Chibfuko, 59
      Chicagomboni, 61
      Mapaku, 63, 70
      Majerri, 73
      Nini, 86
    South Cave, 319, 320
    Balcony Cave, 337

  =Chamananga (Middle Kopje)=, 56

  =Chenga=, Makalanga headman, derivation and position, 11, 17, 31, 41,

  =Chenga Ruins=, 66, 67, 426, 427

  =Chenga and MaDavid’s Path Ruins=, 428

  =Cherimbila=, Makalanga chief, 10
    Renders died at kraal, 62
    Stone buildings at kraal, 152

  =Chevron pattern= at—
    Majerri Ruins, 73
    Elliptical Temple, 147, 211–213

  =Chibfuko Hill=, 10
    Caves at, 59

  =Chicagomboni Hill=, 61

  =Chickwanda’s kraal=, 95

  =Chinaka’s kraal=, 72

  =China=, Nankin, 130
    Arabian, 131
    Sketch of, with Arabic lettering, 131, 436

  =Chinongu’s kraal=, 11

  =Chipadzi’s kraal=, 52, 59, 60, 61

  =Chipfuno= (late Mogabe), 42, 55

  =Chipo-popo Falls=, 51

  =Comoro Islands=, peopled by Jews under Solomon, xxxvii

  =Condor, Colonel=, Syro-Arabian archæologist, 4

  =Conical towers= at—
    Elliptical Temple, 240–246
    Traces on walls, 208
    Western Temple, 297, 300–302
    Outspan Ruins, 361
    Philips Ruins, 380, 381
    Posselt Ruins, 372
    Byblos, xxxix, 245

  =Copper articles=, 115–116
    Sheathing, 115
    Spearheads, 115, 116
    Wire, 116
    Cakes and slag, 116
    Ore, 116
    Cupolas, 116
    Chain, 116
    Box, bangles, finger-rings, 116

  =Coral=, finds of, 134

  =Cotopaxi Mountain=, 10

  =Cowrie shells=, finds of, 133

  =De Barros= (1552) mentions Zimbabwe, xxvi, 132

  =Delitzsch, F.=, on the signs of the Babylonian Zodiac, xxxviii

  =Dentelle pattern= on—
    Conical Tower, 243
    S.E. ascent, 285, 289
    Platform of Western Temple, 314
    Eastern Temple, 325, 328

  =Derembghe’s kraal=, 95

  =Doro (Dorah)=, native beer, 16, 18, 45, 46

  =Drew, Mr. Alfred=, Native Commissioner, Victoria district, 2, 59,
      81, 82, 85, 86, 152, 156

  =East Kopje= (Mazanda), 64

  =East Ruins=, 420–423

  =Edwards, M.E., the late Telford=, on the ancient mines of Rhodesia,
    on the terraced slopes of Inyanga, xxxiv

  =Elliptical Temple=, 3
    First impressions of, 4
    Sunday morning in, 13–16
    Midnight in, 16–24
    Goldsmith’s shop in, 256
    Formation rock under, 449, 450
    Plan, xxiii, 193–197
    Construction of, 197–199
    Measurement of main wall, 199–204
    Summit of main wall, xxiii, 205–210
    Foundations of, 210–211
    Probable ages of walls of, xxiii
    Chevron pattern, 211–213
    Ground surface of exterior of, 213–215, 449, 450
    N.W. entrance, 216–218
    Plan of, 217
    North entrance, xx, 218–222
    Plan of, 219
    West entrance, 222–224
    Enclosure Nos. 1–7, xxii, 7, 225–236
    Sacred Enclosure, 237–240
    Conical Tower, 240–244
    Small Tower, 244
    Bent on import of, 244, 245
    Dr. Schlichter, do., 245, 246
    Parallel Passage, xx, 246–250
    The Platform, 251, 252
    No. 9 Enclosure, xxii, 253, 254
     〃 10 〃 xxii, 254, 256
     〃 11 〃 257–260
     〃 12 〃 260, 261
     〃 13 〃 261, 262
     〃 14 〃 262, 263
     〃 15 〃 263, 264
    Central Area, xxii, 264, 265
    Platform Area, xxi, xxii, 265–267
    Cement platform, 267
    Inner Parallel Passage, 267–269
    South Passage, 269–271
    West Passage, 272, 273
    N.E. Passage, 273, 274
    Outer Parallel Passage, 274, 275

  =Eudaemon (Aden)=, 67

  =Explorations at Zimbabwe=—
    Extracts from Reports by author to Government, 437–442

  =Ezion-geber=, a gold mart, xxxii
    Joint port of Jews and Phœnicians, 67

  =Finger Rock= (Morgenster), 51

  =Flux on gold scorifiers=, analysis of, 114

  =Foreign stones= at Zimbabwe: dolorite, quartz, jasper, serpentine,
      calcedony, crystal, metamorphic slate, mica schist, ironstone,
      copper ore, flint, 125

  =Frond Glen=, 51

  =Fuko-ya-Nebandge=—the Mashonaland relic, 86–88

  =Gallois, L.=, attributes the Rhodesian monuments to the Himyarites,

  =Glass finds=—
    Venetian, 127
    Arabian, 128
    Dr. Budge’s opinion thereon, 128

  =Gobele’s kraal=, 60, 71

  =Gold articles=—
    Two periods of gold manufacture at Zimbabwe, xix, xx, 111
    Gold crucibles, 112, 113
    Gold beads, 113
    Beaten gold, 113
    Gold tacks, 113
    Bar and cake gold, 113
    Gold bangles, 114
    Gold scorifiers, 114
    Dr. Hahn’s opinion on, 114, 115

  =Goruma Hill=, 71

  =Government notices= to visitors, 3, 433, 434

  =Grandidier, Alfred=, on the early relations of the Israelites with
      Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, xxxvii

  =Hahn, Dr. P. Daniel=, metallurgical chemist, opinion on gold
      scorifiers, 111, 114, 115
    On soil under west wall of temple, xxv, 210, 211
    On metamorphic slate, 257

  =Haig, General=, on terraced slopes of South Arabia, xxxiv

  =Hand-clapping=, 100

  =Havilah=, of Scripture, identified with Rhodesia, xxxii, 15, 68

  =Havilah Camp=, Zimbabwe—
    Residence of author, 2, 16
    A day at, 31–50
    Evening at, 48–50

  =Hayles, Mr. H. H.=, of Victoria, 3

  =Helm, Dr. John=, of “Morgenster,” 53, 81, 363

  =Herring-bone pattern=—
    Carved, 110
    On wall, 352

  =Himyarites=, builders of the earliest Rhodesian monuments, xxxii,
      xxxvii (note)
    Source of their food supplies, xxxiii
    Their old Semitic language long survived in Abyssinia (Geez), and
        still survives in South Arabia (Ehkili), xli

  =Humours of Explorations=, 48

  =I’daha (hemp)= smoking, 45

  =Idumean Jew=, impression of, xxxvii, 101

  =Ingot moulds=, double claw-hammer-shaped, 110
    Straight bar moulds, 111

  =Ingumaruru Hill=, 71

  =Inner Defence Wall=, 358, 359

  =Inscription=, the vanished Great Zimbabwe, probably post-Koranic,
    Himyaritic and Phœnician, absence of, on Rhodesian monuments
        explained, xxxix-xlii
    Searched for, xviii, xix

  =Inventory of Relics and Finds= discovered by author at Zimbabwe,

  =Iron articles= discovered—
    Hoes, 116
    Picks, 117
    Chisels, 118
    Spoon, spearhead, lamp-stand, bangles, 118
    “Collars” and “shoes,” 119
    Forked instrument and pincers, 120, 121
    Gongs, 121, 122
    Rod or sceptre, keys (conjectured), 122
    Smelting furnaces, 123

  =Inyanga district=, its terraced slopes, xxxiv
    Its “slave-pits” relatively recent, xxxv
    Its terraces dissimilar to Zimbabwe terraces, 354

  =Inyuni Hills=, 11, 69

  =Isafuba game=, 32, 43, 44, 45
    Holes on Rusivanga, 425
    Holes at S.E. Ruins, 397

  =I’zhuba Kuru (Sunday)=, 46

  =Jerri’s people=, Barotse tribe, 82
    Lived at Khami Ruins till 1836, 82
    Now live at Jerri Mountains, South Mashonaland, 82

  =Kaprazine=, the Monomotapa in 1620, 133

  =Kafir= (Kaffir), derivation of, 30

  =Keane, Dr. A. H.=, his solution of the “Gold of Ophir” question,
      xxxi-xliii, 3

  =Khami Ruins=
    Jerri’s people (Barotse) lived here till 1836, 82, 121
    Some walls at, similar to Barotse walls in Zimbabwe district, 426

  =Livouri Mountains=, 9, 10
    Niande Hill at, 10, 62, 69, 76

  =Louw, Rev. A. A.=, “Morgenster,” 53, 81

  =Lovugwe country=, 11

  =Lumbo Rocks=, 8
    Described, 52
    Stones from, 180

  =Lumbo kraal=, 88

  =Madagascar=, its early relations with the Jews, xxxvii

  =Magdoshu kingdom=, xxvi

  =Mahobohobo trees=, 53, 60, 79, 155

  =Majerri Ruins=, 65, 73

  =Makalanga “People of the Sun,”= 80–101
    Appearance of, 2, 6
    Feasts of full moon, 16–24
    Feasts of new moon, 27
    Dread of ruins at night, 19
    Labourers, 31–50
    Letter-runners, 33
    Dual character, 38
    Defilement by touching dead, 43
    =I’daha= smokers, 45
    =Doro= drinkers, 45, 46
    Talking distances, 47
    Blood-cupping, 55
    Sunday, 46
    Mystic Bar, 57
    Chibfuko Hill, veneration of, 59
    Will not disclose ruins, 68
    Light-skinned boy, 73
    Women’s skin pattern, 74, 96
    Where found to-day, 81
    Language polished, 81
    Makalaka, a nickname for, 81, 90
    Once a powerful nation, 80
    At Zimbabwe, sixteenth century, 80
    Excellent stone-builders, 82, 151
    Used ruins as cattle kraals, 83
    Barbosa, refers to, 123, 132, 133
    Check pattern on huts, 74
    Name for Elliptical Temple, 85
    Idea of origin of ruins, 85, 86
    Agricultural and pastoral people, 89, 95
    Intellectual and physical superiority of, 89
    Contact with Portuguese, 90
    Totem of Zimbabwe, 90
    Objects of veneration, 91
    Insects eaten by, 92
    Astronomical ideas, 92
    Sacrifices by, 93, 259, 270
    Burial customs, 94, 95
    Manufactures, 95
    Dress, 96
    Witchcraft, 97
    Harmony, 97
    Proverbs, 98
    Whorls, 99
    Salutations, 100
    Jewish customs, 100, 101
    Of 1514 bartered gold for brass, 123
    Pottery, 40, 41, 129, 130
    Occupied Elliptical Temple until sixty years ago, 254

  =Makuma Kopje=, 9, 26, 32, 33, 160

  =Mamba=, or =Mombo=, old dynastic title of Barotse chiefs, 82

  =Manamuli’s kraal=, 72

  =Mandarali’s kraal=, 65

  =Mandindindi’s Ruin=, 71

  =Mangwa= (Morgenster), 84

  =Mapaku Ruins= (“Little Zimbabwe”), 7, 11, 60, 63, 292, 428–432

  =Mapaku kraal=, 70

  =Mapudzi Stream=, 7, 59, 61, 66

  =Marosie.= _See_ =Barotse=.

  =Marota’s kraal=, 72

  =Marsgi Hill= (one of “Sheba’s Breasts”), 11, 66, 69

  =Mashona=, derivation of, 80

  =Masua’s kraal=, 63, 95

  =Masungye=, 84

  =Mauch, Dr. Karl=, German scientist, 9, 62, 185, 242, 243, 270

  =Mauch Ruins=, 392–396

  =Maund Ruins=, “find” at, 110
    Description of, 383–386

  =Matgwain=, a Barotse, 59

  =Mazanda= (East Kopje), 64

  =Mazili River=, 72

  =Meziro River=, 71, 72

  =Middle Kopje= (Chamananga), 56

  =Milton, Sir W. H.=, xxx

  =Mogabe, the=, Handisibishe, 2, 6, 39, 40, 42, 83, 84, 85, 279
    His kraal, 16

  =Mogabe, the late, Chipfuno=, 6, 55, 84, 218, 279, 333, 355

  =Mogabe, the late=, Molinye, 84

  =Mogabe, the late=, Mokomo, 312

  =Mogoma’s kraal=, 62, 63

  =Mojejèje= (Mystic Bar), 55, 57

  =Molembo Tribe=, their Jewish customs, 101
    Metal smiths, 111

  =Monomotapa, the=, 80, 85
    Kapranzine (1620), 133
    Pedro (1643), 133, 280

  “=Morgenster Mission=,” 52

  =Moro!= salutation, origin of, 100

  =Moscha=, a port of “Ophir,” 67

  =Moshagashi Valley=, 1, 11

  =Moshagashi River=, 10, 51, 69

  =Mowishawasha Valley=, 8, 53

  =Mowishawasha Hill=, 10, 54, 59

  =Motelekwe River=, derivation of, 7, 9, 11, 53, 54, 60, 125, 291

  =Motuminshaba Hill=, 11

  =Motumi= (a Barotse headman), 58
    His kraal, 58, 59, 63

  =Motusa (Bentberg)=, 7, 8

  =M’Tijeni’s kraal=, 11

  =M’Tima’s kraal=, 10

  =M’uali= (the chief spirit; in some districts the prophet of the
      Deity), 19, 94

  =Müller, Professor=, on Zimbabwe, 193

  =Munda= (a Makalanga headman), 73, 74

  =Mystic Bar.= _See_ =Mojejèje=

  =N’Djena Valley=, 53

  =Neal, the late W. G.=, co-author of _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_,

  =Niande Hill= (Livouri), 10

  =Nini country=, near Zimbabwe, 9, 61, 62, 84, 85, 95

  =No. 1 Ruins=, location of, 8, 19
    Description of, 398–410

  =North-East Passage=, discovered by author in 1902, 273, 274

  =Omar l’Wardi= (_circa_ 1200 A.D.) on gold of S.E. Africa, 123

  =Ophir=, not a gold land but a gold mart, xxxii
    Is identified by Oppert with Tharshish, xlii
    Dr. Keane, author of _The Gold of_, 5

  =Oppert, Professor G.=, his solution of the “Tharshish-Ophir” problem
      examined, xlii-xliii

  =Outer Defence Wall=, 210, 358, 410

  =Outer Parallel Passage=, 274, 275

  =Outspan Ruins=, 279
    Described, 358–362

  =Output of gold, ancient=, 292

  =Paphos=, embossed cylinder from, compared with one from Great
      Zimbabwe, xxxix

  =Pasosa Ruins=, 10

  =Passages=, xx, 156–162
    _At Elliptical Temple_—
      Parallel Passage, 246–250
      Inner Parallel Passage, 267, 268
      South Passage, 269–271
      West Passage, 272, 273
      No. 10 Enclosure Passage, 256
    _Passages outside Elliptical Temple_—
      Outer Parallel Passage, 274, 275
      N.E. Passage, 273, 274, 390
    _Passages on Zimbabwe Hill_—
      S.E. ascent, 279–294
      Central Passage, 321, 322
      Sunken Passage (Eastern Temple), 332
      South Cave Passage, 319
      Covered Passage, 307
      Parallel Passage, 308
      Winding Stairs, 316
      Upper Passage, 316
      East Passage, 316, 317
      Buttress Passage, 317, 318
      South Passage, 320
      Pattern Passage, 338, 339
      N.W. ascent, 344–349
    _In Minor Ruins_—
      Outspan Ruins, 360, 361
      Ridge Ruins, 413, 414
      No. 1 Ruins, 402, 406
    _In Valley of Ruins_—
      N.E. Passage, 390
      Bent’s Passage, 395
      Posselt Ruins, 370–372
      Philips Ruins, 381
      Maund Ruins, 384
      Mauch Ruins, 393, 395
      Renders Ruins, 390, 391
    _Near Zimbabwe_—
      Mapaku Ruins, 430

  =Pedro=, the Monomotapa in 1643, 133

  =Petrie, Professor Dr.=, Egyptologist, opinion on pattern on bowl,
    On calcedony beads, 126

  =Phalli=, 104

  =Phœnicia=, xxxvii, xxxix, xl, 213, 245

  =Philips, George=, elephant hunter from Natal, 9, 62

  =Philips Ruins=, 103, 105, 107, 108, 376–383

  =Plunket, Hon. E. M.=, on the Babylonian Calendar and Zodiac, xxxviii

  =Posselt, The Brothers=, big-game hunters, resided at Zimbabwe,
      1888–9, 7
    Camp at, 8
    Visited Majerri ruins, 74
    Discover “Fuko-ya-Nebandge,” 86, 87
    Soapstone birds, 333

  =Posselt Ruins=, 366–375

  =Pottery=, Barotse, 129
    Makalanga, 129, 130
    Of uncertain date, 130, 131, 132, 436

  =Providential Pass=, 9

  =Relics and “finds”= at Zimbabwe (1902–1904)—
    Inventory of, 442, 448
    Descriptions of, 102–134
    Positions and associations of “finds,” sections of floors, 103, 134
    Soapstone articles, 104–111, 333
    Gold articles, 111–115
    Copper articles, 115, 116
    Iron articles, 116, 123
    Brass articles, 123, 124
    Foreign stones, 124–126
    Glass, pottery, and china, 127–132
    Mediæval Arab articles, 132–134
    Arabian glass, 128
    Arabian pottery, 131
    Venetian glass, 127
    Tin, 116

  =Renders, Adam, “Sa-adama,”= ivory trader, rediscoverer of Zimbabwe,
    Camp at Zimbabwe, 9
    Camp at Nini, 9
    Cave at Chicagomboni, 61
    Death, 62

  =Renders Ruins=, 386–391

  =Ridge Ruins=, location of, 8
    Description of, 410–414

  =Rock Holes Path=, 190, 312

  =Rugutsi Kopje=, 54

  =Rumeni Ruin=, 71

  =Rushumbi Hill=, 72

  =Rusinga Rocks=, 69

  =Rusingu=, native name for Elliptical Temple, 85

  =Rusivanga Kopje=, derivation of, 9
    References to, 125, 137, 189
    Ruins on, 424

  “=Sa-adama.=” _See_ =Renders=

  =Sabæans (Himyarites)= of South Arabia, worshipped Almaquah (Venus,
      Ashtaroth), 108
    As original builders, 136
    Parallelisms with Sabæan architecture, 193, 194

  =Sabi (Sabæ, Saba) River=, no native derivation, 67
    Ruins in Sabi Valley, 197, 291

  =Salutations=, native, 100

  =Sana=, South Arabia, its decorative art compared with that of the
      Rhodesian monuments, xxxvi

  =Sanuto, Livio= (1588), 132

  =Sayce, Dr. A. H.=, on the Ophir of Scriptures, xxxii
    On the Babylonian Zodiac, xxxix

  =Schlichter, Dr.=, German archæologist, 7
    Camp at Zimbabwe, 7
    References to, 198
    On Conical Tower, 245, 246
    On centres of arc walls, 304
    On the Zimbabwe Zodiac, xxxviii

  =Schlichter Gorge=, 7, 11
    Description of, 60, 61, 64

  =Selous, Mr. F. C.=, big-game hunter, on moulds, 110, 151

  “=Sheba’s Breasts.=” _See_ =Marsgi= and =Sueba=

  =Skarduza’s kraal=, 72

  =Soapstone beams=, 104–106
    Birds, 106–108
    Position of birds, 106
    Bowls, 108–111
    Ingot moulds, 110–111

  =Sofala=, identified with Tharshish, xxxii
    Zimbabwe road to, 63, 67, 74

  =South Arabia=, its terraced slopes, xxxiv

  =South-East Ruins=, 396, 397

  =Stanley, Sir H. H.=, on double iron gongs used in Upper Congo, 122

  =Step pattern=, 339

  =Sueba Hill= (one of “Sheba’s Breasts”), derivation and position, 11,
      66, 72

  =Suku Dingle=, 56, 187

  =Swan, the late M. W.=, explorer of Zimbabwe, biographical notice of,
      434, 436

  =Tchivi Kopje=, 11

  =Thabas Imamba=, 82, 91

  =Tharshish=, probably the present Sofala, xxxii
    Identified by Oppert with “Ophir,” xlii

  =Tokwe River=, derivation of, 9

  =Valley of Ruins, the=, 3, 363–397, 398–419

  =Varosie.= _See_ =Barotse=

  =Veroma Range.= _See_ =Beroma=

  =Victoria, township of=, 1, 2, 10, 33, 41
    Native names for, 99

  =Visitors to Zimbabwe=, regulations, 433

  =Washa.= _See_ =Mowishawasha=

  =Water Gate Ruins=, 349–353

  =Welsh Bardic emblem= (parallelism), 18, 96

  “=West Wall controversy=,” xxiv-xxvii

  =White, M.E., Mr. Franklin= (Bulawayo), xxx

  =Whorls=, soapstone, 111
    Pottery, 127

  =Willoughby, Sir John=, xv
    On extent of Great Zimbabwe Ruins, xxxiii
    Explorations, 8, 135, 137, 170, 190, 191, 222, 234, 400, 414

  =Wilson, Major Alan=, grave at Zimbabwe, 5, 8, 19
    Removal of remains, 5

  =Wuwuli Village and Caves=, 54

  =Yemen=, South Arabia, 15, 293

  =Zimbabwe, The Great=—
    Derivation of, 1, 85
    Author’s arrival at, 1, 2
    Lord Milner’s visit, 2
    Dr. K. Mauch at, 9
    Bent’s camp at, 3
    Dr. Schlichter at, 7
    Posselt Brothers reside at, 7, 8
    Willoughby’s camp, 8
    Adam Renders’ camp, 9
    George Philips’ camp, 9
    Reserve, map of, 3
    Ruins’ area, plan of, 7
    Bentberg, 7
    Makuma Kopje, 9
    Arab station at, 132–184

  =Zimbabwe creeper=, 4, 78, 147

  =Zimbabwe Hill=, 2, 276–362

  =Zimbabwe revival=, xxix

  =Zimbabwe, Sofala Road=, 63, 74

  =Zodiac, the Zimbabwe=, its antiquity vindicated, xxxviii


|                                                                      |
|                             FOOTNOTES:                               |
|                                                                      |
| [1] The major portion of this Preface was read before the British    |
| Association at Cambridge, August 17, 1904.                           |
|                                                                      |
| [2] Stanford, 1901.                                                  |
|                                                                      |
| [3] On this crucial point I am glad to find myself in accord         |
| with Dr. A. H. Sayce, who has independently arrived at the same      |
| conclusion. “There is no gold in Southern Arabia,” he writes, “and   |
| consequently Ophir must have been an emporium to which the gold was  |
| brought for transhipment from elsewhere” _The Early History of the   |
| Hebrews_, 1897, p. 463).                                             |
|                                                                      |
| [4] Somewhat similar terraced slopes are to be found in the          |
| Lydenburg district of Transvaal Colony.                              |
|                                                                      |
| [5] See _Lundi Ruins_, in _Ancient Ruins_, p. 178.                   |
|                                                                      |
| [6] So also M. L. Gallois, in a review of _The Gold of Ophir_,       |
| contributed to the _Annales de Géographie_ for September 15, 1902:   |
| “Ces monuments de l’Afrique du Sud ont _une parenté certaine_, avec  |
| les monuments himyarites de l’Arabie méridionale. Les hommes qui     |
| ont construit les forteresses de la Rhodesia venaient, portés par    |
| la mousson, de la côte méridionale d’Arabie chercher l’or du Manica  |
| et du Mashona.”                                                      |
|                                                                      |
| [7] _Babel und Bibel_, p. 44.                                        |
|                                                                      |
| [8] _Assyria_, pp. 110, 116.                                         |
|                                                                      |
| [9] _Gold of Ophir_, p. 6.                                           |
|                                                                      |
| [10] _Ruined Cities_, p. 167.                                        |
|                                                                      |
| [11] And, it may be asked, in the above-quoted passage from 1        |
| Kings, does the expression “ships of Tharshish” mean “ships of       |
| the sea”? The Hebrew text has אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ, “ships of Tharshish.”     |
| And if for Tharshish we substitute Ophir—Oppert’s alternative        |
| suggestion—we get nonsense; “ships of Ophir go to Ophir.” Even the   |
| “higher critics” will scarcely accept this.                          |
|                                                                      |
| [12] _Das Problem scheint jetzt in der That gëlost_ (No. 19, 1902,   |
| p. 357).                                                             |
|                                                                      |
| [13] Correctly, _Zim-bāb-gi_ (_zimba_, pl. buildings; _mābgi_, pl.   |
| stones), words in common use in _Chicaranga_, the language of the    |
| Makalanga. Authorities on _Chicaranga_ agree that _zimba_, though    |
| applying to dwellings, is also applied to buildings which are not    |
| dwellings.                                                           |
|                                                                      |
| [14] See _Appendix_, Note A. Government Notice, No. 103 of 1904,     |
| “Great Zimbabwe, Notice to Visitors, with Regulations.”              |
|                                                                      |
| [15] Remains removed to Matoppas, 1904.                              |
|                                                                      |
| [16] Correctly, _Motirikoi_ (_Chicaranga_, “a river that rises       |
| suddenly”).                                                          |
|                                                                      |
| [17] Correctly, _Togue_ (passive); in _Chicaranga_, “a river where   |
| people are swept away.” The _Togue_ is a strong and fast-running     |
| river.                                                               |
|                                                                      |
| [18] In _Chicaranga_, “the hill of those who ran away.”              |
|                                                                      |
| [19] “Black.”                                                        |
|                                                                      |
| [20] Chewers, probably of tobacco.                                   |
|                                                                      |
| [21] Usually but wrongly spelt _Kaffir_. It is the Arabic كافِر,      |
| Káfir = Infidel, Unbeliever, applied indifferently to all            |
| non-Mohammedan peoples, hence has no ethnical significance.          |
|                                                                      |
| [22] In _Chicaranga_ the Zulu _l_ becomes _r_. The Sebele _l_ in     |
| _Abolse_ (see pp. 3, 17, 133, 134, and 191 _The Ancient Ruins_, 2nd  |
| edition) becomes _r_—or _Barose_, _Barotse_, etc.                    |
|                                                                      |
| [23] The Mogabe Handisibishe is called _Benzi_, “the quarrelsome     |
| man,” owing to his frequent quarrellings with the chiefs of other    |
| Makalanga tribes.                                                    |
|                                                                      |
| [24] See also Isafuba, _Ancient Ruins_, pp. 79, 80, 140, 152, 268.   |
|                                                                      |
| [25] Waterfall (_Chicaranga_).                                       |
|                                                                      |
| [26] Bingura’s people are Amangwa.                                   |
|                                                                      |
| [27] _Mashona_, probably a corruption of _Mashuli_, _Mahuli_,        |
| “slaves,” is the name by which the Makalanga are known to the        |
| whites; hence “Mashonaland,” the now established name of their       |
| territory, which should properly be _Makalangaland_.                 |
|                                                                      |
| [28] _Barotse_, _Barose_, _Marose_, and _Varose_ are all variant     |
| forms of _Baharutse_, who appear to be the original stock of the     |
| Bechuana nation, hence are regarded by all the other branches of     |
| the family as their “elder brothers.”                                |
|                                                                      |
| [29] The proper totem of the Barotse people is the _Chuene_ (Cape    |
| baboon), but sub-tribes of Barotse each have also a totem of their   |
| own. The _Mamba_ (puff-adder) was the totem of the Barotse of        |
| Thabas I’Mamba districts.                                            |
|                                                                      |
| [30] Coillard, pp. 220, 224, and 333.                                |
|                                                                      |
| [31] See Dr. Keane’s Introduction to this volume; also _The Gold     |
| of Ophir_; also M. Grandidier’s work on the Sabæan, Phœnician, and   |
| Idumean Jew influences on South-East Africa and Madagascar; and      |
| _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ (2nd edition).                       |
|                                                                      |
| [32] See _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_, 2nd edition, pp. 141–3,    |
| for descriptions of relics found at Zimbabwe in 1891 and 1892.       |
| See Appendix hereto, Note F, for inventory of relics found by the    |
| author at Zimbabwe, 1902–4.                                          |
|                                                                      |
| [33] All the birds found at Zimbabwe either by Mr. Bent and the      |
| author were discovered occupying an eastern position, cut off from   |
| south-west, west, and north by cliffs or large and high walls.       |
|                                                                      |
| [34] Professor Dr. Flinders Petrie informs the author that this      |
| pattern is decidedly of Eastern origin, possibly Assyrian.           |
|                                                                      |
| [35] See also _Preface_, “Two Periods of Gold Manufacture at         |
| Zimbabwe.”                                                           |
|                                                                      |
| [36] Dr. Flinders Petrie has informed the author that calcedony      |
| beads, identical in shape and size to those found in ruins in        |
| Rhodesia, are of mediæval Arab origin.                               |
|                                                                      |
| [37] Dr. Budge, Head Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities     |
| at the British Museum, considers this glass to belong to the         |
| thirteenth or fourteenth century of this era.                        |
|                                                                      |
| [38] The author is preparing a monograph on the pottery of the       |
| Barotse and Makalanga.                                               |
|                                                                      |
| [39] See Note C, Appendix to this volume, which gives a fuller       |
| description of this “find.”                                          |
|                                                                      |
| [40] For descriptions of ancient architecture in the ruins of        |
| Rhodesia generally, see _The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ (2nd         |
| edition), Chapter XII.                                               |
|                                                                      |
| [41] For a probable explanation of the absence of inscriptions, see  |
| Dr. Keane’s Introduction to this volume.                             |
|                                                                      |
| [42] See Preface.                                                    |
|                                                                      |
| [43] Figures in round brackets are points of the circumference of    |
| the interior face of the main wall measured from the south side of   |
| the west entrance and going south.                                   |
|                                                                      |
| [44] This has now been discovered. It had been removed by relic      |
| hunters in 1892.                                                     |
|                                                                      |
| [45] Since the above was written further exploration in the ruins    |
| shows several lengths of these granite cement dadoes, one 16 ft.     |
| and another 33 ft. long, still intact. Cement dadoes have also       |
| been found round the faces of buttresses and on the side walls of    |
| entrances, thus reducing the width of such passage-ways by at least  |
| 5 in.                                                                |
|                                                                      |
| [46] Most of the Sabæan temples were round. _El Masoudi_ (940 A.D.). |
|                                                                      |
| [47] All the birds found at Zimbabwe occupied eastward positions.    |
|                                                                      |
| [48] For _Areas of varying styles of Ancient Architecture_ see       |
| _Ancient Ruins_, p. 164, section (a).                                |
|                                                                      |
| [49] See Preface, _West Wall Controversy_.                           |
|                                                                      |
| [50] _Report on the examination and analysis of No. 2 Sample of      |
| mineral._—This was a sample of powdery, earthy mineral. One-half of  |
| it has been assayed with the view to the presence of gold, and was   |
| found to contain 1½ dwts. of gold per ton. The other portion has     |
| been analysed as to its chemical composition, which was found to be  |
| as follows:                                                          |
|                                                                      |
|                      Silica           73·18 %                        |
|                      Oxide of Iron    17·83 〃                        |
|                      Alumina           8·98 〃                        |
|                      Lime             Trace.                         |
|                                                                      |
| This powdery earth is most probably formed through the               |
| disintegration of the slag and furnace ashes, which make an          |
| excellent foundation for the floor of a large building. On exposure  |
| to the action of the weather it crumbles to powder.                  |
|                                                                      |
|                                       P. DANIEL HAHN, PH.D, M.A.,    |
|                                         Professor of Chemistry.      |
|                                                                      |
| [51] See Appendix, Note G, as to formation rock under the temple.    |
|                                                                      |
| [52] See _Frontispiece_.                                             |
|                                                                      |
| [53] Several independent astronomical calculations point to the age  |
| of the Elliptical Temple being from 1100 to 1300 years B.C.          |
|                                                                      |
| [54] This has been now found by the author. It had been removed in   |
| 1892 by relic hunters.                                               |
|                                                                      |
| [55] _Report on the examination and analysis of No. 1 sample of      |
| minerals_:—                                                          |
|                                                                      |
| This was a piece of metamorphic slate, such as may be found in the   |
| vicinity of the contact-zone of clay slate and granite or other      |
| crystalline rock. Its composition does not present any peculiar      |
| features.                                                            |
|                                                                      |
|                       P. DANIEL HAHN, PH.D., M.A.                    |
|                    _Professor of Chemistry, South African College    |
|                             Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory._  |
|                                                                      |
| [56] Two rounded buttresses are built on the larger buttress, and    |
| are against the summit of this wall.                                 |
|                                                                      |
| [57] Discovered 1902.                                                |
|                                                                      |
| [58] For description of these ruins, see p. 358.                     |
|                                                                      |
| [59] _Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia_ (2nd edition).                      |
|                                                                      |
| [60] See Author’s Report on _Slanting Monolith_, Note E, Appendix.   |
|                                                                      |
| [61] The author was the first to break through the old habit of      |
| bestowing misleading or suggestive titles to various architectural   |
| features. These recesses unfortunately have thus always been known   |
| as “buttresses.” A long list of such incorrect titles could easily   |
| be compiled from printed descriptions of ruins.                      |
|                                                                      |
| [62] The author has since discovered similar recesses elsewhere at   |
| Zimbabwe.                                                            |
|                                                                      |

           _Price 10s. 6d. net. With seventy illustrations._

                       ANCIENT RUINS OF RHODESIA

                       W. G. NEAL AND R. N. HALL

                      SECOND AND ENLARGED EDITION

                         LONDON: METHUEN & CO.

Transcriber’s Notes:

 - Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).
 - Text enclosed by equals is in bold font (=bold=).
 - Blank pages have been removed.
 - Advertisement has been moved to the back.
 - Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected.
 - Some spelling and hyphenation variations have been made consistent.

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