Stone Kingdom of the Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country's Late Iron Age. Construction on the monument began in the 11th century and continued until the 15th century.The exact identity of the Great Zimbabwe builders is at present unknown, and various hypotheses have been proposed as to who these masons may have been. Local traditions recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries assert that the stoneworks were constructed by the early Lemba.However, the most popular modern archaeological theory is that the edifices were erected by the ancestral Shona.The stone city spans an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

There are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortarless walls; Great Zimbabwe is the largest of these.

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