Home > 2014 Courses > SCIENCE, CONSERVATION AND MEDICINE > Mapungubwe: Origins and Future Status


Dr Shadreck Chirikure, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town

Since its discovery in 1933, Mapungubwe has fired the imagination of academics and members of the South African public alike. One of the golden objects – the Mapungubwe golden rhino – is a famous South African icon. The discovery flowed from the large finds of gold that were recovered from the burials excavated on the hilltop. Evidence shows that the success of the people of Mapungubwe was achieved against a backdrop of an environment seemingly marginal for human occupation. However, Mapungubwe even had connections with China, India and the Persian Gulf. This two-lecture course will explore the reasons for Mapungubwe’s rise. What was life like during the height of its power? Why did it collapse? What is the value of Mapungubwe today? The first lecture will focus on both the origins and the decline of Mapungubwe. It will also discuss the major archaeological finds from the site and how these have been interpreted. The second lecture will consider the place of Mapungubwe in modern South African society, and engage with issues related to the long term conservation of the site, including threats emanating from increasing mining in the area.

1.    Unpacking Mapungubwe
2.    Mapungubwe in contemporary society


Course code: 1042

Date & time: Thursday 30–Friday 31 January 3.30 pm


Full: R150,00

Staff: R37,00

Reduced: R19,00