Archaeological identity of the Mutapa State

Towards an historical archaeology of northern Zimbabwe

Innocent Pikirayi



As the title suggests, this is a study of the historical archaeology of northern Zimbabwe, notably that of the kingdom of Mutapa. This work was necessitated by the need to address an area of study and a period in time that has long been neglected by most scholars. Zimbabwe is rich in an archaeological heritage of diversified nature and location, yet since the turn of the century there has been a tendency to concentrate research in the middle and the southern part of the country, particularly on the Great Zimbabwe tradition sites and, especially, on the site of Great Zimbabwe itself. So far, the northern part of the country and the historical period have attracted less, and intermittent, attention.


[Pikirayi] has demonstrated the power of an interdisciplinary approach to such studies by combining history, archaeology, oral tradition, and anthropology in a very effective manner. - George Abungu, The African Archaeological Review


Innocent Pikirayi is Professor of History at University of Zimbabwe, Harare