Uncovering ancient kingdoms in southern Africa

23 April 2021 - 12:48 By penguin random house sa
'Palaces of Stone' brings to life the history of early African societies.
'Palaces of Stone' brings to life the history of early African societies.
Image: Supplied

Across the face of southern Africa are more than 460 remarkable stone palaces — some small, others rambling, but many astonishing.

All are the legacy of kingdoms past. Some, such as Great Zimbabwe, Khami in Botswana and Mapungubwe in SA, are famous world heritage sites, but most are unknown to the general public, unsung and unappreciated.

Palaces of Stone brings to life the history of early African societies, from AD 900 to approximately 1850. By exploring a selection of known and unknown sites, the authors uncover the emergence of ancient civilisations and reconstruct the meaning of the ruins they left behind.

Woven into the narrative are stories of powerful political states, flourishing local economies, long-distance trade and the destruction wrought by colonialism and modern-day treasure hunters.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in Africa’s ancient history and its earliest civilisations.

About the authors:

Mike Main has spent more than 40 years exploring Botswana and its neighbours. A management consultant, freelance writer and lay archaeologist, he lives in Gaborone, Botswana.

Tom Huffman is professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is a leading authority on precolonial farming societies in southern Africa and the author of multiple research papers and highly acclaimed books on the subject.