Treasures of Mapungubwe

A selected video for you:

Unique Mapungubwe Gold Collection unveiled for the first time in history.

Perspectives on Africa are about to change, given the unveiling of the largest collection of gold archeological treasures at the tip of the African continent. History of the african included in educational curricula, to date, often focused on the AD 1600 era and beyond, with a key focus on exploration around the tip of Africa and subsequent colonialisation of Africa.

We have entered a new era, where the artefacts from Mapungubwe Hill discovered in 1933, of which many items are unveiled for the first time after restoration, will shape perception, the significance, scope and richness of african heritage. These artefacts reflect highly developed and advanced craftmanship involved in the creation of the striking artworks and adornments between 700 and 1000 years ago.

The Mapungubwe gold collection reflects a rare, but very rich and sophisticated treasure. The golden rhinoceros, the gold headdress or vessel and the gold sceptre are artefacts previously associated with Mapungubwe. Less information has, however, been previously available on the fact that from one grave, the so-called gold grave, more then 100 gold anklets, about 12 000 gold beads, other gold fragments, 26 037 trade glass beads and several pots were uncovered.

The gold treasures are associated with the first, but short-lived Iron Age African state of Mapungubwe, where indigenous metallurgy reached its height of technical excellence and creativity in the thirtheenth century (AD 1220 to AD 1290) says Sian Tiley-Nel, curator of the Mapungubwe Museum situated at the University of Pretoria. When discovered around 1933, the Royal Mint in Pretoria estimated the gold to be almost 100% pure, calculating the total weight recovered to be about 6 to 9 kilograms of gold.

For the first time in history, the public can view the once forgotten, but recently-conserved and some never-before-seen objects of Mapungubwe. Of great interest are the indigenous techniques that signify Mapungubwes decorative royal regalia. The gold collection consists of 117 gold bracelets, 139 gold necklaces, 133 gold canular coiled anklets and about 40 fragmentary curious shapes. The most significant treasures as insignia of royalty are the three gold animal figurines: a gold rhino, gold feline (possibly a leapard) and gold bovine (possibly cattle).

As investors in the gold mining industry through Wits Gold, and the inner city of Johannesburg through the Johannesburg Land Company, Adam Fleming and John Dewar shared the vision of restoration of this unique collection. The Fleming family invested in the restoration of the collection by the South African Institute for Objects conservation. Fleming states that this collection is a living testament to the breathtaking metal working skills possessed by the indigenous South African people who lived at Mapungubwe over 1000 years ago.

According to Stephan Welz, esteemed international art auctioneer, the significance of Mapungubwe lies also in the extensive trade practices through the East Africa ports with the Middle East, India and China dating back more than 700 years.

Mapungubwe, declared a World Heritage site in 2003, graphically illustrates the impact of climate change and record the growth and then decline of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, a clear record of a culture that became vulnerable to irreversible change.

Prepared by:
Marna Cilliers-Hartslief
Green Vision Foundation

CLICK HERE to submit your favourite Pretoria videos.

Visit the MyPE YouTube Channel.

This Mapungubwe video was automatically curated and published with WP Robot plugin – CLICK HERE to learn more about WP Robot for WordPress – a massive time and money saver.

Read, Republish and Submit Press Releases to MyPR.

About Alan

My ethos is espoused in the words of Nelson Mandela: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

You will always find me standing on the side of the underdog OR HERE.