The Journal of African History

Research Article

Pastoralism and Zimbabwe

P. S. Garlakea1

a1 University College, London

Excavations at the Zimbabwe (enclosure) of Manekweni, in southern coastal Mozambique, have shown that it belongs to the Zimbabwe Culture which was centred on the Rhodesian plateau. Occupation levels have been dated to between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries. The faunal evidence indicates that a section of the population benefited from intensive beef production through transhumant pastoralism on the seasonally-fluctuating fringes of tsetse fly infestation. The settlement pattern of Rhodesian Zimbabwe suggests that their siting was determined by the demands of a similar system of transhumance. This model provides a basis from which to begin to reconstruct some aspects of the economies of early Zimbabwe. It is already clear that Zimbabwe were not simply the products of long-distance trade; rather, their economies integrated farming and cattle-herding as well as gold production and foreign trade.