Ruins of giant stone structures in the area of the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo are still a mystery to scientists. Information about them was received in the XVI century from the Portuguese traders who visited the coastal areas of Africa in search of gold, slaves and ivory.
Many believed then that it was the biblical land of Ophir, where he was in his time the gold mines of king Solomon.
MYSTERIOUS AFRICAN RUINS
Portuguese traders heard about the huge stone houses of the Africans arriving to the coast for the purpose of exchange of goods from interior regions of the continent. But only in the nineteenth century, Europeans finally saw the mysterious structure. According to some sources, first discovered the ruins of a mysterious traveler and a hunter of elephants Adam Render, but more often their discovery is credited to the German geologist Karl Mouhu.
This scientist often heard from Africans about the giant stone structures are not investigated in areas North of the Limpopo river. No one knew when and by whom they were built, and a German scientist decided to go on a perilous journey to the mysterious ruins.
In 1867 Mauch found an ancient country and saw a complex of buildings, later called the Great Zimbabwe (in the language of the local tribe, the Shona word “Zimbabwe” meant “old stone house”). The scientist was shocked by what he saw. Construction, appearing before his eyes, astonished researchers with its size and unusual layout.
Impressive stone wall with a length of 250 m, a height of about 10 meters and a width at the base up to 5 meters surrounded the settlement, where, apparently, was the residence of the ruler of this ancient country.
Now this building is called the Temple, or Elliptical building. To penetrate on the fenced territory through three narrow passageways. All buildings were constructed by the method of dry masonry, when the stones were stacked on each other without a bonding solution. 800 metres to the North of the settlement, surrounded by a wall, on top of a granite hill, were the ruins of another structure, called the Stone fortress, or Acropolis.
Although Mouch and found among the ruins some household items typical for the local culture, he even had not occurred, the architectural complex that Zimbabwe could be built by the Africans. Traditionally, local tribes built their houses and other structures, using clay, wood and dried grass, so use as a building material is stone looked clearly abnormally.
ON EARTH GOLD MINES
So, Mauch agreed that Great Zimbabwe was not built by Africans, and white, who visited this region in ancient times. He suggested that the construction of the complex of stone buildings could be involved in the legendary king Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, but this place was the biblical Ophir, the land of gold mines.
Scholar fully believed in his assumption when he discovered that a beam of one of the doorways are made of cedar. He could bring only from Lebanon, and it was widely king Solomon used cedar in the construction of their palaces.
Eventually Carl Mauch came to the conclusion that the Queen of Sheba was the Queen of Zimbabwe. Such a sensational conclusion the scientist has led to rather unfortunate consequences. The ancient ruins began to flock to the numerous adventurers who dreamed of finding the treasure of the Queen of Sheba, because next to the complex there was once an ancient gold mine. Unknown, did someone find the treasure, but the damage to the ancient structures suffered tremendous, and it further greatly hampered the research of archaeologists.
Conclusions Mauja in 1905 challenged the British archaeologist David Randall-MacIver. He conducted independent excavations at Great Zimbabwe and stated that the buildings are not that old and were built in the period from the XI to XV century.
It turned out that Great Zimbabwe could build indigenous Africans. Access to the ancient ruins was quite difficult, so the next expedition appeared in these parts only in 1929. It was headed by British archaeologist and feminist Gertrude Caton-Thompson, a member of its group included only women.
By the time the hunters had already caused a complex of such damage, that Caton-Thompson was forced to start working with search intact buildings. Brave researcher decided to use his search for the plane. She managed to arrange a winged car, she personally went up with a pilot in the air and found away from the settlement another stone structure.
After the excavations of Caton-Thompson confirmed the findings of Ren-dall-MacIver about the time of the construction of the Great Zimbabwe. In addition, she firmly stated that the complex of buildings is, without doubt, was built of black Africans.
Scientists are studying the Great Zimbabwe nearly half a century, but despite such a long period, Great Zimbabwe has managed to keep many secrets. It is still unknown who defended its builders with the help of such a powerful fortifications. Not everything is clear with the start time of their construction.
For example, under the wall of the Elliptical building were found fragments of drain wood, which date back to the period between 591 (plus or minus 120 years) and 702 ad (plus or minus 92 years). Perhaps the wall was built on much more ancient foundations.
During the excavations, scientists have discovered several figurines of birds made of steatite (soapstone), there was an assumption that the ancient inhabitants of Great Zimbabwe worshipped like gods. It is possible that this cult is somehow connected the most mysterious construction of the Great Zimbabwe conical tower from the walls of the Elliptical building. Its height reaches 10 meters, and the circumference of the base is 17 meters.
She built a dry stack and is similar in form to the granary by local farmers, but the tower has no entrance, no Windows, no ladders. So far, the purpose of this facility represents for archaeologists an unsolvable riddle.
However, there is a very interesting hypothesis Richard Wade of the Nkwe Ridge Observatory, according to which the Temple (Elliptical building) at the time used similar to the famous Stonehenge. Stone walls, mysterious tower, monoliths of different — all of this was used for observing the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. Is this true? The answer can only be given by further research.
THE CAPITAL OF A POWERFUL EMPIRE
At the moment, few scientists doubt that Great Zimbabwe was built by Africans. According to archaeologists, in the XIV century, the African Kingdom experienced its heyday in the area could compete with London.
Its population was about 18 thousand people. Great Zimbabwe was the capital of a vast Empire that stretched for thousands of miles and United by tens or possibly hundreds of tribes.
Although on the territory of the Kingdom operated the mines and mined gold, the main wealth of the inhabitants was cattle. Mined as gold and ivory were brought from Zimbabwe on the East coast of Africa, where at that period there was ports, they were supported by trade with Arabia, India and the Far East. That Zimbabwe had links with the outside world, say archaeological findings that have Arabic and Persian origin.
I believe that Great Zimbabwe was the center of mining: at different distances from the complex of stone buildings found numerous mine workings. According to some scholars, the African Empire existed until 1750, and then went into decline.
It should be noted that for Africans Great Zimbabwe is a real Shrine. In honor of this archaeological monument of southern Rhodesia, in which he is, in 1980 and was renamed Zimbabwe.