Accepted paper:

Fit for a royal palace?: characterising and quantifying water at Great Zimbabwe

Authors:

Tendai Treddah Musindo (Great Zimbabwe University)
Innocent Pikirayi (University of Pretoria )
David Chikodzi (Great Zimbabwe University)

Paper short abstract:

This article investigates the quality as well as quantity of water that the water sources within the Great Zimbabwe catchment area are capable of producing. The paper argues that water was central in the day to day lives of the people who lived at Great Zimbabwe (11th- 15th centuries).

Paper long abstract:

Water is one of the most critical resources in the sustenance of modern day cities. Consequently, it is one of the key considerations when planners choose sites for cities. However, since it has few archaeological signatures, there are not many archaeological studies that have focused on water and its archaeological implications. This article investigates the quality as well as quantity of water that the water sources within the Great Zimbabwe catchment area are capable of producing. The paper argues that water was central in the day to day lives of the people who lived at Great Zimbabwe (11th- 15th centuries). As a key resource, the water had to be sufficient and be of good quality to sustain lives. Water has a great deal in revealing the quality of life that the people at the ancient city could have lived. The article, therefore, proceeded from the hypothesis that availability of sufficient and good quality water was a key consideration in the location of Great Zimbabwe. Ethnographic research was used to identify water sources and also to quantity the amount of water. Hydrological analysis was also used to analyse the quality of water as well as its quantity. The study explores how contemporary water sources around Great Zimbabwe and water management systems may help archaeologists to reconstruct water management systems during the time when this ancient city was occupied. The study argues that the sustenance of the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe owed much to the availability of reliable sources of water.

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Knowledge contest: global development and local survival