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Leokwe and K2: Ethnic Stratification during the Middle Iron Age in Southern Africa

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Recent research in the Shashe-Limpopo basin advances our understanding of the development of social complexity at K2 and Mapungubwe. Calabrese shows that ethnic interaction between Leokwe and K2 peoples led to ethnic stratification. However, one aspect ― that class distinction was first expressed at Leokwe Hill before Mapungubwe ― is not supported by more recent data. Re-examination of ceramics, glass beads and radiocarbon dates show that Leokwe Hill was not earlier, but contemporaneous with Mapungubwe, while structural remains show that the Leokwe deposit derived from ritual rather than residential activity.

Affiliations: 1: School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand


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