Journal article

Are drylands marginal? The case of Mananzve, Shashi region, southwestern Zimbabwe

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Nyamushosho R, Chirikure S, Bandama F., Manyanga M, Mukwende T.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

Publication year: 2018

Journal: Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa

Journal name: Azania

Volume number: 53

Issue number: 4

Start page: 439

End page: 476

Total number of pages: 38

ISSN: 0067-270X

eISSN: 1945-5534



The general conviction in the Iron Age archaeology of southern Zambezia is that drylands such as the Shashi region are marginal landscapes that did not host any significant food producing communities in the past. Resultantly, for those communities that occupied these landscapes, their settlement histories have been
always portrayed as short-lived, since their existence is mostly understood as by chance and not choice. However, new data recovered from Mananzve and other drylands sites we surveyed and excavated in the Shashi region of south-western Zimbabwe demonstrates that Iron Age communities had a long-term settlement history on the landscape and that, through various strategies, they maintained food security in the face of environmental and climatic adversities. At a broader scale, these findings show that these areas perceived today as drylands are resource rich and that Iron Age communities which occupied these landscapes had the capacity to adapt and utilise these resources to their advantage. This challenges the designation of drylands of southern Zambezia such as the Shashi region as marginal, since that term undermines their resource potential and the adaptive capacity of the communities occupying them consistently through time.


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Adaptation, Drylands

Last updated on 2019-18-04 at 10:25