African Archaeological Review

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

State Formation in Southern Africa: A Reply to Kim and Kusimba

  • Thomas Niel HuffmanEmail author
Review Article


Kim and Kusimba misunderstand the archaeological data pertaining to K2, Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe because they rely on secondary sources. Before these capitals can be categorized according to definitions of early states elsewhere, they need to be interpreted in their own terms. Ultimately, Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe are no less complex because they differ from early states in Asia or Middle America.


Iron Age of southern Africa Mapungubwe Great Zimbabwe 


Kim et Kusimba ont mal compris les données archéologiques de K2, Mapungubwe et Great Zimbabwe parce qu’ils se basent sur des sources secondaires. Avant que l’on catégorise ces capitales selon les définitions des premiers états en usage dans d’autres parties du monde, elles doivent être interprétées selon leurs propres termes. En fin de compte, le fait que Mapungubwe et Great Zimbabwe diffèrent des premiers états en Asie ou en Amérique centrale ne les rend pas moins complexe.



I thank Leon Jacobson, David Lewis-Williams and Gavin Whitelaw for comments on the manuscript. Mapungubwe research has been sponsored by the De Beers Educational Trust, South African National Parks and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental StudiesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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