African Archaeological Review

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 183–210 | Cite as

Interregional Interaction in Southern Africa: Zhizo and Leopard's Kopje Relations in Northern South Africa, Southwestern Zimbabwe, and Eastern Botswana, AD 1000 to 1200

  • John A. Calabrese


The dominant model of relations between Zhizo- and Leopard's Kopje-ceramic using groups in northern South Africa, southwestern Zimbabwe, and eastern Botswana between AD 1000 and 1300 has been one of hostile invasion by Leopard's Kopje groups, who are thought to have forced Zhizo groups into eastern Botswana (Huffman, 1978, 1986a, 1996). Leopard's Kopje groups are thereupon thought to have set about the process of nascent state formation in the absence of any significant contact, other than violence or intermittent intermarriage (Denbow, 1982, 1983, 1986; Huffman, 1986a, 1996), with their Zhizo (i.e., Toutswe) neighbors to the west. More recently, Denbow (1990) has modified his position to include trade in exotic goods as a regular feature of Leopard's Kopje–Zhizo relations. Radiocarbon and ceramic data from the Iron Age site Leokwe Hill, in combination with the available ceramic data and a reanalysis of the ceramics from the site Schroda, indicate that current interpretations of the relations between Zhizo and Leopard's Kopje groups need to be reconsidered. New hypotheses are presented that posit that the nature and intensity of interaction between these groups was more far-reaching than is currently thought.

Le modéle dominant des relations entre les groupes qui ont utilisés les ceramiques Zhizo et ceux qui ont utilisés celles de Leopard's Kopje dans le nord de l'Afrique du Sud, sud-est du Zimbabwe et l'est du Botswana entre AD 1000 et 1300, a été l'invasion hostile par les groupes de Leopard's Kopje, qui, l'on pense avoir forcé les groupes Zhizo dans l'est du Botswana (Huffman, 1978, 1986a, 1996). Les groupes de Leopard's Kopje sont pensés avoir établi le procédée de l'état de formation (nascent) en l'absence de tous contacts significatifis, autre que la violence ou des mariages consanguins intermittents (Denbow, 1982, 1983, 1986; Huffman, 1986a, 1996), avec leur Zhizo (c.à.d. Toutwse) voisins à l'ouest. Récemment, Denbow (1990) a modifié sa position pour inclure le commerce des produits exotics comme une caractéristique réguliere des relations entre Leopard's Kopje et Zhizo. Le radiocarbonne et les données en céramique du site de l'âge de fer Leokwe Hill, en combinaison avec les données de céramiques disponibles et une ré-analyse des céramiques du site Schroda, indiquent que les interprétations des relations entre Zhizo et les groupes de Leopard's Kopje doivent être reconsidêrées. Des nouvelles hypothéses sont présentées qui proposent que la nature et l'intensité des interactions entre ses groupes étaient d'ptune portée bien plus grande que nous le pensons actuellement.

interaction complexity southern Africa Iron Age Zhizo Leopard's Kopje 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Calabrese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandPO WITSSouth Africa

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