Resilient Landscapes

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Resilient Landscapes – Socio-environmental dynamics in the Shashi-Limpopo Basin, southern Zimbabwe c. AD 800 to the present

Munyaradzi Manyanga

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  • Published 2007
  • Isbn 9789197686501
  • Type Paperback
  • 215 pages
  • English

The general perception today is that the Shashi-Limpopo Basin in southern Africa is hot and dry and not conducive to human habitation. Today there is no doubt that the Shashi-Limpopo Basin has been home to many communities throughout the pre-historical period. A study of the changing ecological conditions in the Mateke Hills and the Shashi-Limpopo Valley as well as historical and present day land-use offer an alternative explanation of how prehistoric communities could have interacted with this changing landscape. The archaeological record, historical sources and recent land-use patterns show that settlement location has always been orientated towards the rivers and circumscribed environments. The mosaic of floodplains, wetlands, drylands and circumscribed zones provided the ideal ecological setting for the development of socio-political complexity in southern Africa. The resilience of these semi arid savanna regions together with human innovation and local knowledge ensured that societies continued to derive sustenance even in the face of seasonal variability in rainfall and even climate change.