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Building a Network: Territorialisation and Deterritorialisation in 13th Century northern South Africa

Author(s): Alexander Antonites

Year: 2017

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Regional social complexity in southern Africa is closely tied to the rise and development of the Mapungubwe polity of 13th century South Africa. Expanding political power and influence meant that Mapungubwe increasingly articulated with communities on its periphery - a relationship that is reflected in shared material culture. These hinterland sites are all located in areas where there is an absence of earlier twelfth century occupation, which suggests a process of active settling of these areas rather than extant local communities adopting the trappings of Mapungubwe material culture. The maintenance of social hierarchy at Mapungubwe is widely believed to be based in the ability of elite to attract followers and monopolize long distance trade goods . This process of concentration required spatial expansion to draw in distant resources such as gold and ivory. Paradoxically, ongoing research on hinterland sites suggest that this territorial expansion resulted in a weak hierarchical control over these remote areas, resulting in a concomitant deterritorialisation as distant communities enjoyed growing autonomy and authority.

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Building a Network: Territorialisation and Deterritorialisation in 13th Century northern South Africa. Alexander Antonites. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431932)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15268

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America