Across the face of southern Africa are more than 460 remarkable stone palaces, once the abodes of kings. Some are small, others ramble, but many are absolutely astonishing: all are the legacy of kingdoms past.
Palaces of Stone brings to life the story of these early African societies, from AD 900 to approximately 1850. Some, such as Great Zimbabwe and Khami in Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe in South Africa, are famous world heritage sites, but the majority are unknown to the general public, unsung and unappreciated. Yet, the stone ruins that have survived tell a common story of innovative architecture and intricate stonework; flourishing local economies; long-distance travel; global trade; and emerging forms of political organisation.
By exploring a selection of known and unknown sites, Palaces of Stone reimagines the apparently empty spaces bequeathed to us by history, an Africa of places that once hummed with life. All that remains now are the ruins – a bedrock from which to unravel the past and understand the present.
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