Archaeological sites on the property

There are fascinating archaeological sites on the property and is easily accessible to anyone visiting Valley of the Rainbow.

On aerial photo’s one can see circular stone structures on mountain slopes
See photo’s attached to the timelinez

The question what are the origins of these structures.
Dr Alex Schoeman of the Wits University Archaeological Department explains the possible origin of these sites. There are similar stone circles dotting the landscape around Nelspruit, Waterval Boven, Machadodorp, Carolina, Badplaas, Dullstroom and Barberton areas.

The stone walls date back no more than 700 to 800 years and were built by an African tribe called the Koni. “We know very little about them”, she says. ”The homeland of the Koni had been long destroyed by the time Westerners arrived, which is why it’s gone from memory, although Pedi oral tradition talks about it”

The walls were part of much larger towns that included homesteads and cattle enclosure, with roads running between them. On the outskirts are agriculture terraces, proving that the tribes had mastered the art of land and cattle management.

It is estimated that at least 20,000 people could have lived in some of these settlement prior to the 1800s. And with such a large workforce, they could have been able to build the settlements using manual labour rather than levitation Schoeman says sporadic research in the area began in the 1930s, but academics at that time argued that black tribes weren’t capable of building anything so intricate. “People couldn’t figure out who lived there.

These structures are incredibly complex and nobody had either the right interest or the right abilities to pull together a big team to work in the area.

After a period of dormancy it gradually became accepted that they were built by Africans, based partly on oral history and partly on archaeological research.”

The Koni tribes inhabited the area in the 1500s. By the 1800s the Pedi had moved in and wrested control of this geographically crucial spot. “If you look at a map it’s right on the way to Delagoa Bay (Maputo), and the Pedi, Swazi and Zulu kingdoms all had large imports and exports of ivory and skins in the 1700s. This was right in the middle of the trade route, so the Koni probably acted as toll marshals for people running traffic through the area. At some point the Pedi decided to take them out in order to control the key ports.” The reason therefore for these sites to be situated on plato’s on mountain slopes overlooking the valleys is for the Koni tribes to strategically defend themselves form Pedi attacks. If you wish to visit the archaeological sites on the properties ask our guide to accompany you to the two most accessible sites on the property.

Jamie van Zijl Owner Valley of the Rainbow Estate and Nature Reserve Did you find this information interesting, if Yes then Like my post