Mapangubwe, South Africa

The Kingdom of Mapangubwe was a precursor to the Shona sites that are scattered throughout Zimbabwe. Inhabited from c1075 to c1220, the site contains some of the earliest still-existing stone constructions in sub-Saharan Africa. The famous Golden Rhinoceros of Mapangubwe was discovered in a royal grave on the site in 1932 and herein lies a tale of the history of history. The dates of settlement and the quality of workmanship on the golden rhinoceros and the craftsmanship of the stone constructions were deeply inconvenient to the colonial and the apartheid era 'historical' narrative. Alternative histories are still told in which these sites were built by Portuguese, Arabic or even Chinese inhabitants (extensive trade routes which reached the East coast of Africa and traded as far north as Swahili settlements had brought Arabic, Indian and Chinese artifacts to the interior of Southern Africa). As recently as 2008 a major British newspaper attributed the Golden Rhinoceros to Zimbabwe, rather than South Africa: so much have the myths and propaganda displaced the actual history.