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This series documents the archaeological excavation of an Iron Age site in the hinterlands of the 13th century C.E. Mapungubwe civilization.

The past presents itself to archaeologists not as a chronological sequence of human activity but rather as a palimpsest of time, compounded into remnants locked in layers of soil. It is in this residual record that archaeology finds the task of defining and interpreting the relationships between objects, contexts, and sites in an attempt to better know those who have been all but obscured by time.

Through committing these recordings of antecedent societies to the public archive, archaeology has a hand in hardening the durability of our shared human narrative.

These images document the activities performed by students of the Archaeology department from the University of Pretoria in the spring of 2020. The work details the excavation of a Middle Iron Age (ca. 900 – 1300 C.E.) site, known formally as MNR259, in the hinterlands of the 13th century Mapungubwe civilization.

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