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Great Zimbabwe is found in the south-central zimbabwe and 27km south-east of Masvingo town. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986. Great Zimbabwe is Southern Africa’s largest pre-colonial settlement. The name Zimbabwe refers to a big house of stone. The once thriving city is an iron age or later farming community settlement which flourished between 1290 and 1450AD. The site sits on 720 ha of land and is the largest of more than 300 zimbabwe-type sites scattered across Southern Africa. In Zimbabwe some of such sites are Khami, Dhlodhlo, Naletale, Zinjanja and Chibvumani just to mention but a few. Outside Zimbabwe there is Manekeni in Mozambique and Domboshaba in Botswana. However there are some which are yet to be discovered and explored.

The most eye catching remains at Great Zimbabwe are massive dry stone walls spread across the landscape. These walls built without any binding material make enclosures of different sizes. Piles of granite stones are a testimony of places where other walls once stood. Within and outside these stone enclosures are dhaka houses, which are evidenced by floors and walls. These served as houses and granaries.

Great Zimbabwe is divided into four components, which are, The Hill Complex, Great Enclosure, Valley Ruins and Periphery Settlements. The Hill Complex is on one of the highest hills in a low undulating surrounding. The steep sided hill towers 80m above the general landscape. The Hill can sharply be spotted at about 10km before one gets to the site. Stone walls which incorporate natural boulders form the four main enclosures, which are, the Western, Recess, Southern, Eastern and Cleft Rock Enclosures.

The other component of Great Zimbabwe is the Great Enclosure which is located on the low planes of the estate. This structure presents the most spectacular and outstanding feature of the site. The enclosure marks the epitome of dry stone wall masonry. The Great Enclosure is an oval space surrounded by a 250m girdle wall, whose thickest point is 6m and highest point is 10m. This makes Great Enclosure the biggest stone structure in Southern Africa. The parameter wall encloses the famous conical tower which is approximately 10m high and its diameter at the base is 5m.

The Valley and peripheral sides have small walls which show the evolution of dry stone wall architecture. They form small enclosure which housed several Dhaka structures.
The different components of the site have yielded invaluable artefacts for archaeologists to reconstruct the social, political and economic life at Great Zimbabwe. These are both exotic and indigenous artefacts such as pottery, beads, ornaments of different metals and faunal remains were excavated. Among these artefacts are the famous eight zimbabwe birds which are carved on soapstone. Of the eight, six were found in the Eastern Enclosure of the Hill Complex, one on a balcony facing the Western Enclosure and the most aesthetically appealing was found in the Valley enclosures.