Richard Nicklin Hall - Great Zimbabwe, Mashonaland, Rhodesia: An Account Of Two Years' Examination Work In 1902-4 On Behalf Of The Government Of Rhodesia (1905)
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Richard Nicklin Hall con Great Zimbabwe, Mashonaland, Rhodesia: An Account Of Two Years' Examination Work In 1902-4 On Behalf Of The Government Of Rhodesia (1905)
"Hall was one of the most prolific early contributors on Zimbabwe." -Pollak, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (1979)"Well known for his investigations of the ruins in Mashonaland, of the antiquity of which he was an enthusiastic champion." - The Geographical Journal, 1915In 1902, Richard Hall (1853-1914) an English lawyer and journalist with no archaeological training was engaged at Cecil Rhodes's request to explore the Zimbabwe Ruins. He wrote of his exploration of the ruins in his 1905 book " Great Zimbabwe, Mashonaland, Rhodesia."Great Zimbabwe is a medieval city which lies in ruins in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country's Late Iron Age. In describing his first impression of the ruins, Hall writes: "To describe this grand ruin in one chapter would be an utterly impossible task, and any statement of one's first impressions on walking about the temple 'mid its massive Titanic walls must be altogether inadequate. At any rate, one experienced an overwhelming and oppressive sense of awe and reverence. One felt it impossible to speak loudly or to laugh."Damage to the ruins has taken place throughout the last century. The removal of gold and artefacts in amateurist diggings by early colonial antiquarians caused widespread damage, notably diggings by Richard Hall. More extensive damage was caused by the mining of some of the ruins for gold. Reconstruction attempts since 1980 caused further damage, leading to alienation of the local communities from the site.To black nationalist groups, Great Zimbabwe became an important symbol of achievement by Africans: reclaiming its history was a major aim for those seeking majority rule. In 1980 the new internationally recognised independent country was renamed for the site, and its famous soapstone bird carvings were retained from the Rhodesian flag and Coat of Arms as a national symbol and depicted in the new Zimbabwean flag. Hall's 1905 book did much to arouse a popular interest in the ruins, besides bringing to light many sites previously unknown to experts. Subsequently, when the view was put forward that none of the ruins were of any great antiquity, or assignable to other than African builders, he vigorously contested this doctrine, and returned more than once to the scene of his former work, in the hope of supporting his case by fresh evidence. The results of his further researches were embodied in 1909 in his 'Pre-historic Rhodesia." His services were recognized by the South African Government by his appointment as 'Curator of the Ancient Monuments of Rhodesia.'As Hall writes, he noticed similarities of the local Makalanga tribe and Jews:"Among the Jewish customs of the Makalanga the following may be noticed, (1) Monotheism; (2) worship of, and sacrifices to, ancestors; (3) rite of circumcision; (4) despising the uncircumcised; (5) purification and shaving of the head; (6) transferring impurity or infection from individuals to some animal, which in some instances is slain and in others purposely lost on the veld; (7) reception by women of parties returning from hunting or war, as in the case of Jephthah; (8) feasts of new moons and invocations to new moons; (9) feasts of full moons; (10) offerings of first fruits; (11) defilement by touching the dead; (12) defilement of eating flesh containing blood; (13) abhorrence of swine as unclean; (14) sprinkling the worshippers with blood; (15) places of refuge; (16) observance of Sabbath; (17) marriage only among themselves; (18) casting of lots; (19) sacrifices of oxen; (20) practice of espousal before marriage; (21) brother succeeds to brother in office and property; (22) brother takes to wife the wives of his deceased elder brother; (23) a daughter does not inherit property or position except on the death of all her brothers; (24) rigid morality."
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