Sites & cities that bear the name of Leopard's Kopje

Leopard's Kopje

Today in : Zimbabwe
First trace of activity : ca. 9th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 11th century C.E

Description : Leopard's Kopje is an archaeological site, the type site of the associated region or culture that marked the Middle Iron Age. The ceramics from the Leopard's Kopje type site have been classified as part of phase II of the Leopard's Kopje culture. For information on the region of Leopard's Kopje, see the "Associated sites" section of this article. K. R. Robinson conducted several excavations in the area, beginning in 1961. Thomas Huffman, who first excavated Leopard's Kopje in August 1969, is also an important archaeologist of the site. Huffman's excavations found three different phases of occupation, Zhizo, Mambo, and Refuge. Refuge phase The occupation from the 18/19th centuries is called the Refuge phase. Because it was the latest phase of occupation at the Leopard's Kopje site, its stratigraphy is closest to the surface and was therefore excavated first. Below a thin humus layer was a large ashy layer, in which artifacts such as zebra teeth, freshwater mussel shells, and turtle shells were found. Pottery sherds were found in middens and among stone structures. At least one known burial was found at this level. Mambo phase In the original excavation by Huffman, several structures were found at the Mambo phase level, dating to the 10/11th centuries. Artifacts such as figurines and cattle teeth were discovered in multiple trenches. Evidence of an infant burial was also found. Several hut floors and plastered courtyards were uncovered, giving archaeologists a sense of the layout of the settlement. Zhizo phase The stratigraphy shows that the earliest settlement is from the 9th century AD, now called the Zhizo phase. Possible traces of manure indicate that people kept goats or sheep. Along with large amounts of Zhizo pottery, artifacts such as glass and shell beads, copper bangles, daga rubble, and iron slag were excavated by Huffman and his team. "Zhizo" is also a term used for the cultural phase that preceded the Leopard's Kopje cultural phase.

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