The World Heritage Site of Mapungubwe was once the capital of a country as large as Swaziland, surrounded by more than 200 satellite towns.
Archaeologists have been carefully picking over the ruins for decades, and they tell us the rule of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe extended from about 1200 AD to 1270 AD.
Not long after the demise of Mapungubwe, the fortified city of Zimbabwe (capital of the Monomotapa Empire) rose to the east.
Mapungubwe Hill has lost many of its treasures over the years.
Even so, there was enough for archaeologists at the University of Pretoria to slowly piece together the story of Mapungubwe.
They found human skeletons lying in seated or foetal positions, often with artefacts like beads, ivory, animal bones and pots.
Burials on the hill were obviously those of royalty, and vast quantities of gold were found with their remains.
The most intact gold artefact still under safekeeping at the university is the small figurine of a gold rhino.
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