Mapungubwe: An ancient civilisation 1937 full report available now online

Posted on March 29, 2021

The Mapungubwe Archive in collaboration with the Department of Library’s Special Collections and Digital Scholarship Services are proud to announce the first comprehensive report on the excavations by the University of Pretoria is now available online. The fully digitised book, published by Cambridge Press in 1937, “Mapungubwe: ancient Bantu civilization on the Limpopo; reports on excavations at Mapungubwe (Northern Transvaal) from February 1933 to June 1935” (Fouche 1937) is considered a seminal study on the subject. As a secondary source, this critical research is frequently and actively used by undergraduate and postgraduate students from multiple disciplines as an introduction to Mapungubwe.

The Mapungubwe Archive is often inundated by requests for access to this publication, which is rare, as only 300 copies were printed at the time. Over the decades, Fouche’s publication has become a highly collectible part of Africana and rarely appears on private auction lots at high value. As a result, finding a copy of this much-wanted publication to access is not easy and not permissible even via interlibrary loan. The Mapungubwe Archive initiated the digitisation of the publication in an effort to support an external PhD researcher from the University of Queensland in Australia, who required urgent access to the publication during Covid-19 and was unable to visit the Archive. The University of Pretoria’s Special Collections and Digital Scholarship Services came to the rescue and kindly prioritised the digitisation of this valuable research resource, which is available here on UP Space.

- Author Sian Tiley-Nel
Published by Lelani van den Berg

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