You discovered in this chapter that there are many theoretical frameworks through which archaeologists can view a site and that each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses. With this in mind, let us return to the case study of Great Zimbabwe.
The site of Great Zimbabwe is located in the modern Republic of Zimbabwe, a former British colony with significant political and social problems. As you learned in this chapter, the diffusionist explanation of Great Zimbabwe, which was championed by white scholars as late as the 1970s, held that the black natives of Zimbabwe could never have constructed such an impressive site. You will notice this recalls similar arguments put forth by early American researchers (described in Chapter 1 of your book), who could not believe the impressive earthwork mounds that dot the eastern United States could have been produced by the ancestors of Native Americans.
For this activity use your book, the library, and the internet to explore the difficult interpretive history of Great Zimbabwe and find answers to the following questions.