A conference of imaginative historians
Imagine you are historians seeking an explanation for the buried finds of Mapungubwe. Why would the people of that time make such special, beautiful and costly objects, only to bury them forever in the ground with their owners? The pharaohs of Egypt also took their treasures with them into their tombs. They believed that death was merely the start of a journey westwards into the afterlife – where life would continue, and they would need both everyday and precious things.
Here in Mapungubwe you will need to speculate, based on what we know. What might possibly be the explanation for these funeral treasures?
- Write up your ideas as if you were going to present them to a conference of other historians. Give reasons for your conclusions (even if they are based on conjecture).
- Try to imagine if today we still practised the custom of being buried with our most precious possessions, what objects do you think you would choose to take with you?