Golden Rhinoceros of Mapungubwe

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Golden Rhinoceros of Mapungubwe
UP rhino.JPG
Golden Rhinoceros of Mapungubwe
CreatedKingdom of Mapungubwe (1075–1220)
Kingdom of Mapungubwe (in Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, South Africa)
Present locationMapungubwe Collection, University of Pretoria Museums

The golden rhinoceros of Mapungubwe is a medieval artifact made from wood which is covered in thin sheets of gold from the medieval Kingdom of Mapungubwe, which is located in modern-day South Africa. It was found on a royal grave on Mapungubwe Hill in 1932[1][2][3] by archaeologists from the University of Pretoria. The artifact is described as being "small enough to stand in the palm of your hand." [4][5]

From 26 October 2016 to 27 February 2017 it was on display at the British Museum as part of an exhibition celebrating the art of South Africa. [6]

The site reveals the existence of a ruling elite, living separately in a hilltop settlement. This is the first known example of a class-based society in southern Africa. This artifact shows the Mapungubwe as a wealthy trading centre.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steyn, Maryna (1 December 2007). "The Mapungubwe Gold Graves Revisited". The South African Archaeological Bulletin. 62 (186): 140–146. JSTOR 20474969.
  2. ^ Gardner, Guy A. (1937). Mapungubwe, Ancient Bantu Civilization on the Limpopo: Reports on excavations at Mapungubwe (Northern Transvaal) from February 1933 to June 1935, edited by Leo Fouché. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Duffey, Alex (2012). "Mapungubwe: Interpretation of the Gold Content of the Original Gold Burial M1, A620". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Smith, David. "British Museum may seek loan of the golden rhinoceros of Mapungubwe". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  5. ^ York, Geoffrey. "The return of the Golden Rhino". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  6. ^ "South Africa -- the art of a nation". The British Museum. The British Museum. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  7. ^ Nelson, Jo (2015). Historium. China: Big Pictures Press. p. 10.

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