A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Thulamela is an intriguing ancient kingdom created by advanced ancient Shona people whose origin remains unknown.
"Thulamela' means "place of birth" (or "the place of giving birth") in a Venda language, an official language of South Africa.
Ruins of the walls in Thulamela ancient kingdom. Image credit: Britannica
Based on archaeological excavations conducted in the area of the hilltop at Thulamela, people of Thulamela probably, came from Zimbabwe.
The settlement has many visible traces of the culture of Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe.
Similar to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the stone city of Thulamela was located in the north-eastern part
of South Africa near Zimbabwe and Mozambique and had high walls that separating royalty from common people.
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The Thulamela Kingdom and its culture has many secrets that have never been solved.
Mysterious Shona People Who Formed First Empires
The walls were built by the Shona people, whose exact origin remains unknown.
After 1000 AD, the Shona people began to form first empires; and about 14th century, these empires including Great Zimbabwe, Changamire and Thulamela became widely known because they competed for trade in gold and ivory with Arab and later, Portuguese traders, and came in trade contacts with cultures as far away as East Africa, Persia, Egypt, India and China.
Thulamela thrived between 1350 and 1650 AD. Its people employed sophisticated mining skills, and succeeded in converting iron ore into carbon steel for use in tools and weapons, and traded along the Swahili Coast.
The ruins of the ancient stone city of Thulamela were uncovered less than a decade ago in the Kruger National Park of South Africa's northern provinces.
Archaeologists also discovered two skeletons that had been buried with gold jewellery, pottery, metal hoes and spear blades.
Were "King Ingwe" ("leopard") and "Queen Losha" Rulers of Thulamela?
These could be the tombs of a royal pair, a king and queen, who ruled the kingdom of Thulamela
during the sixteen century. Archaeologists dubbed the man - "King Ingwe", meaning "leopard", because on this day, his grave was found and opened and a leopard was seen as the archaeological team were on the way to their vehicle.
The remains were analyzed by scientists at the Department of Anatomy at the University of Pretoria who found that the one skeleton was male and the other female.
The man was wearing gold jewellery and may have been the king of Thulamela.
The woman's skeleton was also tested and revealed that she was not one of the king's family members, but that she was possibly also from a noble family.
he was discovered lying on her side with her palms together and her hands under her left temple.
In the Venda tradition women greet men in this way, which is why archaeologists believe that the people of Thulamela were the ancestors of the Venda people today.
The Venda people call this greeting and sign of respect -"losha" - so the skeleton was named "Queen Losha".
When the queen's remains were found, two leopards were seen on the Thulamela road.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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