Mined, melted and sculptured, adorning royalty and showcasing wealth and prestige, buried or lost in the earth for centuries, only to be excavated and exhibited and once more cast its seductive magic on the psyche of humans, Africa’s two most valuable gold artifact collections, have now found a permanent home in the recently launched Javett-UP Art center in the heart of Pretoria, South Africa. The ancient gold is exhibited in an impressive fortress-like tower, to protect it after another valuable archaeological gold collection, the Thulamela collection (1400 to 1700 AD) was stolen from the Stevenson-Hamilton Knowledge Resource Centre & Museum in the Kruger National Park in 2016. The Javett-UP Art Centre featuring the Mapungubwe Tower on the right. Mapungubwe Iron Age Settlement
Near the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers in the Limpopo province of South Africa, on the borders of Zimbabwe and Botswana lies Mapungubwe, where an Iron Age society, the Zhizo/Leokwe community, first settled in 900 – 1000 AD. By 1030 – 1220 AD a shift in regional economic and socio-political changes gave rise to the new nearby settlement and finally by 1220 – 1290 AD a ruling class emerged and thus the first southern African state came into being at Mapungubwe Hill. By 1300 AD, Mapungubwe was abandoned until it’s discovery in the 19th century. However, local knowledge of Mapungubwe has been recorded from oral histories, thus supporting ethnographic and historical evidence about the awareness of Mapungubwe as a sacred hill.
The discovery of gold artifacts on Mapungubwe Hill in 1932 served as a catalyst for academic research early in 1933 after the University of Pretoria had secured research rights from the government. Large-scale excavations were undertaken between 1933 and 1940, until research was disrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Intermittent excavations followed in the 1950s, which were then continued by thorough stratigraphic excavations throughout 1960s up to the late 1990s. The National Treasures Exhibition Javett-UP Art Centre
In a joint venture between the Javett Foundation and the University of Pretoria, the newly launched Javett-UP Art center is now to be the permanent home of the Mapungubwe National Treasure Gold Collection, as well as the AngloGold Ashanti Barbier-Mueller Gold of Africa Collection from West Africa. “Art is for everybody. It tells the story of where we come from and why we find ourselves right here, right now. The Javett-UP is, and will […]