As one of the early melting pots of southern Africa, Limpopo has a number of important archeological sites where excavations have helped piece together a picture of the different people who inhabited the land for thousands of years. Some of the most interesting sites are at places where iron was smelted, as the development from what was essentially a Stone-Age culture to an Iron-Age culture, with its associated improvement in tools for cultivation and war, was a vital part of the migration of African tribes into South Africa around 1500 years ago. The presence of slag and other wastes provides the strongest clues – the iron itself seldom survives the processes of erosion. Some of the most revealing excavations have taken place at Thulamela, inside Kruger National Park not far from the Punda Maria Gate, Bakone Malapa cultural village outside Polokwane, Makapan’s Cave near Mokopane, Masorini, also in the Kruger park, not far from Phalaborwa, and the single most important site in Limpopo Province, Mapungubwe (Hill of the Jackals), west of Musina.

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