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Excavations at the Iron Age Village Site of Fibobe II, Central Zambia
Journal of African Archaeology  (IF),  Pub Date : 2022-01-12, DOI: 10.1163/21915784-bja10012
Steven T. Goldstein, Jeremy Farr, Martha Kayuni, Maggie Katongo, Ricardo Fernandes, Anneke Janzen, Brooke Markham, Andrea Kay, Alison Crowther, Nicole Boivin

The period from c. AD 900 to AD 1300 in southern Africa is characterized by transitions from small-scale Iron Age mixed economy communities to the beginnings of more intensive food production and eventually the emergence of complex polities. In Zambia, this coincides with the appearance of larger and more permanent agro-pastoralist villages that began participating in Indian Ocean trade networks. Unlike other parts of southern Africa where stone architecture became common, the predominance of wattle-and-daub type construction methods across Zambia have often impeded preservation of Iron Age activity areas. It has therefore been difficult to reconstruct how economic and land-use changes between the Early and Later Iron Ages impacted family and community relationships reflected in intra-site and intra-household spatial organization. Fibobe II, in the Mulungushi River Basin of Central Zambia, is a rare example of an Early-to-Mid Iron Age village site where these spatial patterns may be discernable due to preservation of activity spaces and vitrified remains of wattle-and-daub structures. This paper reports on new investigations following original testing of the site in 1979, confirming preservation of an Iron Age hut with distinct patterning of features, artifacts, and charcoal. These results reaffirm the unique nature of Fibobe II and indicate the potential for programs of household archaeology aimed at studying this important and understudied period in Zambian prehistory.