sharing in governance of extractive industries

Plea for Scientific Input in South-Eastern Africa Humanities Research

The below please is posted on behalf of my friend and colleague Ann Kritzinger, Zimbabwe Geological Survey (pictured left), Harare, Zimbabwe; and Associate member International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management & Society for Africanist Archaeologists (ICAHM).  

Ann has contributed significant, and linked, documents to the Zimbabwe pages of the EI Sourcebook project, a partner project to GOXI, including: Nyanga's Ancestral Gold (Nyanga is a district of Zimbabwe in Manicaland province); Gold-Mining Landscapes of NyangaLaboratory Analysis Reveals Direct Evidence of Precolonial Gold Recovery in the Archaeology of Zimbabwe‟s Eastern Highlands.  Interestingly, "Manica" is also the name of a neighbouring Mozambican province across the border from Manicaland, Zimbabwe; Manica mining videos are also available (in Portuguese) on the EISB website.



African Archaeology Without Frontiers: papers from the 2014 PanAfrican Archaeological Association Congress, published by Wits University Press in 2016, has unwittingly revealed an opportunity to introduce geophysical and geochemical scientific programmes into the humanities-based research of the African Farming Network. The Network’s paper is the first of the nine Congress papers in the book. Titled ‘The “Useable” Archaeology of African Farming Systems’, it focuses on ‘intensive farming’ in its research regions of Marakwet (Kenya) and Bokoni (RSA). The paper introduces the fundamental truth that these regions have the following features A and B in common. Both are anomalous to efficient farming practice:

  A. SOILS. The ‘underlying geology’ is world-renowned gold-hosting formations; and
  B. CROPS. No quantitative evidence of grain for inferred population explosions.

More: please see attached attached 'Plea for Science... FULL TEXT, the Introduction to which is shown above and its Conclusion shown below.


Lack of quantitative proof of grain, and adoption of grindstones as circumstantial evidence of agriculture, is scientifically questionable. The cross-country tally is not representative of ‘intensive farming’.

In 2016 a ground-penetrating radar survey detected significant stockworks of narrow but rich quartz veins beneath the hillslope terracing at Nyanga’s first artisanal gold mine (Gold-mining Landscapes of Nyanga [GLN] pdf p30). They are the primary-source ore bodies from which placer deposits of secondary enrichment were formed on the hillslopes by weathering. These hillslope deposits were worked-out by pre-colonial placer miners using terracing as an erosion-controlled mechanism for trapping surface gold in hilltop runoff (GLN pdf p16). 

Summing up: A. It would be advantageous to include GPR surveys to detect bedrock ore bodies in south-eastern Africa’s terraced hills within the African Farming Network’s proposal for remote sensing technology to record historic imagery (p4). This introduction to run in tandem with student projects to sample built archaeology for geochemical laboratory analysis. B. Archaeologists should waste no further decades seeking in vain for seeds of grain. In Robert Thornton’s PhD programme in Zimbabwe for his anthology department at Wits University, XRF analysis has detected residues of gold on grindstones.

My hope is that the facts I present will encourage reverse engineering within science faculties of universities to challenge the norm. GPR signals to the mining industries of bedrock ore bodies can introduce deep-level extraction monitored by contract archaeology. Seen as the future of archaeology in South Africa, this watchdog practice can benefit impoverished communities across south-eastern Africa.

Ann Kritzinger Cellphone: +263 (0)783 281 843 PO Box 43 Juliasdale, Zimbabwe

Institute of Affiliation: Zimbabwe Geological Survey, Mauffe Bldg,Selous Ave, Harare Associate menber of the  International Committee on Archeaological Heritage Management, and Member of Society for Africanist Archaeologists.


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Comment by daniel gilbert on September 6, 2017 at 13:29

Re. FULL TEXT link above (repeated here), dead-link now corrected.


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