Nyahokwe Village

Nyahokwe Village is a granite built site which is a national monument.It is located on the top of Nyahokwe mountain and it has similar characteristics with to other Nyanga Ruins.

See National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.


Evidence from excavations carried out on site show there has been occupation from hunter-gatherer periods of the Early Stone Age about 50,000 years ago in the form of crude tools that were made by striking flakes of stone off a rock. The stone flakes, or flake tools, that were struck off the cores, were used for cutting and skinning animals, or to work plant materials. The crude tools of the Early Stone Age were succeeded by smaller, more varied and finely made stone weapons of the Middle and Late Stone Age.

The hunter-gatherers were succeeded by a more settled agricultural people who brought with them domesticated animals, crops and used pottery, iron tools and weapons. The Ziwa culture (200 to 800AD) was a pre-cattle rearing farming community who raised sheep and goats in settlements. Although the culture lasted for at least 600 years, visible remains are very few as the people lived in flimsy huts and only rarely did they build rudimentary terraces in stone. Though these sites cannot be visited, examples of the Ziwa pottery, with its characteristic comb stamped rims and necks and various ironwork pieces, such as arrow and spearheads and hoes, are exhibited in the Ziwa Site Museum.

This was followed by a Transitional phase characterised by elements of both the Ziwa and Lowland cultures, (800 to 1,500 AD) during which later farming communities built the stone terraces and field systems, hill forts, pit structures and stone enclosures, iron smelting and forging furnaces and numerous dhaka huts

Description of the village

  • Just east of the path as it approaches the village, and about 100 metres below it, the level plateau of bare granite is scarred by a great number of grinding grooves in the native dolerite rock, often six or more purposely grouped within reach of one person seated at their centre. These were probably used for grinding grain, rather than the preparation of ores.
  • The great level circle, 18 m in diameter, with upright stones set round its perimeter formed, from local African parallels, a "dari" or meeting place of the village elders.
  • Leading off the dari to the northeast is a large pit structure whose typical features of tunnel, pit, platform and particularly hut circles are very clear
  • The village site itself is enclosed by a rough wall and entered through the usual lintelled entrance, which gives onto an inner passage. The sloping ground within contains numerous stone slab foundations of what were probably grain stores and also one strange circular cairn, almost a small "conical tower", whose real function is unknown. On the inner face of the outer wall are several small square niches or "cupboards" — a feature occasionally found elsewhere in the Lowland buildings. Evidence from the base of excavations of the village showed that the Ziwa culture preceded the stone building on this site and that from the eleventh century an apparently gradual and peaceful transitional phase occurred, marked by elements of both the Ziwa and Lowland cultures, from the eleventh to perhaps the fifteenth centuries, when the builders in stone took complete possession. The village was excavated by Mr. F. O. Bernhard, the owner of Ziwa farm, who gave the land on which the village and museum stand to the Historical Monuments Commission. On returning, notice the terracing of the hills immediately to the west of the museum and village site.

Why Visit

*The site is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list and is important for the evidence of continuous human population.
  • The remains these communities left behind in terms of stone-walled village complexes, stone-lined pit structures and the vast area of hill-side terracing make this area one of the most impressive of its kind in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Monuments, Galleries And Museums