Rock tanks on the hills of the Shashe-Limpopo Confluence Area (SLCA) were incorporated into rain-control
rituals. Not only was their occurrence an important component in the selection of rain hills, they also acted
as receptacles for rain-control material culture and fauna. Cupules that mark all the rain hills increase in
density around rock tanks. This increase in cupule density indicates that encounters with rock tanks were not
brief visits in order to discard rain refuse; rather they comprised longer encounters, during which repeated
hammering engaged with and reconfigured both the rock tank and rain hill.
The ‘being’ and meanings of rock tanks were the product of hunter-gatherer and farmer knowledge about
rain merging to form rain knowledge of the SLCA. Understanding of SLCA rain subsequently became
entangled in the topographic features used in rain control, and the features and know-how merged into local
rain wisdom. Simultaneously, rain control played an important role in K2-Mapungubwe ideology and state
formation. In this place and context, rock tanks became symbols of rain, but also symbols of the multifaceted
SLCA society of the early second millennium.