A combination of archaeology, written historical evidence, oral history and ethnography was used to investigate contact between Swazi communities in the eastern Mpumalanga lowveld and the colonial frontier during19th century colonial expansion into the area. Archaeological data was collected from two Swazi residential sites, Mekemeke and eKusoleni. Oral traditions indicate that these sites were occupied from the mid 1860’s to the mid 1930’s. Data from these sites were compared in an effort to explore the changes in contact between the Swazi and Westerners intensified over time. The incorporation of new types of material culture was selective and guided by internal dynamics.