Zimbabwe is a country in southern Africa that was formerly known as Rhodesia and was established in 1890 by European settlers. Zimbabwe gained independence from the colonial regime in 1980 and has a rich historical background. This study serves to understand the use of archaeology in two selected Form 3 Zimbabwean history textbooks.
The study was a case study with embedded units of analysis situated in the interpretivist paradigm analysing how and why archaeology had been used in Zimbabwean school history textbooks. Content analysis of each unit was employed to better understand this concept and the transdisciplinary relationship between historians and archaeologists is conceptualized in the textbooks.
What emerged from the analysis was that archaeology was indeed made use of to explain the prehistory of Zimbabwe, it was just the depth of the archaeological content that differed between the two textbooks sampled. Archaeology was used in a nationalistic manner to show that prior to the arrival of Europeans, Zimbabwe did indeed have a thriving culture with city states, craftsmen and international trade contrary to the Eurocentric views that native Zimbabweans were primitive.
In this study, it was shown that without archaeology the prehistory of Zimbabwe would remain fragmented and mixed up in romanticised versions of Great Zimbabwe being built by the Queen of Sheba or being connected to the mines of King Solomon and never really giving credit to the native inhabitants of Zimbabwe who were the true architects of a nation as great as that of Great Zimbabwe. In the light of the recent political transformations in Zimbabwe, it was however evident that the history textbooks have changed, relying less on archaeology and more on a patriotic form of history filled with oral traditions and earlier historical writings of the Arabs and Portuguese traders and explorers of old.
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