The role of peripheries and satellite
settlements around ancient cities is a critical issue in
understanding past urban phenomena. The relations
between core urban centres and other settlements
have often been considered using centre–periphery
models. The limitations of such approaches are now
emerging as new evidence for interdependency, fluidity, and changeability between cities and their surroundings increases in quality and complexity. This
paper reviews the relations between ancient capital
centres in Africa and their peripheries, using Aksum
and Great Zimbabwe as case studies. It attempts at
reconciling indicators of interdependency between
these sites and core urban areas that current narratives of urban settlement struggle to accommodate.
The exercise opens new avenues to reconfigure
spatial representations and understandings of centre–periphery relations at specific sites and begin to
think about urban regions and textured landscapes.