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Bongumenzi Sithembiso Nxumalo

Bongumenzi Sithembiso Nxumalo

PhD student in Archaeology

Division of Archaeology
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3DZ


I was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, a region known for its natural beauty and the history of Zulu people. I moved to Johannesburg to conduct a degree in GIS/Geography and, there, I was first exposed to African archaeology. I became increasingly interested in the application of geographical/GIS skills to understand the human past; for which I pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria and training analyses of soil and plant macrofossils at UPPSALA University.

Research Interests

  • Archaeology of Early farming communities in Southern Africa
  • Analysis of soil micromorphology, chemical elements and hydrological data sets.

My research focuses on hydrological modelling in the Shashe-Limpopo river basin. This research has focussed on role of hydrological changes in the demise of southern Africa’s earliest state-society: Mapungubwe (1200–1300 AD) in the Shashe-Limpopo river basin, South Africa. The research strategy combines geoarchaeological field surveys; laboratory analyses (geochemistry and micromorphology); study of historical records and modern climatic data; predictive modelling using Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing and Hydraulic Engineering Center River Analysis System tools.

I am currently engaged in field projects focussing on Geoarchaeology in the middle Limpopo [AD 1000 and 1300 /Mapungubwe State/South Africa].

I am presently involved in the following research projects in South Africa: Conducting geoarchaeological investigations, including archaeological excavations and geomorphological survey, in the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and its hinterland as part of a cross-disciplinary research. 2017 – 2018: Collapse of Ancient Societies: Crisis and resilience in three spheres - Mapungubwe, Great Zimbabwe, and Aksum


Research Supervision

Principle Supervisor: Prof Charles French


Other Professional Activities

Member of Magdalene college

Association for Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA)

Society for Africanist Archaeologogists (SAfA)

Golden Key International Honour Society

Key Publications

Pikirayi Innocent, Sulas Federica, Musindo Tendai Treddah, Chimwanda Acquiline, Chikumbirike Joseph, Mtetwa Ezekia, Nxumalo Bongumenzi, Sagiya Munyaradzi Elton. Great Zimbabwe's water. WIREs Water 2016, 3: 195-210. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1133

Nxumalo, B. S. 2013. The ethnoarchaeological Study of Zulu pots in the Uthukela Basin:

Pikirayi et al. 2016.  Great Zimbabwe waters: