157pp., b/w & colour illus., maps, paperback, Johannesburg, (2014) 2016.
The history of the ruined settlements in Mpumalang known as Bokoni, the country of the Koni people.
Between Ohrigstad and Carolina, over 10 000 square kilometres of the escarpment are connected into a complex web of stone-walled homesteads, terraced fields and linking roads. The archaeological and historical research presented in "Forgotten World" demonstrates "that these settlements were at their peak between 1500 and 1820, that they housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation and productivity" (from the back cover), and that the Koni were part of a trading system linked to the coast of Mozambique and the world of Indian Ocean trade.
Also available in Afrikaans and Sepedi.
Peter Delius is Professor of History at the University of the Witwatersrand. His latest books include "Mpumalanga: history and heritage" and "Mpumalanga, an illustrated history", both with Michael Hay, and "A Long Way Home: migrant worker worlds 1800-2014", co-edited with Laura Phillips and Fiona Rankin-Smith.
In the 1960s archaeologist Tim Maggs did pioneering research on the precolonial black farming communities in the Free State. Retired to the Western Cape, he continues to cooperate in research projects on the Later Stone Age and early farming communities in the Western Cape, North West and especially Mpumalanga.
Alex Schoeman is a senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand.