Archaeology and Anthropology


This is an exciting archaeological area with microliths (small quartz stone tools) around our lodge, newly found and unrecorded Late Stone Age schematic rock art and Iron Age workings within the Mutinondo Wilderness Area. Nachikufu Cave 53km from the lodge is also worth a visit. The dominant rock art of this region is Nachikufan named after these caves and relics which were first excavated in 1950.
The local population is the Plateau Bisa tribe who are the mushroom clan renowned for its hunting. They are well described in the book 'Large Mammals and a Brave People - subsistence hunters in Zambia' by Dr. Stuart Marks.
Like many ethnic groups inhabiting modern Zambia, the Bisa had their origins in the Lunda-Luba empire formerly situated in the south central Congo. The Bisa say that it was from this empire, called "Kola" and ruled by Mwata Yamfu, that their ancestors came, and that disputes arising from land scarcity led to their emigration. According to Thomas (1958), the emigration by the Bisa from Kola occurred about 1650, but it was not until early eighteenth century that the Bisa emerged as a distinct ethnic unit.

According to the Valley Bisa (the Bisa who settled in the Luangwa Valley), the emigrating groups of their own ancestors and those of the Bemba (the sister tribe) were together until they crossed the Chambezi River. It was here, while the group paused before crossing, that the Bemba built a fish trap and caught a crocodile. When the Bisa found a ford and crossed, the Bemba remained to investigate and consume the crocodile...Thus, among the Bisa, the "Ngona" (mushroom) became the clan of Bisa chiefs, and the Ngandu (crocodile) became the dominant clan among their sister group, the Bemba.

(Note: The belief among-st our Bisa employees is that there was great hunger whilst at the Chambezi River and the two clans separated over a dispute because a woman hid a mushroom from another woman so she had food for her baby. Hence the "Bowa" clan which is the local name for mushrooms.)

From the Chambezi, the Bisa traveled to the plateau said to be near Mainza Hill (note: Mayense our largest inselberg/granite dome), near the headwaters of the Mutinondo and Mupamadzi rivers and settled there."
Old village sites can be found around the Mutinondo Wilderness area and evidence of an old fortification where the Bisa hid from invading tribes lies along Mafoni Road -an old road to the escarpment. Apparently the Bisa moved from the Mutinondo Area about 100 years ago because of the attractions offered by the new road and during a scheme by the first Zambian President of village regrouping. The local economy is still very dependent on hunting/poaching of the diminishing wildlife and Mutinondo Wilderness is involved in trying to solve the Community's need to diversify. They are applying for a natural resources management area (120,000 ha) right around the Mutinondo Wilderness Area to conserve as their own.

This is an exciting archaeological area with microliths (small quartz stone tools) around our lodge, newly found and unrecorded Late Stone Age schematic rock art and Iron Age workings within the Mutinondo Wilderness Area. Nachikufu Cave 53km from the lodge is also worth a visit. The dominant rock art of this region is Nachikufan named after these caves and relics which were first excavated in 1950.

The local population is the Plateau Bisa tribe who are the mushroom clan renowned for its hunting. They are well described in the book 'Large Mammals and a Brave People - subsistence hunters in Zambia' by Dr. Stuart Marks.
Like many ethnic groups inhabiting modern Zambia, the Bisa had their origins in the Lunda-Luba empire formerly situated in the south central Congo. The Bisa say that it was from this empire, called "Kola" and ruled by Mwata Yamfu, that their ancestors came, and that disputes arising from land scarcity led to their emigration. According to Thomas (1958), the emigration by the Bisa from Kola occurred about 1650, but it was not until early eighteenth century that the Bisa emerged as a distinct ethnic unit.

According to the Valley Bisa (the Bisa who settled in the Luangwa Valley), the emigrating groups of their own ancestors and those of the Bemba (the sister tribe) were together until they crossed the Chambezi River. It was here, while the group paused before crossing, that the Bemba built a fish trap and caught a crocodile. When the Bisa found a ford and crossed, the Bemba remained to investigate and consume the crocodile...Thus, among the Bisa, the "Ngona" (mushroom) became the clan of Bisa chiefs, and the Ngandu (crocodile) became the dominant clan among their sister group, the Bemba.

(Note: The belief among-st our Bisa employees is that there was great hunger whilst at the Chambezi River and the two clans separated over a dispute because a woman hid a mushroom from another woman so she had food for her baby. Hence the "Bowa" clan which is the local name for mushrooms.)

From the Chambezi, the Bisa traveled to the plateau said to be near Mainza Hill (note: Mayense our largest inselberg/granite dome), near the headwaters of the Mutinondo and Mupamadzi rivers and settled there."
Old village sites can be found around the Mutinondo Wilderness area and evidence of an old fortification where the Bisa hid from invading tribes lies along Mafoni Road -an old road to the escarpment. Apparently the Bisa moved from the Mutinondo Area about 100 years ago because of the attractions offered by the new road and during a scheme by the first Zambian President of village regrouping. The local economy is still very dependent on hunting/poaching of the diminishing wildlife and Mutinondo Wilderness is involved in trying to solve the Community's need to diversify. They are applying for a natural resources management area (120,000ha) right around the Mutinondo Wilderness Area to conserve as their own. More about this in Chintu Mukulu.