by Rob Milne - 2005
Looking exactly magnetic south from the Queen's grave on the summit of Mapungubwe there appears to be a rock "statue" in the far distance, with a large boulder directly opposite to it. This is precisely framed in the middle distance by two baobab trees of the same age, which appear to have been deliberately planted on this north-south line and which draw one's attention towards the rock "statue" and the large boulder.
The two baobabs can clearly be seen in the centre of the photograph, on the sloping ridge in the middle distance. Two light specks can be made out in the distance next to the upper foliage of the trees. The one on the right is the rock "statue" and the one on the left is the large boulder.
The "statue" is very interesting close-up. Is it natural, or have the stones been deliberately placed to resemble a hooded figure holding a disk and flanked on the right by a gargoyle?
Close up of the "statue" on the right , and the large boulder on the left. There is another huge boulder about 70 meters in the distance (behind the tree and the slope) - and directly on the north-south line between these two objects - which has a huge hole excavated underneath it. We found a huge piece of decorated pottery and an upper grindstone in the sand pile just next to that boulder (unfortunately I had run out of film at that point!).
There is a form of 5th Century BCE statue on display at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv which immediately struck me as very similar to the stone "statue" at
In the same museum there are huge beakers, which have a similar profile to that of the "gargoyle" on the right of the Mapungubwe "statue".
Now we return to the Queen's grave on Mapungubwe to find some interesting similarities to artifacts from King Solomon's Mines in the Negev desert.
Photograph  taken from between the rock "statue" and the big boulder looking north to the Queen's grave on the horizon in the centre of the photograph.
The funnel or "V-shaped" cupules which have been fashioned into the bedrock and some loose boulders near the Queen's grave, particularly, are quite puzzling. If they were used to crush food, the wear from the pestle would have caused the "V-shape" to alter to a "U" or cup shape - but this is not the case.
"V-shaped cupule in the bedrock near the Queen's grave. 
Could these cupules have some significance in gold processing? Exactly the same kind of cupule is found at King Solomon's Mine in the Negev desert!
Not a good photograph  taken in the Israel Museum, as it is through glass - and one is not allowed to take photographs anyway! The "V-shaped" cupule can be made out both in the bedrock replica at the left foreground, and in the small boulder at the top centre of the photograph. Note the grindstone on the left of the small boulder. Another interesting feature of the King Solomon's Mine display was the replica panel of rock paintings.
This is similar to our San rock art.
Returning to the vicinity of the Queen's grave on the summit of Mapungubwe, I noticed a proliferation of ant-lion traps. These have the same shape as the rock cupules!
Note the ant-lion traps in the sandy areas, especially the one at the left-hand side of the photograph. Is there a similarity between gold processing by man and by ant-lions? I found this write-up on "The Antlion Pit website
Milne. All rights reserved
Lions called ants
The fantastic story of the gold-digging "ant-lions" of India has a long and complicated history. The source might be the great Hindu(Sanskrit) epic, the Mah‚bh‚rata (with origins around 1000 B.C.E.),which makes reference to ants that excavated gold (Kevan 1992). The earliest surviving European account of khrusŰn murmÍkŰn (gold ants)-or murmÍkoleŰntes (ant-lions) as they were called much later-is found in the HistoriÍs Apůdexis of HÍrůdotos (ca. 430 B.C.E.). Druce (1923) retells the story of these unusually large and
[The] scene is laid in a northern district of India, where there
is a desert in which ants abound in size somewhat less than dogs but larger than foxes. They burrow under ground and heap up the sand which contains gold. The Indians go to the desert to collect this sand, each man provided with three camels harnessed together side by side, that is on either side a male, and in the middle a female on which he rides. The female must only just have been parted from her recently-born young. The Indians being thus equipped set out at such a time that they will arrive at the hottest hour of the day, for during the greatest heat the ants hide underground. They bring with them sacks which they fill with the sand and then
return as fast as they can. For the ants detect them by the smell and pursue them, so that if the Indians do not
get a good start while the ants are assembling, not a man could be saved. The male camels in time slacken their pace, but the females mindful of their young hasten on; and in this way the Indians return safely with their gold (pp. 354-355).
This story of giant ants that dig up and fiercely protect their gold
passed through various hands, including those of Nearchus (4th
century B.C.E.) and Megasthenes (3rd century B.C.E.). Nearchus is
quoted as having "seen the skins of ants which dig up gold, as large
as the skins of leopards." (Druce 1923, p. 355). According to Druce(1923) the term "ant-lion" appears around the 2nd century B.C.E. In his description of the lions of Arabia, Agatharchides "actually
mentions ant-lions by their Greek name (mirmecoleones) and says that in appearance most of them differ in no way from the other lions; and Strabo when describing the coasts adjacent to the Arabian Gulf says that the country abounds with elephants and lions called ants." (pp. 355-356).
The story was modified and embellished after the beginning of the
Christian era, often by replacing camels with horses, and increasing
the size of the ant-like creatures. In Peri ZŰŰn IdiotÍtos (or De
Natura Animalium), ca. 200, Aelian referred to "gold-digging
ant-lions." In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Philostratos and Solinus
placed the creatures in Ethiopia as well as in India. And it was
Solinus who, in his Collectrania Rerum Memorabilium (later called
Polyhistor), increased the size of the creatures to that of mastiff
dogs and added that they had talons like those of lions, with which
to scoop up the gold (Kevan 1992).
The best surviving illustrations of the story come from two 10th
century Anglo-Saxon manuscripts of the De Rebus in Oriente Mirabilibus in the British Library, London. The manuscripts depict the classic gold-digging "Indian ants," as well as the camels used to steal the gold (see Figures 1, 2, and 3). The text says that the ants are as big as dogs, are red and black, and have feet like locusts. The gold-seeking men bring both male and female camels and load the gold on the females. These then hasten back to their young foals, but the males left behind are discovered by the ants and devoured (Druce 1923).