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Notes on the Geography of Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe: Photo 2

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The mountain naturally sheds parallel-sided slabs of granite. Presumably they were the inspiration for someone to stack the blocks into walls. Generally twice as high as they are thick, the walls of Great Zimbabwe are not made entirely of blocks, however. Instead, they are filled with rubble and only faced with blocks. Still, they're handsome, and the builders used only two kinds of simple tools: first, stone hammers to knap the corners and, second, measuring rods to keep the courses horizontal.

How do you break stone with stone? Answer: find a stone harder than the one you want to break. In this case, the hammers were dolerite (diabase), a dark rock harder than granite.

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