The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa, giving testimony to the lost civilisation of the Shona. A great city existed here from the 11th century on, with over 10.000 inhabitants. Great Zimbabwe (“stone houses”) was a main regional trading center, its wealth associated with (Arab) gold trading. There were also trade links with East Africa (Kilwa), and fragments of Persian and Chinese pottery has been found at the site. Arab and European travellers in the 16th century sent marvelling reports home about this place and its impressive stone walls. The site was abandoned in the 15th century (for Khami) because of a lack of food and firewood. The ruins nowadays are spread out over three main areas: the Hill Ruins, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Ruins.