South of the Hill Complex lies the Great Enclosure, the largest single ancient structure in sub-Saharan Africa. Its outer wall is some 820 feet (250 metres) in circumference, with a maximum height of 36 feet (11 metres). An inner wall runs along part of the outer wall forming a narrow parallel passage, 180 feet (55 metres) long, which leads to the Conical Tower. The purpose of the tower, 33 feet (10 metres) high and 16 feet (5 metres) in diameter, is unknown, but it may have been a symbolic grain bin or a phallus symbol.Aerial view of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.ZEFAGreat Zimbabwe was largely abandoned during the 15th century. With the city’s decline, its stoneworking and pottery-making techniques seem to have transferred southward to Khami (now also in ruins). Portuguese explorers probably encountered the ruins in the 16th century, but it was not until the late 19th century that the existence of the ruins was confirmed, generating much archaeological research. European explorers who visited the site in the late 1800s believed it to be the legendary city of , the site of King Solomon’s mines. Because of its stonework and further evidence of an advanced , the site was variously, and erroneously, attributed to ancient civilizations such as the Phoenician, Greek, or Egyptian. In 1905 the English archaeologist concluded that the ruins were and of exclusively African origin; his findings were confirmed by the English archaeologist in 1929.Narrow pathway between walls at the Great Zimbabwe ruins, southeastern Zimbabwe.Colin Hoskins/ImagestateIn the late 19th century numerous soapstone figurines in the form of a bird were found in the ruins; this Zimbabwe Bird later became a national symbol, incorporated into the Zimbabwe flag and shown in other places of high honour. Great Zimbabwe became a and was designated a in 1986. Despite its historical importance and its nationalistic role, however, the site has received inadequate government funding for its preservation and scientific study.. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe (c. 1220–1450) was a medieval BaKalanga kingdom located in modern-day Zimbabwe. Its capital, Lusvingo, now called Great Zimbabwe, is the largest stone structure in precolonial Southern Africa.. Great Zimbabwe’s successor from about 1450 was the Butua state, based at Khami (Kame) near Bulawayo in western Zimbabwe. Butua controlled trade in salt and hunting dogs from the eastern Makgadikgadi Pans, around which it built stone-walled command….