The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. An ancient civilization can be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, but in some parts of the world, the Copper Age served as a transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic from outside the region except for Sub-Saharan Africa where it was developed independently.
Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Egypt (hieroglyphs), the Near East (cuneiform), China (oracle bone script)—and the Mediterranean, with the Mycenaean culture (Linear B)—had viable writing systems.
A rondavel (from the Afrikaans word 'rondawel') is a westernised version of the African-style hut.
The rondavel is usually round or oval in shape and is traditionally made with materials that can be locally found in raw form. Its walls are often constructed from stones. The mortar may consist of sand, soil, or combinations of these, mixed with cow dung. The floor of a "traditional" rondavel is finished with a dung mixture to make it hard and smooth. The main roofing elements of a rondavel are spars or poles taken from tree limbs (called "gumpoles" these days), which have been harvested and cut to length. The roof covering is of thatch that is sewn to the poles with grass rope. The process of completing the thatch can take as little as one weekend or up to a year if made by a skilled artisan, as it must be sewn in one section at a time, starting from the bottom working towards the top. As each section is sewn, it may be weathered and aged to form a complete weatherproof seal.
Rondavels can be found in the countries of Southern Africa, including: South Africa, Lesotho (where the hut is also known as a mokhoro), Swaziland, Botswana, and others. In Réunion they exist only in public places, for picnics for example. In different areas, there are small local variations in wall height, roof pitch and general finish. Some people elaborately carve, paint, or decorate the outside wall that has been finished off with dung. In other places, people leave their rondavels undecorated.
In recent times, with the availability of modern construction materials, the appearance and construction of rondavels has changed. They may have concrete foundations, be built with cement blocks or brick, mortared with cement, and/or roofed with corrugated tin. While the traditional rondavel did not have running water, electricity, and/or other modern amenities, many are now equipped with, or have been adapted to accommodate these services.