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Published: 07 October 2022

By Andy Ross

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Ringing stones

A few years ago on a trip to my homeland, Zimbabwe, I was lucky enough to be taken to hear ringing stones.

Ringing stones. The epithet is apt. These huge boulders sound like gongs when they are hit with stones and they occur across the planet. Those who study prehistory seem to agree that ancient people used them for spiritual reasons but, like sound, actions are not preserved in the fossil record so these are educated and informed guesses. Prosaically called "Rock Gongs" it is likely that such rocks were used for these reasons; the sound is magical and often spellbinding, coming as it does seemingly from an inert piece of stone. The boulders I saw have indentations where countless stones have been used to strike the surface of the rocks, producing ringing and deep tones that vibrate in the body and echo in the stillness of the African bush. 

In this poetic article, sent in by a reader from South Africa, "the bell rock of Ntsikana – ‘Intsimbi’ ka Ntsikana" is explored through an African view of Christianity, taking in the fossil record, 20th Century writing, and contemporary theatre of many descriptions. It is a beautiful article that captures the magic of these stones. Thank you for the opportunity to share this.