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2nd Year UP Student’s Mock Excavation

Two weeks ago the second year archaeology students at the University of Pretoria had a mock excavation practical. They had to excavate, document their finds, draw a site plan and a stratigraphy sequence:

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Interview: Kefilwe Rammutloa – Uppsala Exchange Program

Today, we have a short interview with Kefilwe Rammutloa, an Archaeology Masters student at the University of Pretoria. Kefilwe just came back from an exchange program in Sweden and we asked her to tell us about her experience:
I went to Uppsala University, Sweden, for an exchange program with the aim of developing my academic career further. The exchange program was made up of laboratory work, as well as coursework. I took courses in Ethnoarchaeology that aimed at creating critical understanding and the importance of understanding past communities and cultures using modern societies. Another course that I took was GIS for humanities students, this course was essential in teaching me basic GIS applications. The GIS skills I have learned are vital in mapping the trade, exchange and consumption arteries during AD900 to AD1300 in the Greater Mapungubwe Landscape, which my MA disseratation is focusing on.
I also took a course in Historical ecology, this course enhanced my understanding on multidisciplinary projects in understanding how past communities influenced their environments and how the environments they lived in were not passive, rather, reacted to these actions. This course has influenced the focus of my future studies.  The Laboratory practicals were focused on ancient Botanical remains from a site known as Vasatagatan, Uppsala. The practicals aimed at teaching me how to flot soil samples, microscopic analysis and classification of charred botanical remains.
During my stay in Uppsala, I attended  multiple seminars that were focused on archaeological theory, these were very instrumental in shaping my understanding of trade and exchange networks, as well as interaction studies across the globe. I spent a little over eight months learning Awedish, living with absolutely amazing people (19) in a student commune known as Fjillet. This was a magical experience, especially, the unconditional love and warmth I received from my housemates and many close friends I met in the student town. One thing I will never forget is the feeling of excitement as I saw the first fall of snow, and then seeing the sun setting 10:00pm and rising at 3:30am in the morning!
My exchange to Uppsala University has definitely encouraged me even further to do a PhD abroad and bring back the skill to the African continent and grow African archaeology even further.


I would like to encourage all  upcoming post-graduate archaeology student to apply for the next season of  the exchange program as this is a lifetime opportunity that will enrich you, and I would also like to thank the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Pretoria and the  Department of Archaeology at Uppsala University for making this possible! I really appreciate the opportunity you gave me.

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International Journal of Student Research in Archaeology




Third year archaeology student museum trip

The 3rd year archaeology students went on a trip to the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History earlier this year. They were given a great tour:
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The National Cultural History Museum explores South Africa’s cultural diversity in various permanent and temporary exhibitions. Exhibitions include rock paintings and engravings of the San people; thousand year old Iron Age figurines from Schroda in the Limpopo Province (described as “the best known artifacts indicating ritual behaviour in the Early Iron Age”); the Art Gallery presents an overview of South African culture through time, using cultural objects, crafts, sculpture and paintings and an exhibition on Marabastad is a true example of a cosmopolitan and fully integrated rainbow nation before apartheid. – Source



Archaeology students of UP go to PAA 2014!

In July (14th – 18th), the Honours, Masters and PhD Archaeology students of UP went to The 14th Congress of the Pan African Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies and the 22nd Biennial Meeting of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists proudly hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand.


Some of the UP students and Tim Forssman (UP postdoctoral fellow)


Tim Forssman (UP postdoctoral fellow) presenting a paper entitled: Changing forager settlement patterns on the greater Mapungubwe landscape, southern Africa


Masters student Trent Seiler at one of the oral presentations


The @pastevolve dancers/performers teaching us about evolution! Great show!


Archaeology students of UP during lunch time!

All in all, it was a great conference where we learned a lot, made great connections and were inspired by the great research being done in African archaeology!


Honours students tour the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History

The Honours class of 2014, took a tour of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History last week.


Dr. Shaw Badenhorst (Senior Curator: Archaeozoology and Large Mammal Section; HOD: Vertebrate Department) showed them the ins and outs of the Archaeozoology department, including a tour of the lab.


All in all it was a fantastic learning experience!


Archaeology Students of UP Say 2013 – Results

Last year Archaeology @ UP sent out a questionnaire to all the archeology students of UP. The aim was to ask a mix of fun and serious questions and see what the students like, which authors the students read and what type of research the students are interested in. This year we aim to do the same with another survey for students to fill out: click here.

So without further a due, here are the results for 2013:

Firstly, we wanted to know which year the archaeology students that took this survey were in:

As we can see we had no 2nd years participating, hopefully in the next survey we will have more!

If you could only study one topic in archeology for the rest of your career what would it be?

Forensic archaeology and Maritime archeology are the clear winners here!

Which author of archaeological related articles is your favorite? (Local or international)

Tom Huffman takes the lead! With Dorian Fuller and Ina Plug coming in close second and third.

When you tell people that you study archaeology, which is the most common thing that people think it entails?

No surprise here, I have heard both Paleontology and Geology several times!

What is your favorite part of an excavation process?

What is your favorite time period?    

How many excavations have you been on?

What is your ultimate goal by studying archaeology?    

The rich, famous and making money were quite peculiar answers for the field of archaeology, but we can all dream and hope for the best!

Choose 2 items that are a must have for you on an excavation?

All very valid things to take on excavation. I personally know that Biltong can only help when taking some for you lecturers as well!

Do you have a favorite artefact, that you personally found? What type of artefact was it?

Metal Objects and Structures are the clear winners here!

If you couldn’t be an archaeologist, which career would you rather have?

These were the top 3 choices:

Game Ranger

With these also featuring: Conservation Volunteer – Veterinarian – Zoologist – Traveler – Anthropologist – Astronomer – Geographer – Pirate – Vulcanologist – Architect – Medicine – Journal Editor – Research/Education – Scientist – Art – Forensic Detective – Biochemist – Forensic Anthropologist

What is the best thing about archaeology for you?  


I fully agree! The people you meet in archaeology are great!

What is the worst thing about archaeology for you?

This was the clear winner:

Salary/unemployment/not enough research fields in south Africa

With these following closely:

Not having black and white answers/grey areas
Not finding anything on excavation/or confusion about what has been found and having to ask
Too much information/Feeling like you don’t know enough

And then these:

Living in a tent
The dust
The politics
Community Engagement
Going home after field work
No problem!
Cold evenings on field-school
Archaeology not being appreciated

If you could find any lost or mythical artefact/object/place/person, what would it be?

The Top 2 nominations were:

Kruger millions

And then we got some other pretty great answers:

Medieval black-smith
Hitlers remains
The first human being on earth
Discovering a new ancient language
El Dorado
Something Greek
The place where the under water god meet with his human lover
The Solaris (mythical ship from the Cities of Gold animated series)
My student card, also a fossil that expands our understanding of human evolution
The flying dutchman
A secret preserved stash of books for the Library in Alexandria Egypt
The tree of life
The Golden Fleece
Anything the Smithsonian would be interested in

And lastly, Lara Croft or Indiana Jones?

It was pretty close, but it is no surprise that Indiana Jones won!

Thank you to everyone who took part in this survey!

If you are an archaeology student at UP, be sure to fill in the 2014 survey/questionnaire by clicking here.