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The annual Pretoria ArchSoc lecture in conjunction with UPAS was a huge success! “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter” Middle Earth’s Mapungubwe Gold Collection by Sian Tiley-Nel was fascinating and sparked a lot of questions afterwards.
The Hanisch Prize for Excellence in Postgraduate Studies in Archaeology was also awarded to two students for the year 2014:
Mahlatse Mapheto – Undergraduate
Annemarie Boot – Post-graduate
“All That is Gold Does Not Glitter” Middle Earth’s Mapungubwe Gold Collection by Sian Tiley-Nel
Date: Thursday 6 August 2015 Time: 19:00
Venue and meeting place: Sci-Enza Building, University of Pretoria
Charge: ArchSoc and UPAS members: free Non-members: R30
Over the past decade, the archaeological Mapungubwe gold collection has been examined and documented in detail as part of an ongoing curatorial programme at the University of Pretoria (UP). There has also been research progress on dating Mapungubwe Hill’s gold burials (AD 1250-AD 1290), as well as a significant conservation programme, which came to an end in 2009 with the Gold Treasures of Mapungubwe exhibition. Such initiatives ensure that the collection is accessible to a wide audience to revitalize further research and new interpretations.
Sian will provide an illustrative view of the breath-taking gold collection, which comprises the iconic gold foil figurines, including 117 gold bracelets, 139 necklaces, 133 anklets, more than 25,412 gold beads and a multitude of unusual fragmentary gold foil forms. A highlight exclusively for the Archaeological Society will be some rare clips of one-and-only film footage of the early 1933 Mapungubwe excavations revealing fascinating narratives of that time in archaeology.
There are also plans to upgrade the gold gallery, which will be completed by 2016 with funding from the National Lottery and will offer visitors unique opportunities to explore the workmanship of the gold and its three associated burials.The UP Museums are continuously fundraising for the conservation and research of this internationally significant archaeological collection.
Sian is currently the Manager of UP Museums and has been Chief Curator of the Mapungubwe Collection for 15 years at UP. She studied at UP, where she obtained her honours and master’s degree in Archaeology, followed by a post graduate degree in Museum Studies. She has been inducted into the Order of Merit Laureatus Conservator at The South African Institute for Objects Conservation. She is currently pursuing her DPhil. Sian is also author of Mapungubwe Remembered and curated the Lerapo (meaning bone in Sepedi) exhibition of the K2 and Mapungubwe bone tool and ivory collection at the UP Museums.
No photography allowed
Inside the Mapungubwe Archives
by Sian Tiley-Nel
The lecture is being presented in partnership with the student body, UPAS – the University of Pretoria Archaeological Society. Sherry will be served from 18:30 to give people a chance to meet.
Date: Thursday 14 August 2014
Venue: Sci-Enza Building, University of Pretoria
Charge: ArchSoc and UPAS members: free – Non-members: R30
The Mapungubwe Archives is a buried gem of archaeological knowledge and is a unique, irreplaceable collection, which requires active curation management, care and preservation. The Museum preserves its archives and all records for their intrinsic, research, historical and continuing value, which is a result of the culmination of 81 years of the University of Pretoria’s research and involvement with Mapungubwe.
The archive is extensive, consisting of more than 3000 photographs and negatives, 2000 slides and 60 000 documents, including maps, field reports, manuscripts, publications, drawings, site plans and excavation reports, as well as a useful reference section bearing upon the relevance of Mapungubwe. An overview of the archive will be illustrated, providing a glimpse of the first photographs and new information from recently transcribed tapes of the discovery. Included are rare aerial photographs and some interesting letters of correspondence. The valuable research use of the archive today will also be highlighted to expand one’s appreciation of the University’s commitment to preserving and understanding Mapungubwe.
Sian Tiley-Nel is currently the Chief Curator of the University of Pretoria Museums, and she has curated the Mapungubwe Collection for over 14 years. She majored and graduated cum laude in Archaeology and Applied Anthropology, and later completed her postgraduate degree in Museum Science. In 2011, she graduated with distinction in the class of Honoratus in the Ceramics Conservation Department, and has been inducted as Laureatus Conservator at The South African Institute for Objects Conservation. She also recently completed her Master’s degree in Archaeology on the technology of the K2 and Mapungubwe ceramics. This is her gap year, where she is also serving as project manager on several critical Mapungubwe collection projects.
The annual Pretoria ArchSoc lecture in conjunction with UPAS (15th of August) was a huge success! Political and economic interactions in the hinterland of the Mapungubwe polity by Dr Alexander Antonites was fascinating and sparked a lot of questions afterwards.
Left: Mr Graham Reeks (ArchSoc)
The Hanisch Prize for Excellence in Postgraduate Studies in Archaeology was also awarded to three students for the year of 2012:
Kefilwe Rammutloa – Undergraduate
Bongumenzi Nxumalo – Honours
Zurethe Collins – Masters
Upcoming ArchSoc (The South African Archaeological Society) Lecture:
Political and economic interactions in the hinterland of the Mapungubwe polity
Dr Alexander Antonites
(Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pretoria)
Date: Thursday 15 August, 2013
Venue: Sci-Enza Building, University of Pretoria
Charge: ArchSoc and UPAS members: free
Contact Person: Pamela Küstner (012 365 3608) for more details
Complimentary sherry will be served.
The lecture is being presented in partnership with the student body, UPAS – the University of Pretoria Archaeological Society.
Hinterland communities are often cast as passive participants in regional metanarratives. Excavations on the Mutamba site yielded multiple strands of information that suggest the need to reappraise the accepted view of such societies as being inert and un-influential in regional dynamics. Research suggests that assumptions of domination, based solely on differences of complexity, are ill founded. Rather, the heartland’s interaction with hinterland communities was one of forging networks that were more concerned with the wealth of people than economic control. It is clear that hierarchy formation in the heartland co-occurred with the horizontal expansion of social relations through networking strategies in the hinterland. On a regional scale, this resulted in a society with a weak vertical control and a fluctuating, flexible system of horizontal integration.
Dr Alexander Antonites received his BA in anthropology and archaeology and his MA in archaeology from the University of Pretoria. After working as a contract archaeologist he joined UNISA as a junior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. He received his PhD (with distinction) from Yale University. His current research emphasises social processes in the Mapungubwe political centre, concentrating on the smaller communities occupying the larger hinterland.