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Constructing cosmogonical landscapes in ancient Egypt

Constructing cosmogonical landscapes in ancient Egypt

Lecture: 6th April

tall tales

2nd Annual Humanities Day – Professor Pikirayi Lecture

Pikirayi-Innocent_009-webProfessor Innocent Pikirayi

2nd Annual Humanities Day hosted by the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Venue: UP Conference Centre, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus
Parking: UP Conference Centre parking lot
RSVP by 17 September: Corena Garnas, corena.garnas@up.ac.za, 012 420 4895

 15:30-17:30 Session:

UP Beat: Critical Humanities Lecture Series presented by the 2014 Faculty Researchers of the Year:

‘GK Chesterton and the anatomy of the joke’
Dr Duncan Reyburn, Department of Visual Arts

‘The story of histories and the history of stories’
Dr Ronald van der Bergh, Department of Ancient Languages

‘Researching Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe – a ‘Blue Skies’ approach’
Professor Innocent Pikirayi, Head: Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

‘Access for a Silent Epidemic’
Professor De Wet Swanepoel, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

 archaeologyatUP header2

Lecture: Inside the Mapungubwe Archives

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
Time: 19:30
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.

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Recap: The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (AENES)

The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead by Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern Society

book of dead

Presented by Dr Beatrice Martin

Dr Martin, formerly of the University of Pretoria, started the lecture by explaining exactly what the Book of the Dead is, and how these “Spells or utterances for going out by day” can be found in the pyramid and coffin texts.
These books were mass produced in Egypt and were compiled for people upon their death so as to help the deceased with the situations that they might encounter on their journey to the afterlife, as well as in the afterlife itself.
martin lec
The talk focuses on the Papyrus of Ani (from Thebes, Egypt – 19th Dynasty, around 1275 BC), a 22 meter papyrus scroll bought by Sir E.A. Wallis-Budge, in 1988. The Papyrus of Ani describes Ani’s journey to the afterlife, including among other’s, the famous scene of the weighing of his heart against Ma’at and a series of hymns to Osiris. Dr Martin’s discussion on the Egyptian afterlife was brought to life by the beautiful pictures that she showed of the Papyrus of Ani, as well as other images of the Book of the Dead.


The lecture was very interesting and very well attended.

IMAG2171Prof Alex Duffy handing over a thank you gift to Dr Martin

Information and Photographs courtesy of Cherene de Bruyn and Samantha Serfontein


Recap: The Secret of bones

The Secret of bones


 Prof Ina Plug (UNISA)

Prof. Plug specialises in the analysis and interpretation of faunal materials from archaeological sites and is the honorary curator for the Department of Archaeozoology at The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History.


Prof. Plug’s lecture was very interesting as she discussed how bones found on archaeological sites can reveal much about how past people once lived and what their environments were like.


Prof. Plug also showed how bone size and shape can indicate different species (e.g. between antelope and carnivores).  Her latest book was also released at the talk and is a wonderful handbook of bone identification as the beautiful illustrations are life size and allows one to compare bones directly on the page.  The book is entitled What bone is that? and we will attempt to find publication details for those who would like to order a copy.

The lecture was a huge success and very well attended!


Information and Photographs courtesy of Cherene de Bruyn and Samantha Serfontein.


Talk: Archaeological investigations in Madagascar

An overview of archaeological investigations in Antsaragnasoa Bay, southwest Madagascar


Kristina Guild from Yale University will be giving a talk on her work in Antsaragnasoa Bay in southwest Madagascar.
This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Archaeology of Madagascar.

Date: Monday 9 September 2013
Place: Seminar room (HSB 8-18), Humanities Building, University of Pretoria
Time: 12:30 – 13:30

 See you there!