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Yearly Archives: 2014


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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



Honours students 2014 Great Zimbabwe trip

The 2014 Archaeology Honours students of UP went on a once in a life time trip to Great Zimbabwe this year.


The students also went to the Great Zimbabwe repository at the museum:

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They also enjoyed a guided tour of the entire site by Dr Pikirayi and what they learned was invaluable!


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

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Seminar: Eroded life-worlds and emergent assemblages

You are hereby cordially invited to a Joint Seminar by the Human Economy Programme and the Department Anthropology & Archaeology

Thursday : 11th September 2014 11h00 to 12h30

Venue: Seminar Room, Ground Floor, Old College House, Hatfield Campus

“Eroded life-worlds and emergent assemblages: redesigning anthropologies of the contemporary”

Presented by Professor A.R. Vasavi, Senior Fellow,
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,
New Delhi

Professor Vasavi won the Infosys prize for 2013 and was Dean of Social Sciences at the National Institute of Advanced Studies Bangalore, before taking up a fellowship at the Nehru Museum and Library, where she is currently concentrating on her NGO work.


Seminar: Origins of lithic technology

20131126_095432Matt Caruana and UP Masters student Melindi de Lange

The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology and the University of Pretoria Archaeological Society (UPAS) cordially invites you to our departmental seminar by Matt Caruana from the University of the Witwatersrand. Matt is currently the PhD Candidate under Prof. Kathy Kuman. His project is focused on the identification of percussive technology, and developing analytic methods for understanding how impact damage develops through use and skill. Besides his Doctoral studies, Matt is also involved in research projects undertaken in the following areas: Taung World Heritage Site, the Vaal River region of the Northern Cape, and the Koobi Fora Pounding Tool Survey Project in the Lake Turkana Basin of Northern Kenya. Previously, Matt studied at the University of Manchester in the UK and University of California in the USA.


Our understanding of the origins of lithic technology has long been obscured by a lack of sites preserved beyond ~2.5 Ma. However interdisciplinary perspectives from archaeology and primatology are shedding new light on this subject. The commonalities of percussive tool use amongst the Primate Order offers a unique viewpoint to investigate the technological links between early hominins and their last common ancestor with chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Given its prevalence amongst nonhuman primates and early hominins, percussive technology is likely associated with the earliest forms of tool use. The newly emerging Primate Archaeology field is developing analyses to compare and contrast percussive toolkits used by nonhuman primates and early hominins to shed light on how this technology developed. Furthermore, current research in the east Turkana Basin in Kenya is also attempting to locate archaeological sites between 3 – 7 Ma in hopes of linking lithic technology to the earliest members of the hominin lineage. With the development of new methods for analysing percussive technology, it is possible to test archaeological remains from beyond 2.5 Ma and illuminate traces of the last common ancestor.

Date: 03 September 2014 (Wednesday)
Venue: Seminar Room HB 8-18
Time: 14:00

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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!


Seminar: The role of shellfish and tortoise subsistence at Klipdrift Cave

The role of shellfish and tortoise subsistence at Klipdrift Cave

Kokeli Ryano
PhD Candidate
University of the Witwatersrand

I present the results of shellfish and tortoise analyses from Klipdrift Cave (KDC), a newly excavated site in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, southern Cape, South Africa. The excavated layers at KDC fall within the Oakhurst Industry, dating to between 11.8 and 9.7 ka. Shellfish were identified to species level and quantified in terms of the Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI) and weight. The species composition at KDC reflects changing environmental conditions that may relate to the effect of the Younger Dryas event, changing from a sheltered sandy bay to a habitat with more exposed rocks and less sand after 11 ka. T. sarmaticus opercula, Cymbula oculus shells and tortoise medio-lateral humeri were measured to investigate whether human predation pressure could have affected the growth patterns through time. The tortoise sizes at KDC, and some other Oakhurst sites, are similar to that of the MSA and the data is inconclusive on whether intensive harvesting was involved in collecting this fauna.

Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Wednesday 27th Aug 2014,
14:00pm in HB 8-18