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Monthly Archives: August 2014


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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


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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