Slide 4.2 - copy
Slide 4.2 - copy

An unexpected visitor to the museum recently caused consternation for some of the staff.  On returning to work after a weekend, a bat was discovered desperately clinging to the carpet on the stairs leading to the first floor of the galleries.  Dr Williams managed to remove the bat from the stairs and realising the bat was very cold, kept it in a dishtowel in a warm spot and sought advice.  A member of Bats KZN – The Bat Interest Group of KZN - provided advice on what to do and the bat was kept warm and allowed to rest.  That evening a volunteer and staff member tried to release the bat, and although it was responsive and active, it did not want to fly away.  So the following day the bat was collected by a member of Bats KZN so it could be rehabilitated by people with the necessary expertise. A Bats KZN member examined the bat and identified it as a male Egyptian Free-tailed bat (Tadarida aegyptiaca).  They usually weigh 15 grams, but this bat only weighed 12 grams suggesting it had not eaten for a few days.  It did not have any fractures, but had some bruising on the left forearm and wrist.  It was then provided with appropriate treatment and TLC.  The Free-tailed bats get their name from having a “free” tail – the tail in not fully enclosed in the membrane. These creatures are very important in the ecosystem, eating insects and keeping the mosquito population under control.  If you ever find an injured bat, it is advisable to get expert advice as these creatures are very sensitive and require specialised treatment.

The Bat Interest Group of KZN provide rehabilitation for injured bats and are a great source of information should you have any bat related queries.

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Steytler

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Visiting Scholar from the University of Toronto, Canada

CourtneayMs. Hopper measuring the internal diameter of an ostrich eggshell bead.

Courtneay Hopper, a doctoral candidate from the University of Toronto, is currently working at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum documenting ostrich eggshell beads from several Later Stone Age and Iron Age sites in the museum’s collections. Each bead is measured and suitable beads are selected to be sent off for isotopic analysis. This work will be used to look at interaction and social networks in the past.

Ms. Hopper’s PhD studies focus on understanding the social shifts related to long-standing interactions between hunter-gatherers and herders. Currently, she works in the Namaqualand Coastal Desert of northwestern South Africa where these social and economic interactions have left a particularly complex archaeological picture. To better understand how these interactions can be interpreted in the archaeological record, she combines biochemical (stable isotopes, organic residue, ZooMS), zooarchaeological, and ethnohistoric analyses.  

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Visiting Researchers from the University of Johannesburg

In early June the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Human Sciences Department, welcomed University of Johannesburg (UJ) researchers, Professor Marlize Lombard, Dr. Matt Caruana, and Dr. Matt Lotter. The team, from UJ’s Palaeo-Research Institute (P-RI), visited the museum for a week to measure the spear and arrow collections. Their analysis forms part of a larger project implementing a tip cross-sectional area (TCSA) analysis to understand early hunting weapons and projectile technologies. By measuring the lengths, widths, and thicknesses of shafts and tips, they hope to develop a better understanding of the various weapon delivery systems (i.e., darts, javelins, thrusting spears) and accumulate data on standardized weapon morphologies.

Image 1Professor Marlize Lombard, Dr. Matt Caruana and Dr. Matt Lotter.


Image 2Dr. Caruana measuring the thickness of one of the spear points.


image 3Dr. Lotter measuring the shaft length of the spear.



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The KwaZulu-Natal Museum presents Night at the Museum. So much to see including live snake shows!
Loads of activities: archaeological excavation, invertebrate identification, San Hunter-Gatherer display, specimen dissection, interactive scientific games.
Warm snacks, coffee and popcorn are on sale!
Date: Friday, 15 July 2022
Time: 6 pm - 8 pm
Tickets: R50 per person (Available through Webtickets only)
Address: 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg
289684002 2078593852338199 5160223326345770080 n
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Opening Times

Monday to Friday - 9:00 to 15:30 
Saturdays - 9:00 to 15:00
Sundays - 10:00 to 15:00


Adults (over 17 years) : R15.00

Children  : R 5.00 

School Learners on tour : R 2.50 per child

Pensioners & toddlers : FREE