Slide 4.2 - copy
Slide 4.2 - copy

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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Archaeoacoustic project in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

Recently, Dr Ghilraen Laue, Human Sciences Department, Kwazulu-Natal Museum, joined the ERC Artsoundscapes project for collaborative fieldwork in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. The Artsoundscapes project, based at the University of Barcelona in Spain, aims to investigate the relationship between the acoustic properties of shelters and the placement of rock art by the image-makers.


Acoustics 1Neemias Santos da Rosa, Diego Moreno Iglesias, Raphael Mnikahti, Richard Duma, CJ Hung, Margarita Díaz-Andreu and Ghilraen Laue


The fieldwork team included Professor Margarita Díaz-Andreu, principal investigator on the project, Dr Neemias Santos da Rosa, Post-doctoral researcher and Mr Diego Moreno Iglesias, engineer and research assistant from the University of Barcelona, Mr CJ Hung, MSc student from the University of the Witwatersrand, and Mr Raphael Mnikahti, rock art guide, and Mr Richard Duma, community elder, both from the local Thendele Village. Over a period of three weeks, the team visited 50 rock painting sites in the Kamberg and Giant’s Castle areas of the Drakensberg and carried out acoustic tests at 32 of these sites.


Acoustics 2Setting up the recording equipment at a site in the Kamberg area.


Acoustics 3One of the many amazing sites at which acoustic tests were made.

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Just out: the book Archives of Times Past


Archives 1

A book titled Archives of Times Past: conversations about South Africa’s deep history, edited by Cynthia Kros, John Wright, Mbongiseni Buthelezi and Helen Ludlow was recently published (Johannesburg: Wits University Press 2022), with contributions from two members of the Department of Human Sciences.

Archives 2

In the chapter ‘Storm Shelter: Rediscovering an archive of rock art’, Dr Geoff Blundell explains how he used evidence from nineteenth-century colonial documents to interpret rock paintings at a major rock art site in the Maclear area of the Eastern Cape discovered in 1992. The brilliantly coloured imagery may have been made by Bushman communities in their final years of existence in the southern uKhahlamba mountains, and so shed light on hunter-gatherer resistance in the face of the encroaching colonial world.

Archives 3

In the chapter ‘A lion’s life: tracking the biography of an archaeological artefact’, Dr Justine Wintjes tells how she restored the provenance of a rock painting from uMhwabane (eBusingatha) rock shelter in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains of KwaZulu-Natal using archival sources in South Africa and Germany. The life-like lion image was painted there centuries ago by a hunter-gatherer artist and the link to the site was lost after its removal in the 1940s. The image opens a window into a time when lions still roamed freely in the mountains and relationships between animals and humans were fundamentally different.

Archives 4

The final chapter of the book is a visual essay also by Dr Justine Wintjes. It conveys the great variety and excitement of working with archives, but also the frustrations and silences of sources, which only ever contain small and partial traces of the past.

Get your copy from ArchFox Books (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or the Origins Bookshop at Wits University.

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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