Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day continued with part 2. The guest speaker was Ntokozo Tono, a masters student in Sociology from UKZN and he spoke on career choices and how to compile a curriculum vitae to the grade 9 learners who are about to make subject choices for grade 10. Thembikosi Sithole, an Information Officer from the KZN Museum also gave the learners some insight into the work he does.
The learners all received Museum branded water bottles . We look forward to the 12 November for our concluding workshop which will be hosted at the KZN Museum. Learners will have some on the ground experience in the working environment.
The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is overjoyed to have two interns funded for two years by the DSI-HSRC Internship Programme. Muhammad Ally has joined the Natural Sciences Department and Nothando Shabalala has joined the Human Sciences Department. We applaud the opportunities for unemployed graduates made possible through the programme. Another call for graduates should be announced again in 2022, for eligible candidates to gain experience in a range of host institutions and different research fields. Watch the HSRC website for the call!
Rescue excavation of an Early Iron Age site near Umkomaas
Excavation tea time: The excavation trench showing the shell layer and the partially excavated Iron Age pit (Photo credit: Rosemary Archibald).
In July 2021, residents at the Widenham Retirement Village in Umkomaas alerted archaeologists at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum to pottery and stone artefacts exposed during construction work in the village. An assessment showed that an Iron Age shell midden had been exposed. Pottery finds showed that the site dated to around AD 400–600. The contractor temporarily halted work so that archaeological excavations could take place. Gavin Whitelaw and Ghilraen Laue from the museum’s Human Sciences Department, along with Kefilwe Rammutloa, a visiting researcher from Yale University, spent 10 days at the site extracting as much information as possible before it was destroyed. Many of the Widenham residents were excited by the find and helped by sorting the finds and providing logistical support.
Gavin Whitelaw directing the removal of the top soil (Photo credit: Rosemary Archibald).
Widenham Retirement Village residents helping with sorting (Photo credit: Rosemary Archibald).
Kefilwe Rammutloa and Gavin Whitelaw measuring the section profile for drawing (Photo credit: Rosemary Archibald).
As we were checking the condition of some of the very old material in our collection we came across the first type specimen recorded in the Museum, Ocenebra natalensis (Smith, 1906) which is now accepted as Favartia natalensis (E. A. Smith, 1906).
Originally it was described as a “cotype” and later designated as a lectotype (a specimen designated as the type of a species or subspecies when no holotype was designated by the original author of the name) by Fair, R. in 1976. It has NMSA catalogue number 36 and the type number T479’ The reason why it doesn’t have type number “one” is because the concept of designating type numbers was introduced later than regular catalogue numbers, so it ended up as T479 not T1.
Smith described the species in the Annals of the Natal Museum 1 (38): 1-7, and donated the type series to the museum through his friend an amateur collector of molluscs and books, Henry Burnup who was the first mollusc collector of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum in 1879.