The Department of Human Sciences has a dynamic team of inter-disciplinary curators who conduct research in archaeology, history, anthropology, rock art, museumology, object biographies and materiality. The department has a long history of research excellence and many of southern Africa’s senior archaeologists have worked at the museum at some point in their careers, including Tim Maggs, Aron Mazel and Martin Hall. The Human Sciences Department is also responsible for producing the prestigious inter-disciplinary academic journal Southern African Humanities, which has been published since 1906 (albeit with differing titles). The department also produces books under the moniker of “Occasional Publications of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum”.
The research produced by staff is fundamental to a range of subsidiary activities including permanent and temporary exhibitions, outreach, education and collections management. With collections that number over 100,000 items, staff also conduct research on items within the stores of the museum. As the Twenty-First Century progresses, the Human Sciences Department will continue to contribute to the KwaZulu-Natal Museum’s vision and goals of bridging the divide between scholars and the public, producing original research and curating the nation’s heritage assets to international standards.
Backwell, L. Wadley, L., d’Errico, F., Banks, W.E., de laPeña, P., Stratford, D., Sievers, C., Laue, G., Vilane, B., Clark, J., Tribolo, C., Beaudet, A., Jashashvili, T., Carlson, K.J., Lennox, S., Estebanrs, I, Mauran, G. 2022. Border Cave: A 227,000-year-old archive from the southern African interior. Quaternary Science Reviews. doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107597.
Blundell, G. 2022. Storm Shelter: Rediscovering an Archive of Rock Art in Kros, C., Ludlow, H., Wright, J., Buthelezi, M. (eds) Archives of Times Past: conversations about South Africa’s deep history. 211-216. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
Blundell, G., Ferreira, A. & Meyers, T. 2022. ‘Mijnheer Lochenberg’: On the construction of Khoisan as a criminal class. Southern African Humanities. Vol. 35: 31-70.
Laue, G. A history of research into regional difference in Southern African rock art. In: J. Hampson, S. Challis and J. Goldhahn (eds) Powerful pictures: rock art research histories around the world. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 116-125.
Laue, G. & Dean, J. C. 2022. Rock art conservation. Oxford Encyclopedia of African Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
L. Wadley, A.R. Antonites, W. Biemond, T. Hodgskiss, Z. Jacobs, G. Laue, G. Mauran, C. Sievers, C. Thorp & B. Zwane. 2022. Late Holocene use of Kaingo Sheep Rock Shelter in the western Waterberg, Limpopo, South Africa. Southern African Humanities 35: 103-148.
Blundell, G. 2021 Image and Identity: Modelling the Emergence of a ‘New’ Rock Art Tradition in Southern Africa. In J.M. Gjerde & M.S. Arntzen (eds), Perspectives on differences in Rock Art. Sheffield: Equinox Press, pp. 302-319.
Brenner, J., Wintjes, J., Moch, S. & Michelow, P. 2021. A short course in visual literacy can improve residents’ observation and descriptive skills in cytopathology. Diagnostic Cytopathology 49: 727–734.
Laue, G. 2021. Birds and blurred boundaries: communities of practice and the problem of regions in San rock art. In J.M. Gjerde & M.S. Arntzen (eds), Perspectives on differences in Rock Art. Sheffield: Equinox Press, pp. 266–283.
Sengupta, D., Choudhury, A., Fortes-Lima, C., Aron, S., Whitelaw, G., Bostoen, K., Gunnink, H., Chousou-Polydouri, N., Delius, P., Tollman, S., Gómez-Olivé, F.X., Norris, S., Mashinya, F., Alberts, M., AWI-Gen Study, H3Africa Consortium, Hazelhurst, S., Schlebusch C.M. & Ramsay, M. 2021. Genetic substructure and complex demographic history of South African Bantu speakers. Nature Communications 12: article 2080, 13 pages.
Viestad, V. M. & Wintjes, J. 2021. A tale of three aprons. In: J. Charlton, F. Rankin-Smith, A. Nettleton, K. Mokgojwa, L. Leyde & L. Cohen (eds), Seen, Heard and Valued: WAM celebrates 40 years of the Standard Bank African Art Collection. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Art Museums, pp. 160–171.
Whitelaw, G. 2021. Zulu pottery and its production context. In J. Charlton, F. Rankin-Smith, A. Nettleton, K. Mokgojwa, L. Leyde & L. Cohen (eds), Seen, Heard and Valued: WAM celebrates 40 years of the Standard Bank African Art Collection. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Art Museums, pp. 137–152.
Wintjes, J. & De Harde, L. 2019. To paint, to see, to copy: rock art as a site of enchantment. The Pasts and Presence of Art in South Africa. In: C. Wingfield, J. Giblin & R. King (eds), The pasts and presence of art in South Africa: Technologies, ontologies and agents. Cambridge: McDonald Institute, pp. 63–78.
Wintjes, J. 2020. A cowrie’s life: The São Bento and transoceanic trade in the sixteenth century. Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies 6 (4): 237–257.
Whitelaw, G. & Janse van Rensburg, S. 2020. Lake Sibaya and the beginning of the Iron Age in KwaZulu-Natal. The Digging Stick 37 (2): 1–4.
Laue, G. 2020. Rock Art in Southern Africa, Regional Difference. In Smith C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Cham: Springer.
Huffman, T.N. & Whitelaw, G. 2020. Ntshekane and the Central Cattle Pattern: reconstructing settlement history. In D.S. Whitley, J.H.N. Loubser & G. Whitelaw (eds) Cognitive archaeology: mind, ethnography, and the past in South Africa and beyond. London: Routledge, pp. 135–151.
Huffman, T.N., Whitelaw, G., Tarduno, J.A., Watkeys, M.K. & Woodborne, S. 2020. The Rhino Early Iron Age site, Thabazimbi, South Africa. Azania: Archaeological Research In Africa
Whitelaw, G. 2020. Homesteads, pots, and marriage in southeast southern Africa: cognitive models and the dynamic past. In D.S. Whitley, J.H.N. Loubser & G. Whitelaw (eds) Cognitive archaeology: mind, ethnography, and the past in South Africa and beyond. London: Routledge, pp. 152–183.
Whitley, D.S., Loubser, J.H.N. & Whitelaw, G. 2020. Cognitive archaeology: mind, ethnography, and the past in South Africa and beyond. London: Routledge.
Steyn, M., Whitelaw, G., Botha, D., Vicente, M., Schlebusch, C.M. & Lombard, M. 2019. Four Iron Age women from KwaZulu-Natal: biological anthropology, genetics and archaeological context. Southern African Humanities 32: 23–56.
Whitelaw, G. 2019. Ntshekane and the end of the Early Iron Age in KwaZulu-Natal. The Digging Stick 37: 1–4.
Wintjes, J. 2019. Dress as social relations: an interpretation of Bushman dress [Book review]. de arte. DOI: 10.1080/00043389.2019.1621509.
Wintjes, J. & Tiley-Nel, S. 2019. The Lottering connection: revisiting the ‘discovery’ of Mapungubwe. The South African Archaeological Bulletin 74 (210): 101–110.
Blundell, G. & Ferreira, A. 2018. Tusk and transformation in southern African San rock art: an iconographic analysis of WAR2. Azania 53: 341–368.
Laue, G., Challis, S. & Mullen, A. 2018. Concerning heritage: lessons from rock art management in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. In S. Makuvaza (ed.) Aspects of management planning for Cultural World Heritage Sites: principles, approaches and practices. Cham: Springer, pp. 119–130.
Thorp, C. 2018. Thoughts on 'thinking strings'. Southern African Humanities 31: 79–92.
Ward, V. & Wintjes, J. 2018. “Painted buffalo horns”: imagery from the Anglo-Boer War. Southern African Humanities 30: 1–30.