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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wintjes, J. 2017. Thinking through things: the transformative work of the Object Biographies project. In R. Osman, & D.J. Hornsby (eds) Transforming teaching and learning in higher education. Palgrave Critical University Studies. London & New York: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 137–153.