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.
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.
Whitelaw, G. 2019. Ntshekane and the end of the Early Iron Age in KwaZulu-Natal. The Digging Stick 37: 1–4.
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.
Coutu, A.N., Whitelaw, G., Le Roux, P. & Sealy, J. 2016. Earliest evidence for the ivory trade in southern Africa: isotopic and ZooMS analysis of seventh–tenth century AD ivory from KwaZulu-Natal. African Archaeological Review 33 (4): 411–435.
De Prada-Samper, J.M., Du Plessis, M., Hollmann, J., Weintroub, J., Wintjes, J. & Wright, J. 2016. The Qing-Orpen project. In J.M. de Prada-Samper, M. du Plessis, J. Hollmann, J. Weintroub, J. Wintjes & J. Wright (eds) On the trail of Qing and Orpen. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, pp. 1–11.
Laue, G.B. 2016. Towards concepts of territoriality in southern African pre-colonial rock art: new insights from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. In: E. Honoré, & M. Gutierrez, eds, L’art rupestre d’Afrique, Actualité de la recherche, Actes du colloque International Paris, 15 au 17. Nanterre: Editions l’Harmattan, pp. 263–74.
Wintjes, J. 2016. Glimpses prior to Orpen: Pre-1874 texts and pictures about Bushman rock painting. In J.M. de Prada-Samper, M. du Plessis, J. Hollmann, J. Weintroub, J. Wintjes & J. Wright (eds) On the trail of Qing and Orpen. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, pp. 158–179.
Wintjes, J. 2016. Der Verfall von Felskunst und ihre Restaurierung anhand historischer Aufzeichnungen: Das Beispiel der Cinyati-Höhle. In K.-H. Kohl, R. Kuba, H. Ivanoff & B. Burkard (eds) Kunst der Vorzeit. Texte zu den Felsbildern der Sammlung Frobenius. Frankfurt: Frobenius Institute, pp. 75–80.