Join us for a site visit to Sibhudu Shelter near Maidstone: Sunday 15th March 2020

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Our second event of the archaeological year is a visit to Sibhudu Shelter inland of Maidstone (North Coast). Nick Conard and Manu Will of the University of Tübingen are excavating there in February and March 2020, so our visit allows us to see archaeology-in-action and to chat directly to the archaeologists involved.

Sibhudu is a well-known site containing Middle Stone Age deposits dating from about 30,000 to more than 100,000 years ago. Excavations there since 1998 have made a major contribution to our understanding of human lifeways and cognitive evolution. Heritage authorities are currently working on a nomination to declare Sibhudu one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites, along with the sites Blombos, Diepkloof, Pinnacle Point, Klasies and Border Cave. This declaration will be framed as “The Emergence of Modern Humans: The Pleistocene occupation sites of South Africa World Heritage Site”.

If you find yourself fascinated by this time in our history – when the world was a very different place – then this excursion is for you!

Please RSVP by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by the 11th of March, if you would like to attend.

We will meet at 10.00am at the Usave Maidstone Grocery Store on the right-hand side of the R102 going north, shortly before the robot at the Noodesberg Road (R614) turnoff, Fairbreeze. 

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Refreshing the Victorian Period Rooms

I and G at work


Recent visitors to the Museum may have noticed real people in the Victorian period room displays supplementing the usual mannequins. A number of visitors got quite a fright! Inandi Maree from the Exhibitions Department and Dr Ghilraen Laue, Curator in the Human Sciences Department, have been refreshing the displays in these period rooms. There are multiple challenges to updating the exhibits in these rooms. In the Apothecary Shop, for example, there are original medicine bottles, many of which are over 100 years old. Some of these bottles still have their original contents, including arsenic and other poisons! For safety, face masks are worn while in this room when bottles and cabinets are opened. In the coming weeks similar work will be done in the Blacksmith and Wainwright displays.

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In December 2019, Dr Geoff Blundell and Troy Meyers visited Cape Town to undertake research in the National Archives Repository on the Khoisan peoples of the Nomansland regionNomansland was the name given to the area that fell between the Cape and Natal colonies and beyond the control of the large Cape Nguni polities along the south-eastern seaboard of South Africa. Of course, the area was not really a No-Man’s-land but was the home territory of a number of Khoisan peoples. After 1863, when the Griqua made their epic trek from the interior of the country through the Drakensberg and eventually settled in the region of present-day Kokstad, the area was renamed East Griqualand. The work undertaken by Dr Blundell and Troy Meyers is part of an ongoing collaborative project that looks at the histories of Khoisan peoples in the Nomansland area.

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The latest volume of SA Humanities interdisciplinary journal, produced by the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, is now available online. Access to the online and printed editions is via subscription or the electronic version can be accessed through one of several global repositories. These repositories are SABINET, EBSCO and PROQUEST.

Volume 32 includes nine peer-reviewed papers covering diverse topics including Mapungubwe, KwaZulu-Natal Iron Age burials, Thomas Baines, a Later Stone Age site in Lesotho, Paul-Lenert Breutz, Wilton scrapers, exhibiting apartheid, lions in San beliefs, and ethnoarchaeological fieldwork in Zimbabwe.

The printed version of the journal will be available at the end of the first quarter of 2020. Southern African Humanities is rated as being in the top quartile of global archaeology journals by Scimago and is the highest-ranked archaeology journal produced in southern Africa.


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The Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists hosted its biennial conference in Kimberley in July 2019. The conference was held at the new Sol Plaatje University, with some events taking place at the McGregor Museum.Several staff and volunteers in the Department of Human Sciences gave papers at the conference including Dr Gavin Whitelaw, who presented on Ntshekane and the central cattle patternwith Thomas HuffmanDr Justine Wintjes, who presented on rock art as a site of enchantment together with Laura de Harde, and who chaired a session onarchaeology, history of art, and hauntology,Angela Ferreira, who presented on two rock art sites on the Thorn RiverSouth AfricaDr Ghilraen Laue who presented on flight and transformation in southern African rock arttogether with Jeremy Hollmann, and who also presented on San rock painting and the construction of landscapetogether with Dr Geoff Blundell.

Several former members of staff from the Department of Human Sciencesat the KwaZulu-Natal Museum also attended the conference including Dr Tim MaggsDr Aron MazelDr Marlize LombardandDr Jeremy Hollmann.

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Opening Times

Monday to Friday - 8:15 to 16:30 
Saturdays - 9:00 to 16:00 
Sundays - 10:00 to 15:00


Adults (over 17 years) : R10.00

Children (4-17 years) : R 2.50 

School Learners on tour : R 1.50 per child

Pensioners & toddlers : FREE