Celebrating Fifty Years of Archaeology-Remembering Past Staff: Dr Timothy Maggs
Tim Maggs (on the left in the picture above) became involved in archaeology by exploring rock art in the Western Cape with the pioneering recording trio Johnson, Rabinowitz and Sieff. With the encouragement of Ray Inskeep, he completed a bachelor’s and honours in Archaeology at the University of Cape Town in 1965. At that time Monica Wilson and Ray Inskeep had raised a large Wenner-Gren grant for Iron Age research covering parts of the Free State, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Turning from rock art research, Tim took up this project and, after examining large quantities of aerial photographs, realized that there was an enormous wealth of pre-colonial farming settlements just on the southern Highveld, so the project focused on this region. His doctorate was completed in 1974, though he had already moved to the Natal Museum in 1972, becoming the first professional full-time archaeologist in KwaZulu-Natal. While at the museum, he improved curatorial, documentation and retrieval systems for the archaeology collections and he worked extensively on the archaeology of pre-colonial black farming communities in what is now KwaZulu-Natal, establishing the chronological framework for the period in the province. Early on he joined the Rock Art Recording Group, led by John Wright and Richard Evans, and later researched the rock engravings of farming communities as well as Portuguese shipwrecks. He was conscious of the need to promote a wider understanding of pre-colonial times in South Africa as this was largely suppressed under the apartheid education system. Measures included museum outreach and a wide variety of non-specialist publications and contributions to textbooks. He was the first chairman of the KwaZulu Monuments Council which, after 1994 became the KwaZulu-Natal Amafa and Research Institute. His contribution to Southern African archaeology in the 22 years that he was at the museum was enormous. Tim left the museum in 1994 to move to Cape Town where he has continued his work on archaeology.