Towards a history of archaeology from South Africa

Adrien Delmas, Paloma de la Peña (Eds.)

Goodwin Series, South African Archaeological Society (in association with IFAS-Recherche and CJB), volume 12, April 2019, 94 p.

The first Goodwin Series volume was established in 1972 to pay tribute to John Goodwin, the founder of the discipline of archaeology in South Africa and first editor of the South African Archaeological Bulletin. Edited volumes of the Goodwin Series are occasional publications on topical issues, they are published by the South African Archaeological Society in conjunction with the Bulletin. The same peer-review and publication standards apply to the Goodwin Series.

Volume 12, entitled Towards a history of archaeology from South Africa, was published in April 2019. It is edited by Adrien Delmas (Centre Jacques Berque and former director of IFAS-Recherche) and Paloma de la Peña (Evolutionary Studies Institute, Wits University). This publication is the result of a workshop organised at Wits University by IFAS-Recherche and Wits in October 2015, where archaeologist, paleoanthropologists and historians met for the first time to write a history of archaeology in South Africa. Everyone agrees that the issue of decolonisation is highly relevant to archaeology as a whole, and particularly on continent such as Africa or the Americas. The chapters assembled in this volume aim to respond by suggesting a few methodological and other avenues. The historians, archaeologists, and ‘social scientists’ who have contributed to this collection perceive the need to go back over more than a century of the eventful history of archaeology in South Africa.

This volume was published with the support of IFAS-Recherche.

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Table of contents 

  • “Introduction: Towards a history of Archaeology from South Africa” (A.Delma, P. de la Peña) 
  • “Our time is not your time: periodisation and archaeological practice” (A.Esterhuysen) 
  • “Archaeology in the shadow of apartheid: race, science, and prehistory” (N.Sheperd) 
  • “Recomposing identities: prehistory and human origins from Jan Christiaan Smuts to Thabo Mbeki” (N.Schlanger)
  • “Henri Breuil and the imagination of prehistory: ‘Mixing up rubble, trouble and ratification'” (S. Dubow)
  • “Historical perspectives on the significance of archaeology in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa” (M.V. Caruana, D.J. Stratford)
  • “A review of hunter-gatherers in later stone age research in Southern Africa”
    (T. Forssman)
  • “The ‘neolithic’ concept in South Africa” (K.Sadr)
  • “The Mapungubwe-Great Zimbabwe relationship in history: implications for the evolution of studies of socio-political complexity in Southern Africa” (M. Manyanga, S. Chirikure)
  • “‘At some unknown period in the past’: philology and archaeology in the making of George McCall Theal’s Southern African mediaeval history” (A. Delmas)