Sol Plaatje University (SPU) is co-hosting the Biennial Conference of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) in Kimberley which starts today and runs until 5 July 2019.
Its co-host is Kimberley’s landmark McGregor Museum.
The conference brings together archaeologists and students from Southern African countries, along with Africanist archaeologists from around the world who collaborate in research in the region.
Delegates, from Africa and further afield, represent academic, museum, heritage management, community and commercial CRM contexts, for whom this biennial gathering is a key opportunity to meet and discuss matters of common concern.
Conference sessions will result in a sharing of research reflecting the full range of southern African archaeology, from earliest hominins to the historical period, with topics including palaeoanthropology, palaeo-environments, Stone Age, food production, historical archaeology, theory and practice in Africa today, and more, reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of the discipline.
Some sessions are expected to highlight new work at key Northern Cape sites such as at Wonderwerk Cave and in the Karoo and Kuruman regions.
The conference theme, “‘I am because we are’: Indigenous Heritage in African Archaeology” references the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’ to ground perspectives locally and emphasise the necessary engagement of archaeology with its varied constituencies including communities where archaeological research is conducted.
The ASAPA conference was last held in the Northern Cape Province (hosted by the McGregor Museum) in 2004.
Since then, archaeological research in the province has dramatically grown due to the recent establishment of Sol Plaatje University in 2013.
The University is committed to engagement with surrounding communities and its programmes give expression to a desire and ability to bolster local economic and community resilience, while enriching the lives and learning experience of diverse students.
SPU made a deliberate choice to have Heritage Studies and associated disciplines at its core.
The Department of Heritage Studies is housed in the School of Humanities.
Formal teaching in archaeology began as part of this programme and a specialisation in archaeology would be one of the options within a future Heritage Honours programme.
The conference includes excursions to key Northern Cape sites which will run over two days (6-7 July).