Programme 2018

Note Branch phone number: 072 349 6507

Northern Branch: Confirmed Events

7 June:
Canteen Kopje: The Stone Age & geoarchaeology Lecture by Kelita Shadrach

15-17 June:
Weekend at Verlorenkloof Outing with Peter Delius

24 June:
Visit to the Drimolen fossil hominin site in the Cradle of Humankind Outing with Dr Stephanie Edwards Baker

19 July:
Lecture Details to be announced

2 August:
Bone tools Sepcial lecture in Pretoria by Dr Justin Bradfield

25 August:
Vanished civilisations - A look at some aspects of six famous civilisations Annual symposium at Delta Park

BOOKING CONDITIONS FOR OUTINGS: There is a cut-off date for bookings one week before the outing. Only participants who have been confirmed by phone, SMS or e-mail may participate in the outing. In addition, the outing costs must be pre-paid. No pets are allowed on outings as we usually visit private properties.


Visit to the Drimolen fossil hominin site in the Cradle of Humankind
Outing with Dr Stephanie Edwards Baker

Date: Sunday, 24 June 2018
Time: 9.45-10.15
Meeting Place: Entrance gate to the Rhino and Lion Park, Cradle of Humankind (directions will be supplied)
Charge: R170 per person. The outing is open to ArchSoc members only.
Bring: Sun hat, sun-tan lotion, solid shoes, water and a picnic basket
Booking essential: Contact Anita Arnott, Email, Tel. 011 795 4056. A maximum of 30 members can participate in this outing.

The Drimolen fossil hominin site in the Cradle of Humankind was discovered in 1992 by Dr Andre Keyser after he had explored the surrounding miners' rubble. The site boasts two different deposits: the historically famous Main Quarry and the newly published older Makondo Deposit. The ~2,0 million-year-old Main Quarry has brought to light over 200 hominin specimens from either Paranthropus robustus or early Homo, as well as a vast array of associated faunal specimens. These include sabre-toothed cats, giraffes, zebras and a variety of baboons. In 2015, excavations began at another deposit called the Makondo, about 50 m west of the Main Quarry. While there have been no hominins recovered as yet, the 2,6 million-year-old deposit has yielded over 1 500 articulated and well-preserved antelope, monkey and carnivore taxa.

Our visit will consist of a historical overview of the Cradle of Humankind before moving on to the specifics of Drimolen's history and its significant finds. We will discuss the hominins, dating, geology and fauna. The visit will include discussions with world experts in their relevant fields, including but not limited to Prof. Andy Herries (La Trobe University, Australia) and Prof. David Strait (Washington University of St Louis, USA). We will visit the site during The University of Johannesburg's annual international field school.

Members will thus see the site being excavated and will also have the opportunity to engage with the next generation of palaeo-scientist. A picnic lunch with the experts who have interacted with us will follow.

The entrance fee that has to be paid to the Rhino and Lion Park will permit us to visit Wonder Cave (but not the park itself). Wonder Cave is very interesting and provides an opportunity for those members who would like to see a pristine cave that models Drimolen's two deposits. Wonder cave tours run throughout the day and participants could visit there on the way out in the afternoon.

Our host at the Drimolen site is the primary permit holder Dr Stephanie Edwards Baker of the Centre for Anthropological Research at the University of Johannesburg. She has been working at Drimolen since 2010, first as a teaching assistant and thereafter as co-permit holder and site manager. She took over the Drimolen permit in early 2017. Stephanie is in the process of completing her PhD with a focus on hominin-carnivore interactions in the Plio-Pleistocene of southern Africa.


Details to be made available

Date: Thursday 19 July at 19:30
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown
Charge: Members free; Non-members R30

Information forthcoming.


Special lecture in Pretoria: Bone tools
Dr Justin Bradfield

Date: Thursday 2 August - 18:30 for 19:00 - Sherry will be served from 18:30 to give people a chance to meet
Venue: The University of South Africa (UNISA), Anthropology and Archaeology Museum, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, 4th floor, Theo van Wijk Building, UNISA Muckleneuk campus, 1 Preller St., Muckleneuk, Pretoria
Charge: Members free; Non-members R30

This presentation focuses on bone, shell and ivory technology on the African continent. Organic implements form an integral component of all hunter-gatherer communities, yet historically they have received comparatively little attention by archaeologists due to the better preservation of lithic artefacts. In this presentation we explore some of the better-known examples of bone, shell and ivory working among hominins and early humans spanning the last 2 million years of history on the African continent. We look at some of the debates that have re-emerged from the study of organic implements and at the potential of organic technology studies to provide crucial insights into techno-cultural shifts. The huge diversity of material culture represented in this category of artefact is highlighted.

Dr Bradfield completed his Doctorate at the University of Johannesburg after having completed his previous degrees at Wits. He then moved back to Wits to complete two post-doctoral fellowships before being offered a research and teaching position at UJ, where he is currently based. Dr Bradfield's research focuses on the application of use-trace analyses to bone technology. He was nominated for the Kambule NSTF award in the category of emerging researchers in 2016 and he currently serves as the Field and Technical editor for the South African Archaeological Bulletin. He is an NRF-rated scientist.


Vanished civilisations - A look at some aspects of six famous civilisations
Northern Branch Annual Symposium

Date: Saturday 25 August
Time: 8:30 for 9.00
Venue: Delta Park facility in Victory Park, Johannesburg
Charge: Members: TBA; Non-members: TBA
Booking essential.

Download the flyer giving all the details of the six talks and the presenters, plus the registration form.