University of the Witwatersrand (ZA)

The School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies is one of the leaders in African rock art studies, Palaeoarchaeology, the Stone Age, pre-colonial farming and herding societies and the formation of modern cultural identities in the last five hundred years.

We also lead African scholarship on issues such as sustainability, climate change, urban social and environmental justice, tourism and development. We offer undergraduate programmes in the disciplines of Archaeology and Geography and postgraduate degrees in Physical and Human Geography, Archaeology, Rock Art studies and Palaeoarchaeology.

Experimental activities done within the organisation cover a range of topics and have been performed by both students and staff members in their research endeavours. We have performed experimental heat treatment of plant materials and rocks, including silcrete, quartzite and ochre. Pyrotechnology and experiments with fire have also featured in research on the taphonomy of hearths and the burning of sedges and grasses to replicate ancient bedding surfaces. There have been numerous experiments on stone and bone tool hafting (with a range of ingredients that have been used in the past). We have frequent lithic tool manufacture experiments which focus on a range of local raw materials, tool typologies, use-wear and fracture analysis. Experimental studies have looked at the applications of ochre, including sun screen and hafting and hide tanning experiments. We have also performed trampling experiments and looked at the effects of post-depositional processes on a range of raw materials.

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