Prof. Robert Thornton

Member of EXARC since
E-mail address
robert.thornton [at]
South Africa
Crafts & Skills

I am a retired Professor of Anthropology at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and now "Research Associate". My previous work has been in cultural anthropology and medical anthropology (The Iraqw of N. Tanzania, Academic Press; The Early Writings of B Malinowski, Cambridge U P; Unimagined Community: AIDS in Uganda and S. Africa, U Calif. Press) and around 50 peer reviewed articles. My most recent book is about traditional healers in South Africa (Healing the Exposed Being, Wits U Press). My current project involves archaeological and ethnographic investigation of mining, metallurgy, and glass beads in southern Africa in order to explore the archaeological record of the material culture of so-called traditional healing, and especially of the archaeology of high-temperature and skilled artisanal technologies in southern African history. With my brother, Jonathan Thornton (Prof of Art Conservation, SUNY Buffalo, USA), I am conducting experimental archaeology of glass fabrication, gold processing, and bead making in the African past.