For The People


The Biennial Conference of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) will be held in Kimberley, South Africa, 3-5 July 2019, hosted by the Sol Plaatje University Department of Heritage Studies (located within the School of Humanities), in association with the McGregor Museum. It will bring 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, would 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 paleoanthropology, paleo-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 (SPU) 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. 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 ASAPA 2019 Conference will consist of three days of deliberations, 3-5 July 2019. Delegates arrive from 2 July (registrations etc.) and workshops (e.g. students, special interest groups) may also take place on that day. The conference would be followed by an excursion to key Northern Cape sites, which would run over two days, 6-7 July. The conference is expected to draw some 250 delegates. It is anticipated that there would be 4 keynote presentations and 160 academic papers (in an opening plenary and up to three parallel sessions).

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