ASAPA 2019 Biennial Conference

Sol Plaatje University & McGregor Museum, Kimberley

3 - 5 July 2019

Call For Submissions



Tuesday 2 July Ceramic workshop and registration; Meet and Greet
Wednesday 3 July Conference Opening Plenary; Keynotes; parallel sessions;
Thursday 4 July Parallel sessions; Conference Gala dinner
Friday 5 July Parallel sessions; Biennial General Meeting; Closing ceremony
Sat - Mon 6 - 8 July Post-conference excursions (half-day and 2/3 days)


15 April 2019 Abstracts
Deadline for submission of abstracts for papers, posters etc. The Conference Secretariat will send out acceptance notices to presenters 
  Registration deadlines
30 April 2019 Early Bird registration
30 June 2019 Late registration


  • Please submit an abstract of no longer than 250 words below, supply 5-6 key words and a short one-paragraph biography at the end of your abstract (no lengthy CVs please) for introduction purposes.
  • Please click on the session below in which you would like to make a submission - note that you are able to make multiple submissions. If you would like to make more than one submission or facilitate a session, you will have to revert to this form to submit another abstract/description. Not all submissions may be accepted.
  • You can log in, edit and resubmit your abstract.
  • All accepted abstracts may be published in both hard copy and electronically.
  • No last minute substitution of author/s will be accepted.
  • All delegates who submit abstracts will be notified of their acceptance or non-acceptance via email by the Secretariat. No correspondence will be entered into about non-acceptance.
  • The conference organisers reserve the right not to place presentations within the requested session should themes be combined, and authors will be notified.


The Conference theme for this year is ‘I am because we are’ - Indigenous Heritage in African Archaeology. Under this overarching theme members of the archaeological community are invited to submit abstracts or offer to facilitate a session or workshop relating to their specific discipline.

Student presentations are especially encouraged and limited funding is available for student attendance. Qualifying students can download the application form on the registration page.


The Southern African political landscape remains a highly contested space in which many sectors of the public continue to feel marginalised and excluded. Contemporary issues within the political landscape relating to land reform, gentrification, social housing, food security, sustainable development, spatial planning and public monuments are of relevance for archaeologists and heritage practitioners. While archaeological and heritage voices have huge potential to contribute, we have often not been involved, or have failed to drive conversations relating to these social justice issues. The result of this is that the relevance of archaeology in society remains to be fully realised. This session aims to bring into discussion the potential of archaeology as a tool for engaging with society and communities as well as the possibilities of creating new ways to practice the discipline in a more socially conscious way. We welcome a wide range of papers, including discussions relating to creative collaborations, new research methodologies, reflections on heritage and practice, and papers that explore new approaches for archaeologists wanting to facilitate and drive the conversation forward.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Vuyiswa Lupuwana  & Abigail Moffett -

Houses are fundamental units of analysis in archaeology. It is from these analyses that concepts of household and homestead may be developed to provide comparative perspectives on types of dwelling through time and space. This session invites contributions that use multiple sources to address the nature and structure of households over the last 500 years and to consider them in their wider historical context, at local, regional and global scales. How, for example, might the nature of households and the identity of dwellers be reflected in the organisation of production, the utilisation of space and choices around needs, wants, supply and demand? How do concepts of dwelling and change in the material fabric of households reflect and relate to changes in social relations, and in turn, how do sequences of dwelling relate to historical processes? This focus clearly does not preclude presentations on households that are framed by ‘borderlands’, where households, as expressions of identity, reflect the cultural dynamics of frontiers.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Simon Hall,; Vuyiswa Lupuwana,; Antonia Malan,; Abigail Moffett,; Nicholas Zachariou,

South Africa’s rich and diverse archaeological record provides critical insight into the origins of Homo sapiens and behavioral evolution. Current research is moving beyond sequence-building based on the few well-known localities, with focused efforts on addressing evolutionary questions and investigating understudied areas. The goal of this session is to present new methodological insights and archaeological datasets resulting from the collaborative work in the University of Cape Town Stone Age Laboratory, highlight new approaches and student-led research.

Session (presenters and titles suggested) proposed and to be organised by:
Jayne Wilkins (UCT), Ayanda Mdludlu (UCT), & Benjamin Schoville (U Queensland)

There can be few contemporary South Africans whose ancestors' biographies have not been entangled with missionary institutions in one way or another. Nevertheless, the public interpretation of mission sites has often focused on the Europeans who were employed there, while mission archaeology has frequently been regarded as a subset of Historical Archaeology. When large numbers of people were evicted from their ancestral lands during the nineteenth century, mission sites provided sites of refuge, and at times resistance. They were also places where people with different origins assembled, and came to experiment with ways of being modern in a transformed world. Building on work undertaken at Kuruman Moffat Mission in 2018 as part of the Re-collecting the Missionary Road project, we will use this sub-theme/panel to ask how we can uncover and present evidence for indigenous contributions in order re-frame mission sites as a form of indigenous heritage.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Christ Wingfield

The Wonderwerk Cave Research Project was launched in 2004 to analyze collections from excavations by Peter Beaumont both at Wonderwerk Cave and at Kathu Pan 1, along with limited fieldwork to create a chronometric framework for these sites. Since that time research at Wonderwerk Cave has yielded major discoveries related to the earliest use of caves, the origins of human use of fire, and the palaeoenvironment of the interior of southern Africa. Research at Kathu Pan has highlighted the development of symbolic behavior and suggests an early age for the onset of the Fauresmith associated with the use of stone tipped spears. The Wonderwerk Cave Research Project now involves renewed excavations at Wonderwerk and an expanded perspective on the sites of the Kathu Complex, including the MSA-LSA deposits at Kathu Pan 6 and the Fauresmith site of Bestwood. The establishment and rapid growth of Heritage Studies at Sol Plaatje University has led to the development of a field school for students in the Certificate Programme looking at the historical component of Canteen Kopje. In 2017 questions emerging from palaeoenvironmental research at Wonderwerk led to an independent project under the direction of Michaela Ecker that has taken up renewed fieldwork at the site of Pniel on the Vaal River. This session brings together papers on emerging directions in the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research at these key sites.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Michael Chazan  &   Liora Kolska-Horwitz

Archaeology and History of Art are disciplines that have had a long global entanglement, even though the details of their methods, materials and approaches often differ. They are both concerned, broadly speaking, with the creative material aspects of human life, and grapple with the complexities of engaging with the past in the present. One area of critical theory that has recently been explored to some extent in both disciplines is ‘hauntology’, alongside various related areas such as ruins, nostalgia, temporality and alternative personhood. Hauntology is a composite of ‘haunting’ and ‘ontology’ proposed by Jacques Derrida (1993) as a way of thinking about the presence of absent figures, which haunt the world in an ambiguous state of being neither alive nor dead. We propose this theme as a productive framework for addressing the challenges of working with what we inherit, for dealing with contemporary concerns around existence in transition (past and present), and as a fruitful area of potential rapprochement between history of art and archaeology. We also invite any papers that deal with other aspects of crossovers, shared frameworks or exchanges between the two disciplines.

This panel is a response to the conference’s call for topics that address the multidisciplinary dimensions of archaeology. It is an initiative of the society of South African Visual Arts Historians (SAVAH) with a view to foster stronger links between Archaeology and History of Art in southern Africa. The hauntology framework is linked to the over-arching theme of the upcoming SAVAH conference (11–13 September 2019, District Six Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology).

Session (Panel) proposed and to be organised by:
Alison Kearney ( ), Nike Romano ‎( ) & Justine Wintjes ( )

Are Africa's challenges a heritage concern? A large percentage of Africa's population is youthful, unemployed and currently a concern for the continent's political leadership. Together with women, the African youth is not only found in rural areas but is also migrating to towns in search of economic and social opportunities and thus compounding the challenges in the continent's burgeoning urban areas. With a significant number of heritage resources, that testify of the ingenuity of African technology in pre-colonial times, few of which are recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and numerous that are of local, regional and continental value, does Africa's past and heritage hold the key to her sustainable development into the future? What are the multiple ways in which African heritage can be marshalled to contribute and respond to everyday life and challenges? This session invites contributors to share case studies that have involved or seek to involve youth and women in heritage conservation and management, and which have developed sustainable models that enhance social growth. With the idea of heritage conservation and management in mind, areas of focus may include case studies showcasing youth and women participation in technology, heritage tourism, heritage entrepreneurship, IKS (research and knowledge production related to heritage) and the media.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Nonofho Ndobochani,; Shadreck Chirikure,; Webber Ndoro,; Ishanlosen Odiaua, and Souayibou Varissou,

The southern African Middle Stone Age occupies a central position in studies on, for example, modern human origins, the development of complex behavioural expressions, landscape use, technological ingenuity and palaeo-environmental and climate change. Annually new finds are reported, and these frequently lead to paradigm changes in the field. This session is aimed at presenting updates on various aspects that form part of this dynamic research field. Papers and posters are invited to contribute any relevant perspectives on research in the Middle Stone Age from the region.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Sarah Wurz, and Kokeli Ryano

Archaeological sites can be found in rural or farming areas, or on urban peripheries, or within urban landscapes. These sites often have tourism potential, and can promote economic linkages in the vicinity. However, these sites may compete with other possible urban or rural functions, such as agriculture, transport, mining or commerce. This requires sensitive and far-sighted development planning. The relevant authorities often vary in their ability to integrate heritage assessments and planning with other functions. The challenge becomes even greater when different authorities have to find common ground in terms of short- and longer-term development priorities. Some authorities are particularly vulnerable to institutional and policy shifts. This session enables development planners and archaeologists to compare their experiences, problems and breakthroughs in synchronising heritage, archaeology and other regional and local imperatives.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Doreen Atkinson, and David Morris,

Rock art research is a vibrant and growing discipline. Researchers have opened up several avenues of investigation and debate. Documentation techniques, especially digital technology, are developing rapidly and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Research into the identification of temporal and spatial variation in southern African rock art 'traditions' has become a focus of investigation. Several recent studies of southern African hunter-gatherer imagery undertaken within the shamanistic paradigm have attempted to refine, broaden and deepen its explanatory potential. Other rock art studies based on alternative paradigms have also emerged. Chronometric investigations are becoming increasingly rigorous and useful in linking rock art imagery to other archaeological and historical data. The moral, ethical and technical complexities of the practice of both rock art research and rock art conservation are also an important focus. This session aims to include contributions to these broad research paths in order to present a current review of the state of the discipline.

Session proposed and to be organised by:
Jeremy Hollmann -


Possible further sessions to include:

  • Plio-Pleistocene Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
  • Middle Stone Age
  • Later Stone Age
  • First Millennium AD and after (hunters, herders, farmers)
  • Last 500 years
  • Rock Art
  • Karoo Archaeology
  • Bioarchaeology - archaeobotany - zooarchaeology
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Experimental archaeology
  • Heritage, Mining and Development
  • Materiality
  • Conservation in Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Communicating Archaeology
  • Student showcase
  • Palaeo-environments and climate change
  • Archaeo-mining and archaeo-metallurgy
  • Theory, method and practice
  • Forensic and mortuary archaeology
  • Identities; ethnographic analogy
  • Archaeology and neoliberalism
  • Archaeology in museums in the 21st century
  • Digital archaeology
  • Archaeotourism.

You are not currently logged in. You will need a user account to complete the call for submissions form.