Home > Winter School > Winter School 2021 > SCIENCE, CONSERVATION AND MEDICINE > Heritage in southern Africa and Australia


Dr Sven Ouzman, archaeologist and heritage specialist, Department of Archaeology and Centre for Rock Art Research and Management, University of Western Australia

Australia and southern Africa are both a study in contrasts and have many areas in common. In particular, southern Africa has many useful lessons for Australia in understanding how heritage, identity and nationhood intersect. This series of lectures will explore how archaeology and heritage have been ‘discovered’, understood, used and abused in these two southern lands. Combining archival research with modern field-based research fieldwork, a fascinating patchwork of congruences and differences emerge. For example, key personages like George Grey, Patricia Vinnicombe and Rudolph Pöch – and key events such as the Frobenius expedition and colonial circuits of museum collecting – recur. There are also key differences, especially in the post-colonising aftermath times that relate to the role or non-role of heritage in nation-building, how development enables and threatens heritage, and the role of legislation in heritage protection. Indigenous knowledge is an especially confusing field for many heritage practitioners as the very word means very different things in southern African (and, indeed, Africa) than it does in Australia. These congruences and divergences form a powerful set of examples and practices that may be useful for global discussions on heritage that have tended to be dominated by discussion from the Global North. The course will be richly illustrated with case studies.



1. Archaeologies of Austral: colonial circuits of knowledge (Dart, Vinnicombe, Frobenious, Tribolet, Grey)

2. An archaeology of origins: understanding time and being

3. Who owns the past? Uses and abuses of archaeological knowledge and symbols

4. Archaeology Inc.: heritage, development and the law

5. Excavating the future: comparing the rainbow nation and the lucky country


Recommended reading

Griffith, B. 2018. Deep Time Dreaming. Carlton (Vic): Black Inc.

Shepherd, N. 2015. The Mirror in the Ground: Archaeology, photography and the making of a disciplinary archive. Cape Town: Jonathan Ball.


DATES: Monday 26 July–Friday 30 July 2021              
TIME: 9.30am–10.30am
COURSE FEES: R375