ASAPA 2017

ASAPA Conference report

The successful hosting of the 2017 Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) Biannual conference in the Jacaranda City – held between 04 and 07 July 2017 – was a culmination of a two year old dream – a dream that was born a few months before the 2015 conference held in Harare, Zimbabwe. Hosting a great conference followed months of planning by members of the Local Organising Committee – which I had an honour of leading. Most importantly, this committee was also inclusive of archaeology students – to enable them to acquire confidence and skills in organising gatherings of this magnitude. They were responsible for some of the portfolios – rather than simply taking instructions – and they delivered on every task. Besides members of the LOC, we also had a highly dedicated team of 28 student volunteers (both undergraduate and postgraduate students in archaeology). They were always immediately available to help with any task in our attempts to convene a memorable and well-organised conference.

This was the first time that our department hosted the gathering of regional archaeologists – providing them with a platform to discuss various developments in the different periods of archaeology over the past two years. To set the tone of the conference, the Dean of Humanities – Prof Reddy – officially opened the gathering before handing over the podium to four Keynote Speakers from Ghana (Prof Godzo), Kenya (Dr Kiura), Sudan (Dr Bashir), and Uganda (Dr Namono). Over 150 conference papers were presented during the four day gathering and 40 conference posters showcased during the post reception we had on the second day of the conference.

The conference also saw our Head of Department, Prof Innocent Pikirayi, being awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the previous ASAPA Council – honouring his impact in the discipline for over many years. In the most recent past, Prof Pikirayi was the President of the South African Archaeological Society (SAAS), having also served on the ASAPA Council a few years ago.

We are grateful for the generous support from our funders without whom this conference would not have been successful: Wenner-Gren, the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), National Research Foundation (NRF), PAST, IFAS, the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Pretoria.

Post written by Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu, Chair of the LOC