Social Connections in Southern Africa during the Holocene: Perspectives from Grassridge Rockshelter

Dr Benjamin Collins, will present the Department of Archaeology seminar with a talk entitled, "Social Connections in Southern Africa during the Holocene: Perspectives from Grassridge Rockshelter". 

Abstract: Humans are, and have always been, social beings. However, establishing the nature and range of social networks in prehistoric societies remains challenging. Archaeologists use ethnographic resources, archaeometry, and exchange items to gauge the extent of past social networks, often in combination and to varying success. This talk will focus on using these proxies to examine social networks during the early and mid-Holocene in southern Africa, two periods that are generally considered to be well described and therefore perhaps overlooked by current research programmes. Recent and ongoing research at Grassridge Rockshelter, located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, provides a detailed record of past lifeways during the early and mid-Holocene from an understudied region of southern Africa.  This research therefore presents an excellent opportunity to explore social networks during these periods. From these data, it will be argued that social networks during the early and mid-Holocene were both larger and more complex at a regional scale than previously thought, and that the individuals involved invested substantial energy and time into the material indicators (and maintenance) of these networks.

 

Bio:  Dr. Collins received his PhD from McGill University in 2014. Subsequently he held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto, although he spent the majority of the tenure of the fellowship at the University of Cape Town. He is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology at University of Manitoba, an Honorary Research Associate with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, a member of the Human Evolution Research Institute at the University of Cape Town, and a Junior Fellow with St. John’s College at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Collins’ research focuses on behavioural changes and variation amongst hunter-gatherers in prehistory, and with particular regard to adaptations to periods of rapid climate change. In 2014, he instigated the Grassridge Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Project with his colleague, Dr. Christopher Ames, to focus on these research questions, and the project has received funding from the Leakey and Wenner-Gren Foundations and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Date: 
Monday, July 30, 2018 - 13:00
Venue: 

Teaching Studio, Room 3.10, Department of Archaeology, Beattie Building

TOP