Department of Human Sciences

The Department of Human Sciences has a dynamic team of inter-disciplinary curators who conduct research in archaeology, history, anthropology, rock art, museumology, object biographies and materiality...

Department of Natural Science

The Department of Natural Science is one of two research departments within the museum, housing specimens dating back to 1879...

Exhibition Department

KwaZulu-Natal Museum’s Exhibition Department conceptualises, designs and oversees both the permanent and temporary exhibitions within the Museum...

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Talk by Chrissie Sievers on Saturday, February 15th at 10:30 am at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg

Arcsoc Chrissie

Chrissie Sievers lectures in Archaeobotany at Wits University. Her special interest is in identifying the when, how and what of plant use in antiquity. In addition to regular archaeological fieldwork, she devises various experiments to determine how plant remains became incorporated in archaeological deposits, and how they might have been affected by later occupations of archaeological sites.

Although starchy geophytes (roots, tubers, rhizomes) are seldom preserved archaeologically, at Border Cave they have been excavated from ashy layers at least 170 000 years old. By comparing the external shape and the internal vascular structure of the ancient remains with many modern geophytes, we were able to identify the Border Cave rhizomes as belonging to the genus Hypoxis (star flower). They are probably Hypoxis angustifolia, which are small white-fleshed edible geophytes widely distributed in southern Africa and beyond, and would have provided a food staple. Their presence at Border Cave also tells us about the social behaviour of our species, Homo sapiens, in the Middle Stone Age.

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Opening Times

Monday to Friday - 8:15 to 16:30 
Saturdays - 9:00 to 16:00 
Sundays - 10:00 to 15:00


Adults (over 17 years) : R15.00

Children (4-17 years) : R 5.00 

School Learners on tour : R 2.50 per child

Pensioners & toddlers : FREE