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. The department has a long history of research excellence and many of southern Africa’s senior archaeologists have worked at the museum at some point in their careers, including Tim Maggs, Aron Mazel and Martin Hall. The Human Sciences Department is also responsible for producing the prestigious inter-disciplinary academic journal Southern African Humanities, which has been published since 1906 (albeit with differing titles). The department also produces books under the moniker of “Occasional Publications of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum”.

The research produced by staff is fundamental to a range of subsidiary activities including permanent and temporary exhibitions, outreach, education and collections management. With collections that number over 100,000 items, staff also conduct research on items within the stores of the museum. As the Twenty-First Century progresses, the Human Sciences Department will continue to contribute to the KwaZulu-Natal Museum’s vision and goals of bridging the divide between scholars and the public, producing original research and curating the nation’s heritage assets to international standards.


DHS Main Image



Recent Publications

Whitelaw, G. 2019. Ntshekane and the end of the Early Iron Age in KwaZulu-Natal. The Digging Stick 37: 1–4.

Steyn, M., Whitelaw, G., Botha, D., Vicente, M., Schlebusch, C.M. & Lombard, M. 2019. Southern African Humanities 32: 23–56.

Blundell, G. & Ferreira, A. 2018. Tusk and transformation in southern African San rock art: an iconographic analysis of WAR2. Azania 53341–368.

Thorp, C. 2018. Thoughts on 'thinking strings'. Southern African Humanities 31: 79–92. 

Laue, G., Challis, S. & Mullen, A. 2018. Concerning heritage: lessons from rock art management in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. In S. Makuvaza (ed.) Aspects of management planning for Cultural World Heritage Sites: principles, approaches and practices. Cham: Springer, pp. 119–130.

Laue, G. 2017. McAll’s Cave: characterising the rock art of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Southern African Humanities 30: 145–183.

Whitelaw, G. 2017. “Only fatness will bring rain”: agriculturist rainmaking and hunter-gatherers. Southern African Humanities 30: 101–124.

Coutu, A.N., Whitelaw, G., Le Roux, P. & Sealy, J. 2016. Earliest evidence for the ivory trade in southern Africa: isotopic and ZooMS analysis of seventh–tenth century AD ivory from KwaZulu-Natal. African Archaeological Review 33 (4): 411–435.


Human Sciences Team

Principal Curator
Chief Curator
Collections Technician
Research Technician
Technical Assistant

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