School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

Material Culture and Archaeological Tools Workshop at UKZN Classics Museum

The Classics department within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently hosted a two-day workshop on Material Culture and Archaeological Tools at the UKZN Classics Museum on the Howard College campus.

Dr Samantha Masters and Dr Jessica Nitschke, both from the University of Stellenbosch, facilitated the workshop for the postgraduate students in the Classics Department in order to introduce them to various aspects of examining and interpreting artefacts and to acquaint them better with the artefacts in the Classics Museum.

‘This workshop is relevant for students because it teaches them about archaeology and using objects to reconstruct the past. We chose UKZN because it has one of the few remaining collections of antiquities still on display in South Africa and features a wide range of objects and types’ said Masters. ‘We are hopeful that the University remains committed to the curatorship and display of this collection, as it brings students and the public closer to the ancient world.’

In addition to a more theoretical part, which dealt with the various types of artefacts such as vases, statues, coins or lamps; the materials they were made from; the methods with which they were created and their chronologies, students also took part in a practical session during which they learned how to handle, measure, draw and catalogue an object.

Student Ms Theshira Pather said: ‘The workshop was highly informative and enjoyable. We were taught how to examine, describe and analyse ancient pottery and carvings. This kind of workshop will be extremely beneficial for my future studies in Classics. The relaxed and casual atmosphere, which Dr Masters and Dr Nitschke created, helped me to engage fully with the artefacts during the practical session. I hope that there are more workshops of this nature at our department in the future.’

Classics lecturer Dr Elke Steinmeyer said: ‘The students greatly benefitted from the expertise of both scholars and broadened their knowledge in an area of expertise not offered anymore at UKZN. It is envisaged that Dr Masters and Dr Nitschke will come back next year for a follow-up project on the Classics Museum.’

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