From rock art to cultural heritage management: A brief history of Cologne’s archaeological engagement in Namibia

goodman_crc_lectureArchaeology in countries that were affected by deep and multiple colonialisms manifests itself in many distinct archaeologies. We are confronted by archaeologies that were entangled, such as amateur, professional, academic, cultural resource management and community/ public archaeology. Some archaeologies such as professional and academic were more prominent and that gave the impression that archaeological authority was only to be found in the results of such practices. The relevance of other archaeologies such as avocational and community archaeology remained overshadowed to an extent that they were dismissed as unscientific and therefore not archaeological practices. The emergence and development of archaeology in Namibia is closely connected to the University of Cologne’s Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology (Institut für Ur und Frühgeschichte) and the African Archaeology. It is rooted in rock art studies and was born out of avocational endeavours. Archaeology in Namibia became professionalised through legitimisation by academic institutions such as the Cologne Institut für Ur und Frühgeschichte. However, the process of legitimisation overlooked the challenges of converting the academic throughputs into material that local professional and administrative archaeologists can use for heritage management.

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Goodman Gwasira, University of Namibia.

This presentation examines the relevance of the Cologne rock art investigations in Namibia to heritage management and the nation building project. It interrogates the perception that Cologne practised “extractive archaeology” in Namibia, which led to a lack of institutionalisation of archaeology and capacitating of local institutions. The central argument of the presentation is that documentation of Namibian rock art by the University of Cologne represents an irreplaceable and invaluable throughput which needs to be adapted and converted for use in rock art heritage management. The Cologne rock art catalogues have the potential of leading to the development of new methods and theories of heritage conservation and preservation. The presentation draws from ongoing research on the history of Namibia’s archaeologies and from personal reflections.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 07/11/2016, 16:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room 0.024, Biozentrum (Building 304), Zülpicher Str. 47b, Cologne

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A comparison of rock art site distribution in the North and South of Iberia during the Solutrean and Magdalenian

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Viviane Bolin is a PhD student in the C1 project working on Upper Paleolithic settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula.

The settlement history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Upper Palaeolithic was influenced by diverse geographic and climatic conditions. An increase of site density from the early to the late Upper Palaeolithic can be observed – with a higher concentration of sites in the northern regions and in coastal areas of the Peninsula, while the interior and the southern areas were sparsely populated. Only the Solutrean period displays a similar number of human settlement sites in the North and South, as well as an increase of sites in the interior of the Iberian Peninsula (Schmidt et al. 2012).

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Viviane Bolin, Project C1

Viviane Bolin, Project C1

According to literature, a comparable pattern is visible for the distribution of rock art sites. During most of the Upper Palaeolithic periods mainly the northern and coastal areas show a greater artistic expression than the South or the interior of the Iberian Peninsula – with one exception during the Solutrean when an explosion of rock art sites can also be observed in the southern and interior regions (Bicho et al. 2007).

Does a correlation between demographic and artistic expansion exist? To answer this question, a diachronic and spatial analysis of rock art and occupation sites during the Solutrean and Magdalenian in different regions of Iberia will be carried out. Mapping and interpolation of the data with Kernel Density Estimation could reveal changes in site distribution and frequency. This spatio-temporal multivariate approach furthermore provides estimates of relative population densities and reconstructs land-use patterns (Grove 2011).

The objective of this analysis is to determine demographic and artistic centres of human settlements and show the diffusion and mobility of the hunter-gatherer groups during the later periods of the Upper Palaeolithic. Thus, a cross check between different time periods (Solutrean and Magdalenian), different regions of Iberian Peninsula (North and South) and spatial (settlement) and cultural data (art) is possible.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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