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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