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DBL: Exhibition Histories

Division of the world



Division of the world


In 2012, the Department of Archaeology invited Pippa Skotnes to curate an installation in the large foyer of their department on upper campus. No stranger to the department, having worked at the interface of archaeology, art and curatorship since the 1980s, Skotnes decided to reflect on the legacy of the department through the practice of its scholars, with the central exhibition reflecting on the Goodwin division of the history of the people of southern Africa into Early, Middle and Later Stone Age . To this end, Skotnes and her team used material from various sites excavated over decades of the study of archaeology at UCT.

The installation, titled 'Division of the world', includes materials from departmental storerooms, personal staff collections and documentation from fieldwork archives (CCA 2021). UCT houses huge storerooms of material excavated from the Western Cape – collections which in many ways tell not only the story of the city of Cape Town and the colony, but of the pre-colonial past stretching back to the Early Stone Age. As research in the discipline is based on excavation and the accumulation of material, the storerooms of the department overflow with boxes of research material assembled over the years of the department’s existence, many unopened for decades. Like an archive, the boxes physically represent the archaeological community’s memory bank. Scavenging through the storerooms and materials, Skotnes engaged with the material in innovative ways, selecting her displays along very different sets of criteria than those suggested by the labels on the boxes.


1 January 2022, 09:30

Date Valid

1 January 2022, 10:00