Ancient fortificated settlements: Frobenius at Mapungubwe, 1928
Justine Wintjes
Thu, 21/09/2017 - 18:30
The Auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg

A local farmer by the name of Van Graan and his son visited Mapungubwe for the first time in 1932. In the following year they brought the site to the attention of Leo Fouche, professor of History at the University of Pretoria. But Mapungubwe was not as remote and unknown as the romanticised narrative in Fouche’s book implies. Several published and archival references indicate that one Bernard Francois (Frans) Lotrie knew it well. Lotrie apparently lived a hermit’s life in a cave near Mapungubwe Hill in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Lotrie’s grandson, Berend Lottering, appears to have guided paying visitors to the site. In this talk, Justine Wintjes investigates the Lotrie/Lottering relationship to Mapungubwe. She also examines the archival evidence of early place-names for an older, now-forgotten knowledge of the Mapungubwe landscape that potentially connects historical memory to archaeological results.

Dr Wintjes lectures in the School of Arts at Wits. One of her main interests is the intersection between art and archaeology. She has a Masters in fine art from La Cambre in Brussels, a Masters in archaeological science from Leiden University and a PhD in art history from Wits. Her doctoral thesis was on the production of knowledge of rock art and she is currently working on visual material collected by the Leo Frobenius ethnographic expedition to southern Africa from 1928 to 1930.

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