Historical Archaeology Laboratory

archaeology dept, beattie building, 3.12/3.14

phone: +27 21 650 2358

fax: +27 21 650 2352

email: Antonia Malan

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The Historical Archaeology Research Group (HARG) was established within the Department of Archaeology in 1987 to bring together archaeologists and other researchers actively interested in the history of the last six hundred years, and to introduce the sub-discipline of historical archaeology to UCT.  HARG acts as an umbrella group for people from a range of disciplines, and offers a home for visiting historical archaeologists, a network of contacts, a resource centre and a laboratory.  We have produced informal newsletters (Martevaan and Crossmend) and research guides (see below).  

Core members based in the Department are Jane Klose, Yvonne Brink and Antonia Malan.  As well as our academic roles as research associates in the Department, we analyse and curate excavated artifacts, develop comparative / teaching collections, teach specialist courses, and run seminars and workshops.  Martin Hall became the first professor of historical archaeology and ran the Research Unit for the Archaeology of Cape Town.  Margot Winer and Carmel Schrire are visiting research associates. 

In close association with the Archaeology Contracts Office, HARG has become well known in the western Cape for its contribution to local cultural heritage research, consultancy and conservation management.  Of particular concern has been the need to bridge the gap between theory and practice, authorities and the public.  In 2000 the Cultural Sites & Resources Forum (see below) was set up to provide a forum for debate and resolution of issues around the identification and conservation of sacred sites, particularly Muslim burial grounds.  HARG also played an active role in founding the inter-disciplinary Association of Heritage Assessment Practitioners: W.Cape (ahapwc@age.uct.ac.za) and contributes to a training course Architectural & Urban Conservation.

HARG research guides



Klose, J. 2007. "Identifying Ceramics: An introduction to the analysis and interpretation of ceramics excavated from 17th to 20th century archaeological sites and shipwrecks in the south-western Cape."

   This second edition of HARG Handbook no.1 (Ceramics at the Cape, 1999) is only available on CD. The original text has been substantially updated and is accompanied by over 500 specially produced colour illustrations, a Glossary of terms and a prototype Identification Table. General enquiries and SA orders (ZAR 250) to jane.klose@uct.ac.za. Overseas orders (GBP 20) to antonia.malan@uct.ac.za.


Harris, S., “Architectural history in Cape Town and its hinterland: an annotated bibliography”.  HARG Resource Book 2, January 2000.

Malan, A. “Glossary of objects and words used in eighteenth and early nineteenth century Cape inventories”, HARG Resource Book, September 1999.

Malan, A. & S. Harris,  “Archives & Archaeology: a guide to source material for researching colonial Cape Town households”.  HARG Handbook No.2, May 1999.

Useful links:  

Transcription of Estate Papers at the Cape - http://www.capetranscripts.co.za

Vernacular Architecture Society of SA – http://www.vassa.org.za

The Society for Historical Archaeology (USA) – www.sha.org

Society for Post Medieval Archaeology (UK) – www.spma.org.uk

Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology – www.asha.org.au



Cultural Sites & Resources Forum (CS&RF)

Founded in 2000 in response to conflicts between members of the public, the Muslim community, developers and the authorities, the Forum provides a place for vigorous debate, facilitation and resolution of issues, and advice on cultural heritage management of contested and sensitive sites. 

Lead by Antonia Malan (Historical Archaeology Research Group), Noëleen Murray (School of Architecture & Planning, now at Centre for African Studies, UCT), Abdulkader Tayob (Centre for Contemporary Islam, UCT) and Auwais Rafoudien (University of the Western Cape).  Work groups have focused on a contested development site at a school in Oranjezicht, Cape Town, preparing proposals for the conservation of Tana Baru burial ground (Bo-Kaap), and advising on sensitive site management issues at Simon’s Town Museum. In 2003 a series of discussions and workshops were held at the Centre for African Studies.  These meetings were often followed by further debate and plans of action by smaller work groups.