Heritage and Fossils of the Karoo

The first complete vertebral column of a basal tapinocephalid dinocephalian

Non-mammalian therapsids (‘mammal-like reptiles’) were the most common continental vertebrates during Permo-Triassic times. A rich fossil record from several continents documents the acquisition of mammalian characteristics among advanced therapsids. In contrast, the record of the early and most basal therapsids is poorly known and restricted to only a few countries. Dinocephalians are a major subgroup of basal therapsids and are impressive […]

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The Healing Land: Research Methods in Kalahari Communities

The Healing Land (Isaacson, 2001a) is a vivid, experiential account of Rupert Isaacson’s journey towards personal and community healing among the Khomani Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. This paper provides a detailed analysis of The Healing Land in relation to Isaacson’s research methodology and interaction with the Khomani, examining how the story […]

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The magrical arts of a raider nation: Central South Africa’s Korana rock art

Until recently, southern African rock art has been thought ‘San’ authored. But recent research reveals multiple rock art traditions. Khoekhoe herders produced finger-painted and rough-pecked geometric and ‘representational’ images. Europeans left quotidian names, dates and place markings. Bantu-speakers have initiation-related rock arts with recent political protest iterations. This diversity requires we use multiple sources of […]

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The Springbok … Drink the Rain’s Blood

As Andrew bank has pointed out recently, the major challenge to the study of environmental history in southern Africa is determining historical indigenous uses, knowledge and adaptation of and to the environment. As he describes it, “the silence (in environmental history) s African knowledge.


Title to land and loss of land in the Griqua captaincy of Philippolis, 1826-1861

Many reasons have been advanced for the failure of the Griqua Captaincies of Griquatown and Philippolis. These include the political squabbles among the Griquas and their inability to create effective forms of political authority; detrimental policies of the missionaries; the indecision of the Cape government and their ineffective protection of Griqua interests; the disruptive effects […]

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Tracking Decorated Ostrich Eggshells in the Kalahari

This article forms part of the author’s research on the heritage of the Upington, Gariep River, area, in South Africa. Autoethnographic methodology based on reflexive theory is applied, whereby the ways in which the values of the author influence the research are made apparent [Robins 2001Robins , Melinda 2001 Intersecting Places Emancipatory Spaces: Women Journalists […]

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Waterford Formation in the south-eastern Karoo

Extensive research on the rocks of the Karoo Supergroup has shown that this sequence, which contains an unsurpassed record of Permian-Jurassic tetrapods, records a largely unbroken stratigraphie succession from 300 Ma to 180 Ma. This Gondwanan succession was deposited in a changing environmental setting reflecting glacial marine through deltaic to fluvial and aeolian desert conditions. The contact between the […]

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What our ancestors’ third eye reveals about the evolution of mammals to warm blood

Summery: French philosopher René Descartes believed that the pineal gland, a tiny button of neurons located in the depth of our brain, was the seat of the soul. Today, thanks to palaeontology, genetic and developmental studies, we know that it is actually the evolutionary relic of a long-vanished organ, the third eye. This is also known as […]


Whatever did happen at Jagersfontein?

The Turbulent Years – 1913-1914 On Saturday 5 July 1913, the day after the declaration of a general strik and a night of riots , British troops confronted crowds in central Johannesburg. They dispersed groups in the streets, and then, forming a square, fired volley after volley into the gathering crgwd. Thereafter, until mid-afternoon, they fired at any civilian […]

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Who is Iris Vaughan? New Light on a remarkable colonial child autobiographer

The childhood impulse to keep a diary must be very common: many intelligent children, once they are literate, hit on the idea of keeping an account of their daily experiences. Few seem to sustain the effort of keeping a regular record for long; fewer are sufficiently witty, observant and lively to warrant publication, and still […]