Dr Xander Antonites

Room 2-27, Building 4 East
University of Pretoria
South Africa

tel: +27 (0)12 420 6294
email: [email protected]


Degree, University, Year
PhD, Yale University, 2012
MA, University of Pretoria 2005
BA (Hons), University of Pretoria 2003

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists

Academic Profile

My research interests largely revolve around the political economy of African societies of the last 2000 years. Within this broad topic, I have a special interest in the socio-political and economic interactions of communities and how these exchanges were mediated at a local level. This perspective draws broadly from new comparative research conducted internationally (Mesoamerica, South America and Central and East Asia), but especially influenced by Africanist research on these topics. Consequently, I aim to situate own research as locally meaningful but also internationally relevant.

This perspective influenced the research that culminated in my PhD degree, which highlighted the agentive position of communities outside centres of political power - demonstrating that these communities often had more agency and parity in their relations with centres. This has direct bearing on how we view early complex societies and points to fluctuating and flexible systems of horizontal social integration. Between 2016 and 2018, this theme was elaborated through a three year NRF AOP: New approaches to Mapungubwe commoners. The project aimed to recast accepted narratives of 13th century South Africa, in order to contribute to larger debates about power, authority and the role of the everyday, in the past as well as the present. This research theme has local impact through its explicit focus on those portions of 13th century southern Africa society, typically labelled as 'commoner', within the larger social, political and economic landscape. However, it also has international relevance since it not only situates southern Africa in larger debates on social complexity, but also level a critique at modes of understanding that emphasises the overt and dominant role of hierarchical forms of power.

Course involvement

AGL310 - Introduction to Archaeological Theory
AGL751 - Advanced Archaeological Theory

Orcid ID


Recent Publications

For details, please refer to the following:

GoogleScholar Profile

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