Dr Timothy Forssman

Position: Senior Lecturer
Academic / Support: Academic Department
Faculty/Department: Humanities
Campus: Hatfield Campus
Building: Humanities
Office Number: 8-4
Contact: (012) 420-3111

Degree, University, Year
BA (Wits), Hons (Wits), MSc (Wits) & DPhil (Oxford)
Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations
Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists Society of Africanist Archaeologists

Academic Profile

Tim completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom but received most of his professional training at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was then awarded a three-year NRF Scarce Skills Innovation Fellowship and spent two years at the University of Pretoria under Prof Innocent Pikirayi and one year at the University of the Witwatersrand under Dr Sam Challis. Following this, and after nearly a year in contract archaeology, Tim worked for 15 months on a heritage mitigation project mostly in Lesotho for PGS Heritage where he managed different specialists and oversaw the Stone Age excavations. Tim left the Lesotho project in 2019 to begin his post at the University of Pretoria as a Senior Lecturer. Over the years, Tim has published numerous articles in local and international journals. Most of these are to do with hunter-gather sequences and specifically their interactions with farmer communities in northern South Africa. However, Tim has also published several works on rock art, archaeological method and the Iron Age. Currently, Tim is looking forward to the publication of his most recent book titled 'Foragers in the middle Limpopo Valley: trade, place-making, and social complexity'. The book expands on his doctoral study and associated research projects and examines in more detail the role of foragers in society during the lead-up to the establishment of the Mapungubwe state.

Current Research Project(s)

Tim's research falls under his Hunter-Gatherer Archaeological Research Project (HARP) which seeks to develop hunter-gatherer histories around southern Africa. His main project is titled ‘Socio-spatial networks in central southern Africa: hunter-gatherers and their role in the rise of complex societies, c. 2000 BC to AD 1300’ and is based in the middle Limpopo Valley. Through this study, which involves excavations and rock art research programs, the aim is to develop an inclusive history of social relations in the region before and during the development of state-level society. Under HARP, and led in collaboration with a postdoctoral candidate, Tim is part of a project examining identities in the western part of South Africa during the colonial occupation of this region. The aim of the study is to explore how indigenous communities made space for themselves within western frameworks and their socio-cultural resilience within these systems. Tim is also part of a research team examining the Stone Age sequence of the highveld, with a particular focus in and around Pretoria. His research interests include forager-farmer interactions, forager economies, trade dynamics, landscape archaeology, and rock art.

Course involvement

Tim teaches archaeological method at second (AGL 220) and honours years (AGL 752) and he teaches the second year (AGL 210) course on southern African archaeology. Tim also supervises students at different postgraduate level generally in Stone Age research as well as rock art.

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Published by Xander Antonites

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