Dr Xander Antonites

I received my BA degree (Anthropology and Archaeology) in 2001 and my MA degree in Archaeology in 2005 – both from the University of Pretoria. After completion of my MA, I first worked as a contract archaeologists before joining UNISA as a junior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. In 2007 I started my PhD at Yale University in the USA. The degree was awarded with distinction in 2012.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Academic / Support: Academic Department
Faculty/Department: Humanities
Campus: South Campus
Building: Bldg 4
Office Number: 2-32

Research areas

I work on the archaeology of Farming Communities in southern Africa.

My earlier research concentrated on the social context of production. More specifically, I focused on discerning patterns of household and specialists activities and how these relate to economic organization of early farmers in southern Africa.

Although production and consumption patterns remain a topic of interest, I have changed focus to political organization and hinterland-heartland interaction during the Mapungubwe period (c. AD 1200). This period is of special interest to Southern African political history since it was the first discernible instance of a class-based social system in the region. The University of Pretoria has a long research history on Mapungubwe, and my research continues to build on this. While earlier work had focused on the Mapungubwe political centre, I concentrate on the smaller communities in its hinterland. My research offers a reappraisal of the accepted view of hinterland society as inert and un-influential in regional dynamics. Continued research on this topic shows contrasting patterns in which hierarchy formation in the heartland co-occurred with the horizontal expansion of social relations through networking strategies in the hinterland.


Current research

TogetherwithmycolleagueatUP,CeriAshley,IamexpandingonthisresearchinthecentralLimpopo RiverValley,seeingtheriverasaconduitofinteractionthattieddiversesocialandenvironmentalmosaicstogether.

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