The Five Hundred Year Archive

Object number E1905.515 in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge: A woman’s beaded belt collected by Alfred Cort Haddon in 1905 while on the British Association for the Advancement of Science Tour of South Africa most probably on 26 August at Laduma kaTetelegu’s homestead near Swartkops, in what was then the Colony of Natal.

Object number E1905.515 in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge: A woman’s beaded belt collected by Alfred Cort Haddon in 1905 while on the British Association for the Advancement of Science Tour of South Africa most probably on 26 August at Laduma kaTetelegu’s homestead near Swartkops, in what was then the Colony of Natal.

A fascinating project has just been launched by the Archive & Public Culture Research Initiative. Still in its first stage of development, the Five Hundred Year Archive aims to create an online research portal through which the public can access visual, textual and sonic archival objects and texts from the last 500 years of Southern Africa’s pre-colonial past. With a lot of artifacts from this period misidentified, lost or dispersed in inaccessible institutions across the world, the Five Hundred Year Archive hopes to facilitate research and knowledge-sharing, as well as stimulate interest in institutions’ collections through increased access and public engagement.

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