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The journey of a box file by Debra Pryor

21 May 2020 - 09:30
Taken from John Parkington's box file: A photograph of a hut floor at uMgungundlovu. Photo courtesy of the FHYA.
Taken from John Parkington's box file: A photograph of a hut floor at uMgungundlovu. Photo courtesy of the FHYA.


In 2018 the FHYA digitised a box file containing Prof. John Parkington’s personal correspondence, notebooks, photographs and slides related to excavations at the uMgungundlovu archaeological site between 1973 and 1975. The material had been in Prof. Parkington’s possession, at UCT, since the 1970’s when he had led excavations at the site.

The box file was digitised to form part of the uMgungundlovu-related archaeological materials on the 500 Year Archive online exemplar. We invited John to the APC to double check some of the contextual information and to show him how we had arranged the uMgungundlovu archaeological material which had been selected from the KwaZulu Natal Museum (KZNM), as well as Amafa / Heritage KwaZulu Natali - provincial heritage conservation agency (AMAFA) and the Msunduzi Museum. When seeing the media up on the FHYA, John immediately suggested that the box file be sent for permanent custody to the KZNM where he felt it really belonged, in order that it could stand alongside the archaeological material it related to in the KZNM archive.

The Head of Department (Archaeology, UCT), Simon Hall, strongly supported this view and the necessary documentation was drawn up forthwith. On the 18 December 2019, the box file made its way to its new home at the KZNM and was received by Gavin Whitelaw, the curator of the Archaeological Collections, just before the year-end holiday began.
 
Both Gavin, John and the FHYA team were delighted with the role that the FHYA project played in re-convening this dispersed archive!