Robert Thornton, Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand
This is a podcast/radio interview that I did with Marie-Lais Emond, for a programme called “A place called Melville” on the South African community radio station Radio Today, 1485 AM.
I talk about my developing interpretation of these sites as ‘sacred sites’ and ritual places, that are probably more or less identical to the stone-demarcated ritual and sacred spaces that are used by the African Indigenous/Independent Churches (AICs ) as they are sometimes known, or African syncretic Christain sects. These groups meet all over Johannesburg in parkland wetlands, and ‘wilderness’ areas, dressed in white, blue, & green ritual clothing.
The interpretation I am offering here is similar to the transformation that David Lewis-Williams created in the field of rock art by seeing it as ritual spaces connected with what he calls ‘shamanic’ healing rituals of the San. I am interpreting the archaeological landscape—what amounts to rock ‘landscape art’—in a similar way.
It is nice to reach a more popular audience, and I am grateful to the interviewer, Marie-Lais Emond, and her team for giving me the opportunity to speak in this forum.
If you happen to read this, please feel free to comment: Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
The program can be found as follows:
A Place called Melville – 27 January 2014 Guests Robert Thornton
From the Website (above):
The stone circle on the Melville Koppies has the mystery and misinterpretations cleared up by anthropologist Robert Thornton.
Presented by Alastair Graham and Marie-Lais Emond Photo: Walking in the ruins of a lost world in Melville Koppies