Neil Rusch

Neil Rusch
University of the Witwatersrand | wits · School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Sciences

About

38
Publications
13,282
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Citations
Introduction
Neil Rusch, researcher at ATEM, Archaeological TransfrontiEr Music, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (38)
Book
Full-text available
Bushman Stories (English edition): Gideon Retief von Wielligh (1859–1932) is best known, in literary and folkloristic circles, for his recording of |Xam narratives. These were published in Afrikaans in four volumes as Boesmanstories (1919–1921). As a land surveyor, he traveled in what was then called Bushmanland and is today known as the Northern C...
Book
Full-text available
Karoo Cosmos has several authors prominent in the fields of archaeology, astronomy, folklore and education. Chapters in the book intercalate with stories of cosmological significance, told by 19th century /xam-speaking San and their descendants. The publication places this cosmic understanding in its historic and archaeological context, by recogni...
Article
Even though music is inextricably part of the social fabric of past and present societies, it has not received in-depth attention in the archaeological literature from South Africa. This topic received the most attention in rock art studies, where images are mainly discussed concerning the trance dance and musical bow playing. Here we focus on flut...
Article
In this paper I present the results of a fermentation experiment in which alcohol is produced by combining honey, water and moerwortel (Glia prolifera). The procedure and combination of ingredients follows an indigenous method, as was conveyed to the botanist Carl Thunberg by KhoeSan informants in the 18th century. Results of this experiment are co...
Chapter
INVESTIGATING the |xam language reveals a set of acoustic analogies which convey a rich and meaningful experience of sound. As a spoken language |xam is extinct, but it is possible to gain an approximation of the |xam-ka !au soundscape by listening into the words that stand on the page in place of the sounds. It proves to be a worthwhile endeavour...
Chapter
In this chapter, Neil Rusch draws on the archaeological record in support of a long-term chronology involving bees and cognitive development. A deep time perspective also accounts for the occurrence of bees in the ethnography, rock paintings and mythology of the region.
Preprint
Full-text available
This is an interim report on the regenerative bee project we have initiated in the Kai !Garib region, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The article is published in The International Journal for Bee-Centred Beekeeping, Vol.20, pgs. 23-29. Thanks to the editor John Phipps. A peer reviewed article describing the Agave Honeybee (LOG) Hive appears...
Preprint
Abstract: Even though music is inextricably part of the social fabric of past and present societies, it has not received in-depth attention in the archaeological literature from South Africa. This topic received the most attention in rock art studies, where images are mainly discussed concerning the trance dance and musical bow playing. Here we foc...
Presentation
Three ingredients exist inside any honeybee hive, wild or domesticated – yeast, beebread (transformed floral pollen) and honey (fructose and glucose). If combined with water these ingredients produce alcohol. Success depends on an accumulation of pharmacological knowledge, keen observation and an astute, flexible cognitive ability. Archaeological e...
Article
The archaeological record of the Upper and Epi Paleolithic has produced several objects with sound-producing potential of the aerophone type, interpreted as bullroarers. Recently a similar implement was identified in the Later Stone Age of the southern Cape, in the Matjes River Wilton layers. In this paper we present a depiction from the Cederberg...
Technical Report
Honey is the most likely catalyst that allowed controlled fermentation to commence at a very early date. The results of this study have been published in Southern Africa Humanities.
Technical Report
This report considers beekeeping practices in Africa and describes a novel form of beehive, which is compatible with traditional log hive methods of beekeeping in Africa, and elsewhere.
Article
Full-text available
Excavation of human remains in Green Point, South Africa ahead of building development raised controversy. My article appeared in the Afrikaans language newspaper Die Burger.
Article
Full-text available
This article appeared in Quest magazine, published by the Academy of Science of SA (ASSAf) and primarily distributed free to schools: https://questonline.org.za/ (new dedicated website)
Article
Introduction The Agave log hive appeals to bee activists and keepers who wish to return to more natural practices and forms of beekeeping. Among the attractions of this hive, both aesthetic and functional, are the organics of the logs and their typically distended, indeed pregnant shape that outwardly suggests the living organism inside (Figure 1)...
Presentation
The archaeological record does not retain sound. Strictly speaking it is silent on the lives and activities performed by the people who left it behind. However, lithophones (rock gongs) provide remnant clues of former sound-making activities. Lithophones are not common, in fact they are rare, but when they are found they are located on or near hill...
Article
Controlled fermentation and the first intentionally produced alcohol is an intriguing topic. Like trying to pin down the first controlled use of fire it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fire counts as one of the most, if not the most, significant possession in the Homo sapiens tool-kit. Fire brought cooking, reconfigured social behaviour...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report gives the results of our technical analysis of bone artefacts, excavated at archaeological sites in the southern Cape, South Africa. The purpose of the analysis was to establish if the artefacts were "pendants", or whether they were instruments for sound/music production. https://theconversation.com/how-our-african-ancestors-made-sound-...
Conference Paper
ABSTRACT In this presentation I give the results of a fermentation experiment (anaerobic and aerobic respiration) in which alcohol is produced by combining honey, water and ‘moerwortel’ (Glia prolifera). The procedure and combination of ingredients follows an indigenous method, as was conveyed to the botanist Carl Thunberg by KhoeSan informants in...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes possible sound-producing artefacts from two Later Stone Age deposits in the southern Cape, South Africa. Implements previously described as a 'wirra wirra' or 'pendant' from Klasies River main site (KRM), a 'woer woer' or 'bullroarer' and four 'pendants' from Matjes River (MR) are analysed and their sound producing qualities as...
Presentation
Wild and managed pollinators play a globally significant role in crop pollination. Crop yield and quality depend on the abundance and diversity of pollinators. Beyond food provisioning, pollinators contribute to biodiversity. They also exert influence on a wide range of human activity; both farming practices and cultural expression. This presentati...
Conference Paper
Sound does not survive in the archaeological record, although acoustics and sound are integral to the evolution and expressive capacity of our species. This presentation draws on work with ATEM (Archaeological TransfrontiEr Music), a research group that is studying acoustics and music in pre-history. Our presentation looks at the ethnographic and a...
Article
Full-text available
!kutten means “to sing” and !khau is “honey”; which they [the |Xam-speaking San Bushmen] explain by saying that – !khauu-ka-!kutten !’tten is “Honey Songs.” —Wilhelm Bleek
Article
ABSTRACT: Bees and honey were highly regarded by the |xam Bushmen. This article explores communication interference with reference to vibroacoustics and the |xam claim that they used the !goin !goin (bull roarer) to manipulate bees. Positioning their claim within the field of mimesis opens an investigation into aspects of control, possession, tami...
Book
Full-text available
Boesmanstories (Afrikaans edition): Gideon Retief von Wielligh (1859–1932) is bekend in letter- en volkskundige kringe vir sy optekening van |Xam vertellings, wat in Afrikaans gepubliseer is in vier volumes onder die titel Boesmanstories (1919–1921). As landmeter het hy ver deur die destydse Boesmanland gereis, nou bekend as die Noord-Kaap, in beso...
Article
This article considers the rhetorical figure chiasmus, or ring composition, as it appears in narratives told by ||kabbo. Chiasmus is contextualized against broader cosmological considerations in a close inter-textual reading that highlights chiasmus as a mnemonic device. It is the contention of this article that chiasmus is ‘embodied’ and finds par...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a summary review of archeoaucoustic research in the Karoo region of Southern Africa. Further it explains how the sound of rock gongs/lithophones came to be included in an artistic production called Olifantland, created by the Handspring Puppet Company famous for their internationally successful War Horse play but in this case...
Article
The light that is received from the Galilean satellites informs two cosmologies; the one, a Western motivated scientific story, and the other an inspired narrative specific to the /xam-speaking San people who inhabited the central Karoo, a place known to them as /xam-ka !au (dust of the /xam). The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio astronomy telesc...
Preprint
Full-text available
A shorter peer reviewed version of this paper (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02560046.2016.1263219) appears in Critical Arts 30(6), edited by Michael Wessels, which is the version of record for citation. Two anonymous reviewers gave valuable comment. Chris Low and Mathias Guenther provided feedback and encouragement and for this I thank them. An unabri...
Article
This paper questions preconceptions that situate the |xam in a Stone Age past where they can be objectified by a timeless gaze. From such appropriations and (miss)-representation the |xam emerge either as shamans or victims (Solomon 2014: 333; Moran 2009: 7) or as the quintessential proto-scientists (Jive Media 2015). We explore instead the express...
Article
This article and interview explores concepts of flesh and trinity in the playwriting of Athol Fugard, contextualized against the broad themes of pain, mortality, suffering, waiting and indeterminacy, and draws attention to an intellectual genealogy linking Heraclitus, Beckett, Fugard and Sophocles.
Article
Profane Illumination, an essay and interview with playwright Athol Fugard, appears in English in Africa Volume 41, No. 2, October, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v41i2.6
Article
Full-text available
Flight When Dusk Is Falling, article and interview with poet Don Maclennan by Neil Rusch. Appears in New Contrast # 161 - South African Literary Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, April, 2013.
Article
Result of research into the life and work of Jack Kerouac, Beat novelist and poet, this article appears in Parabola, Vol. 36. No. 1.
Article
Article presents /Xam San views of life after death, first published in Parabola, 2010, Vol. 35 No. 2. Full article and images also at Centre For Curating the Archive (CCA), University of Cape Town. http://www.cca.uct.ac.za/projects/my-heart-stands-in-the-hill-neil-rusch/
Book
Full-text available
The Karoo region of southern Africa is an ancient landform with characteristic rock strata, topography, vegetation and climate. A feature of this landscape are the many engraved images, sometimes called petroglyphs, which were made by pre-colonial hunter gatherers. This book illustrates the contexts and contents of this rock art, and the authors de...
Book
Full-text available
The vast spaces of the Karoo region of southern Africa abound with images pecked, incised or engraved onto rock surfaces. These landscape markings were created in the pre-colonial period by San hunter gatherers. San Rock Engravings explores the visual legacy of these ancient artists, the signs they left on the land and the meanings that could be at...
Article
This is an essay that I wrote as an undergraduate student of journalism. It was published in Speak, a literary journal that provided a dissident viewpoint during the apartheid period.

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
Sisal is one group of fibres extracted from the leaves of plants belonging to the agave family. Sisal biomass contains a high proportion of cellulose, and its pulp is a substitute for wood fibres in the paper industry. If left to its own devices the plant dies after flowering. The tall stem and bulbous base dry naturally. The resultant material, presumably a composite of cellulose and sisal fibre, is wood-like but according to Hutton (2016) the material is technically not wood. If not, what is it?
I have pioneered the use of the agave as the basis for constructing honeybee log hives (See added file, Fig. 3). Initial tests demonstrate good thermal capacity. See Fig. 4, originally published in Bee World.
Rusch, N. (2019). Agave Honey Bee Log Hive: A Response to Pollinator Stress and a Move towards Darwinian and Natural Methods of Beekeeping, Bee World, 97:1, 2-5. DOI: 10.1080/0005772X.2019.1681872
Question
I have referenced Dauvois and Bahn but would appreciate additional information about excavated examples, in particular their age and location.

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (5)
Project
In the spirit of engaged scholarship the aim of my endeavors has been to share with public and pupils the knowledge that I have gained in the academic domain of my research.
Project
Publication that is aimed at growing the interests in archaeology and heritage. Book design, production and print management. Karoo Cosmos: /xam-ka !au and the /xam (2021). ISBN: 978-0-620-64088-6 Cape Wild Foods: A Growers Guide. (2021). ISBN: 978-1-776-34439-0 Grave Encounters: Archaeology of the Burial Grounds, Green Point, South Africa (2017). ISBN: 978-0-620-71752-6 Bushman Stories (2017. English). ISBN: 978-0-620-75649-5 Boesmanstories (2017. Afrikaans). ISBN: 978-0-620-76789-7 First People - Ancestors of the San (2015, 2021) ISBN: 978-0-620-63997-2 Sonqua: Southern San History and Art After Contact (2015). ISBN: 978-0-620-67662-5 Cederberg Rock Paintings (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021) ISBN: 978-0-620-55666-8 Rock Shelter: Some cave and cliff structures in Lesotho and South Africa (2011, revised and reprinted 2012) ISBN: 978-0-620-52962-4 Karoo Rock Engravings (2008) ISBN: 979-0-62040649-9 Shorelines, Strandlopers and Shell Middens (2006, 2018) ISBN: 0-620-35232-9 The Mantis, the Eland and the Hunter (2002) ISBN: 0-620-29389-6 The Saint Helena Volcanoes: A guide to the geology (2010) ISBN: 978-0-620-47207-4 Napoleon's Exile On St Helena (2008) St Helena Island Endemic Fish (2005) ISBN: 0-620-34605-1 St Helena Island Birds (2005) ISBN: 0-620-34606-X St Helena Island Endemic Flora (2004) ISBN: 0-620-32825-8 St Helena Crop Pests & Diseases: An integrated pest management guide (2000) Educational resource material for Iziko Museum: Learner's Study Guide: San Rock Art. Grade 7 Social Sciences (2009) Educator's Guide: San Rock Art (2009) Educational resource material for CLLP: Learner's Guide, Social Sciences Grade 7. Assessment tasks, a case study of the recent human population of Clanwilliam.
Project
The project goals are two-fold: Paying particular attention to sound (vibration) the Karoo Soundscape project aims at bringing together research that engages with rural and small town Karoo communities in ways that are sensitive to indigenous identities. Secondly, sound does not survive in the archaeological record, strictly speaking, although acoustics and sound are integral to the evolution and expressive capacity of our species. The ATEM (Archaeological TransfrontiEr Music) work group are interested in acoustics and music in pre-history. Studying ethnographic and the archaeological records we hope to learn more about acoustics and early people.