Tammy Hodgskiss

Tammy Hodgskiss
University of the Witwatersrand | wits · Origins Centre - School of Geography Archaeology and and Environmental Studies

PhD

About

26
Publications
6,165
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Citations
Introduction
Tammy is the Curator at the Origins Centre museum, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is an archaeologist and received her PhD in 2013 from Wits. She researches ochre use in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa, using use-trace analytical methods and experimental analogies/ understanding, as well looking at cognitive capabilities of early modern humans. She oversees the public programs and permanent and temporary exhibits at Origins Centre.
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
University of the Witwatersrand
Position
  • Curator
March 2016 - December 2016
University of the Witwatersrand
Position
  • PostDoc Position
March 2016 - November 2017
University of the Witwatersrand
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (26)
Presentation
Full-text available
The Leswika Geodatabase: A rock and colouring materials ‘library’ in southern Africa Presentation at SAFA 26th August 2021. Oxford
Article
Full-text available
Olieboomspoort is one of the few rock shelters in the vast interior of southern Africa documenting pulses of occupation from the Acheulean until the end of the Later Stone Age. Revil Mason excavated the site in 1954 and attributed the large Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithic assemblage to his middle phase of the so-called Pietersburg Industry. Recent wo...
Presentation
Full-text available
Origins Centre museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, was opened in 2006. Origins Centre has always had a wide array of lectures, movie-screenings, and interactive displays in addition to the museum experience itself. The museum deals with living cultures as well as the archaeological record and traditional histories. We are aware that understanding...
Article
Full-text available
Ostrich eggshell and gastropod shell beads provide important evidence for understanding how past peoples decorated and cultured their bodies and may also be used as proxy evidence for interpreting the nature and extent of past social networks. This study focuses on the ostrich eggshell and gastropod shell bead assemblages from the terminal Pleistoc...
Chapter
Full-text available
The term “ochre” has many meanings: a colored stone, a pigment, sunscreen, a curiosity item, a mustard hue, or even an object used for ritual. Ochre found at archaeological sites is described as a range of earthy, ferruginous rocks with red–yellow–purple streaks. The use of ochre in the past has proven valuable for interpreting not only cognitive c...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we present a revised stratigraphy and results of preliminary analyses of the archaeological material from Mwulu’s Cave. This arises from two excavation campaigns conducted in 2017, 71 years after the site was initially investigated by P.V. Tobias. This cave, located in Limpopo Province (South Africa), preserves one of the few known M...
Poster
Full-text available
A brief overview of my Hons research on MSA (MIS 5) ochre excavated from Klasies River Cave 1.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
From c.100 000 years ago, ochre pieces were habitually collected and used at Middle Stone Age sites in southern Africa. This earthy iron-rich rock has been continually used since then and still has many applications today, such as pigment, sunscreen or body paint for ritual purposes. Although a range of colours were collected in the past, bright re...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Late Pleistocene is a time of significant behavioural developments, with important cognitive implications for Homo sapiens. Rose Cottage Cave is an inland archaeological site that contains Middle Stone Age (MSA) and later Stone Age material covering the Late Pleistocene and Holocene periods. The long MSA sequence, dated from ~96 000 to ~30 000...
Chapter
Many Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites such as Rose Cottage and Sibudu Caves yield large quantities of ochre pieces (9000 pieces from Sibudu alone). Physico-chemical characterisation is required to add value to the prior studies of ochre use traces. This project involves a non-destructive and multi-analytical approach (including Raman spectroscopy, Four...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Palaeoenvironments possibly had a significant effect on social behaviour in the Late Pleistocene, influencing subsistence strategies and population density, and could have allowed or restricted access to raw materials. This study explores ochre collection and use at Blombos and Klipdrift in relation to environmental fluctuations. The two sites are...
Article
Full-text available
We describe colour, hardness, grain size, geological type and surface modifications of ochre pieces excavated, first by Malan and later by Harper, from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) of Rose Cottage Cave, 96, 000 to 30, 000 years ago. Soft, bright-red shales are abundant, and most ochre has clayey or silty grain sizes. The post-Howiesons Poort layers c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ochre pieces found at Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Middle Palaeolithic sites show a range of colours, use-traces and applications. Ochre assemblages provide a way to explore some of the behavioural and cognitive changes that took place during the Late Pleistocene – a time of significant behavioural developments, and important cognitive implications f...
Presentation
Full-text available
Rose Cottage and Sibudu Caves yielded a large quantity of ochre pieces and traces. Some attributes of the ochre have already been studied purely from a visual point of view. Visual comparisons have been made between sites to understand use of ochre during Middle Stone Age occupation in South Africa, but physico-chemical evidences are needed to comp...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Rose Cottage Cave has a long and significant Middle Stone Age (MSA) sequence that was excavated by numerous archaeologists. The ochre collections have been studied in varying detail and there are some discrepancies in reports, making comparisons with other MSA sites problematic. Here I report on the ochre assemblages excavated by Berry Malan and Ph...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ochre pieces are a common find at Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites. The collection and use of ochre is often attributed to enhanced mental abilities and symbolism. This is due to the preferential use of bright red, shiny ochre, engraved designs found on ochre pieces and the range of use-traces and applications. Rose Cottage Cave and Sibudu contain two...
Article
Full-text available
Ochre is found at many Middle Stone Age sites and its use is often associated with enhanced mental abilities and symbolism, but the links between the visible uses of ochre and cognition have not been clearly defined. By establishing the technology and processes involved in using ochre, one can determine the skill, knowledge and cognitive abilities...
Article
Many Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites have evidence of the regular collection and use of ochre. Sibudu (KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa) has a large MSA ochre assemblage of over 9000 pieces from layers dating between ~77 ka and ~38 ka. There are 682 pieces with signs of use. All usetraces were examined and activity categories were defined based on publish...
Article
Full-text available
Many Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites have evidence of the regular collection and use of ochre. Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) has a large MSA ochre assemblage of over 9000 pieces from layers dating between ~77 ka and ~38 ka. There are 682 pieces with signs of use. All usetraces were examined and activity categories were defined based on publishe...
Article
Full-text available
The properties of ochre from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) layers of Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, are described here. The assemblage comprises 5449 pieces (>8 mm), including 682 pieces with markings from use. Shale is the most common geological form. Ochre of medium hardness is common and the grain sizes are generally silty or clayey. Some cha...
Article
Ochre pieces were used experimentally for a variety of grinding, scoring and rubbing activities to record and compare the use-wear markings that each activity creates on the ochre piece. Ochre that is ground on coarse or fine-grained slabs develops parallel striations that cover the surface of the piece. The striations have unfrayed ends. Grinding...
Article
Full-text available
Compound adhesives made from red ochre mixed with plant gum were used in the Middle Stone Age (MSA), South Africa. Replications reported here suggest that early artisans did not merely color their glues red; they deliberately effected physical transformations involving chemical changes from acidic to less acidic pH, dehydration of the adhesive near...

Projects

Projects (8)
Project
We present a new library for rocks and colouring material for archaeological and geosciences research and training in Southern Africa.
Project
Understanding the variability of the Pietersburg Industries: a comparative analysis of Middle Stone Age sites from different South African biomes
Project
This project aims to help archaeologists understand the behaviour of people in Middle Stone Age (MSA) occupations of sites in South Africa by applying analytical chemistry to archaeological artefacts and their contexts. The analytical techiques involve a non-destructive and multi-analytical approach by using Raman micro-spectroscopy, Infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence. The material analysed in this project consists of stone tools such as utilised and unutislised ochre pieces, pointed lithic assemblage and grindstones; but also resins and sediments excavated from Sibudu, Rose Cottage and Border Cave.