Posting of CNRS Researcher Guillaume Porraz at the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)
We are proud to welcome CNRS Researcher Guillaume Porraz (CR2 – UMR 7041, ArScAn-AnTET)) who has been posted at the French Institute of South Africa for the next two year. With this posting, Guillaume intends to lead an ambitious archaeological project that will bring even closer the already promising scientific collaboration between France and South Africa.
The South African archaeological heritage has become the subject of much attention these past years, particularly as regards finding answers to the issues of human society evolutions over very long periods of time. South African academic institutions, especially after the democratic transition of the mid-1990s, have been highly involved and successful in these major scientific sites which have been attracting researchers from around the world. Guillaume’s research project is at the very core of these issues: examining the technical and cultural transformations at work during the MSA, i.e. between 200 000 and 50 000 years ago. This project has been developing since 2006 with Guillaume entertaining privileged relations with major South African archaeologists from the Universities of Cape Town (Department of Archaeology) and the Witwatersrand (Institute for Human Evolution). He has been relying on excavations carried out in the Western Cape and wishes to compare these with excavations in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
Within this framework, Guillaume’s posting in Johannesburg is a real opportunity for the French Institute of South Africa, in that it will give yet another dimension to the scientific expertise of the Institute, as was the case in the past with the successive postings of François-Xavier Fauvelle-Aymar (2003-2006) and Jean-Loïc Le Quellec (2006-2009). The quality of Guillaume’s research and publications are affording him established recognition from our partners and could only reinforce our links with the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town – our main scientific interlocutors. More than anyone, he will be in a position to help supervising young researchers in Archaeology, whether from French or South African universities. Furthermore, thanks to his posting, Guillaume will also contribute to ensuring the presence of many French academics during all the major scientific events already programmed in the coming years. Finally, Guillaume’s scientific project carries a regional dimension of which we are very appreciative: through the prospection work he intends to conduct in Southern Africa in the coming years, he will not only initiate new archaeological excavations, but also create new institutional partnerships.