Letters of Invitation from the Congress President and the Academic Secretary

An invitation to South Africa in January 1999, from Dr MAMPHELA RAMPHELE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town, and Congress President
I am proud to welcome you to the University of Cape Town for the Fourth World Archaeological Congress. Africa has the longest archaeological record in the world, and a history and culture with widespread influence. Cape Town, at the junction of two oceans, brings together myriad influences from Africa, the East, Europe and the Americas. The Congress themes will explore world wide connections such as these; an appropriate focus for the turn of the millennium, and for a discipline that has within its scope so many previous millennia of human history.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele,
Congress President, and Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town.

An invitation to the fourth meeting of the World Archaeological Congress, from Professor MARTIN HALL, WAC4 Academic Secretary


We invite you to attend the fourth meeting of the World Archaeology Congress in Cape Town during the southern hemisphere summer of 1999.

WAC was inaugurated at its first congress in Southampton, in 1986, and last met in New Delhi in 1994. Its conferences and inter-congresses have continued to develop the global dimension of archaeology and the social role that archaeologists play as interpreters of the past. We expect more than a thousand delegates in Cape Town, and we are planning an exciting and stimulating programme that will do justice to the turn of the millennium.

It is singularly appropriate that WAC4 should be in South Africa, and at the University of Cape Town. The World Archaeology Congress was formed in opposition to apartheid, highlighting the relationship between the study of the past and the politics of the present (an issue that remains controversial, as the WAC meeting in India showed so well). South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 ended a long, bitter era and archaeologists here are now free to be part of a world community of scholarship. Much remains inequitable, but we are now able to tackle racism, poverty, ignorance and prejudice from within a legitimate society. It is testimony to the importance of archaeology in the reconstruction of our history and heritage that President Nelson Mandela has agreed to be Patron of WAC4.

We are honoured to have the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Mamphela Ramphele, as our President for WAC4. She is a physician and anthropologist who is also a leading activist and feminist scholar. The University of Cape Town, one of Africa’s oldest and most distinguished universities, has modern, well equipped lecture halls and meeting rooms, and can provide a fully-residential congress, offering WAC delegates the opportunity of informal interactions as well as organised symposia. In addition, we will have a diverse range of congress tours that encompass all major aspects of the archaeology of southern Africa.

We look forward to welcoming the archaeological world to WAC4 in 1999.

Professor Martin Hall
Academic Secretary,
and Professor of Historical Archaeology, University of Cape Town.