Digging Through Darkness: Chronicles of an Archaeologist by Carmel Schrire
Wits University Press (1995)
Soft Cover, 276 pages
This chronicle links the personal history of Carmel Schire, the daughter of a Jewish household in Cape Town, to her experiences as an archaeologist. Schire provides a mirror on pre-colonial and colonial society as it can be deciphered in archaeological remains. She provides intimate and personal histories of the lives which are concealed in these remains and the drama of the interface of these lives with the colonial powers. Schrire shows how fragments found on a dig can unravel a lost history, revealing the complex interweaving of gender, race and exploitation in the colonial experience. The book consists of a series of chronicles of colonial contact. Each begins with a different tale, told from a fresh point of view: an account of the author's childhood; the excavation and story of the massacre at Oudepost; the grisly colonial interest in collecting body parts; excavation in Australia; and the Bushmen of South Africa.