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Wilmsen, Edwin Norman

Grant Type: 
Engaged Anthropology Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Edinburgh, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
March 2, 2015
Project Title: 
Wilmsen, Dr. Edwin, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - To aid engaged activities on 'Reciprocal Relations: Expanding the Benefits of Research in the Study Area,' 2015, Botswana

DR. EDWIN WILMSEN, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, received funding in March 2015 to aid engaged activities on 'Reciprocal Relations: Expanding the Benefits of Research in the Study Area, Botswana.' Initial discussions/seminars with Botswana National Museum and University of Botswana personnel focused on concerns about the relevance of ethnography for interpreting archaeological data and on new legislation regarding access to clay resources. It is unclear if this applies to small-scale operators such as potters whose access to clays could be in jeopardy; urgent steps must be taken to clarify the matter. Another concern was an increasing tendency for potters to adopt mechanical rather than traditional modes of potting, the fear being that a significant facet of Tswana heritage will be lost. A workshop (including the screening of the grantee's film on Pilikwe potters) addressed traditional and contemporary constraints on resource procurement as aspects of land tenure, the technical steps taken by the potters in transforming raw material into clay, and analytic procedures used to identify clays and how such data aid in identifying prehistoric social interactions. Visits to Pilikwe and Manaledi potters revealed substantial changes taking place in Pilikwe-which is being absorbed into a labor catchment area where potters 'don't want to stay 'traditional,' we want production'-while in Manaledi traditional potting is thriving, this difference largely a matter of geographical location. Both potters need market exposure and we will investigate ways to accomplish this.