DIG IN: Andrew van der Heever shows a student how to excavate. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

DIG IN: Andrew van der Heever shows Wits Vuvuzela journalist Liesl Frankson how to excavate an archeological site. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Ever dreamt of being Indiana Jones?

 As part of National Science Week, The Wits Origins Centre offers children and students the chance to be an archaeologist for a day as part of their “Discovering the Past” exhibition.

ROCK ON: Andrew van der Heever   . Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

ROCK ON: Van der Heever  explains the process involved in finding objects. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Kids and adults of all ages have the chance to spend time at “The Dig” in the South African Rock Museum where they can dig through different layers of earth to uncover different, but genuine artefacts in the simulated digs. More than 150 people  have already visited the centre since the exhibition opened on Saturday. During the course of National Science Week visitors can also tour the museum for free.
Andrew van der Heever, MA in Archaeology, and collection manager of about one million artifacts in the museum,  guides school pupils and students to dig, stop, map and screen their archaeological finds.
According to van der Heever, archaeologists cannot just take the objects out of the dig before mapping it. “Context is the most important, how the artifact formed how it fell into place. the environment also gives context,” he said.
One of the aims of the project is to attract children and students of all ages. Van der Heever said not many people know about archaeology, as it is not taught in schools. “The idea is to get youngsters involved. If you get more people into archaeology, you can get more funding.”
Although sciences such as Engineering, Biology and Physics receive the bulk of funding and interest, the Archaeology third years are very passionate about the profession.
Archaeology forms part of van der Heever’s love of history. Monica Gumede, 3rd year Archaeology, fell in love with archaeology after she met the archaeological legends at Wits such as David Lewis-Williams, went to the veld schools and got first hand experience of archaeology and digs. Now she has never been as passionate about anything else.