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Human beginnings in South Africa

H J Deacon

1936 - 2010

Hilary Deacon

Author of publications on African archaeology

Head of the Archaeology Department at Stellenbosch University
from 1971 until his retirement in 2000

Hilary John Deacon was born on 10 January 1936 in Cape Town.
He attended school in Cape Town, studied Archaeology at the University of Cape Town (PhD 1974) and was a British Council Scholar at London University.
Hilary Deacon started his career as a field geologist in East Africa and was later appointed Archaeologist and Deputy Director of the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, from 1963-1971.
From 1971 he was head of the Archaeology Department at Stellenbosch University and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra (1984), a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago (1978), and a Visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986.
Hilary Deacon He served on the Council and was a Past-President of the South African Archaeological Society, the Southern African Association of Archaeologists, the SA Society for Quaternary Research, and a member of the Board of Iziko Museums in Cape Town.
His research focused on the emergence of modern humans and African archaeology. Since 1984 he was principal researcher at the Klasies River Caves, one of the oldest known sites of anatomically modern humans who lived there circa 125,000 years ago.
H J Deacon was married to the archaeologist Janette Deacon and they had three children: - Andrew, Harriet, and Melissa.
Hilary Deacon died on 25 May 2010 in Stellenbosch.


Some 100 publications in journals, books, monographs and conference proceedings.

Human beginnings in South Africa (with Jeanette Deacon), David Philip, 1999
Understanding HIV/AIDS Stigma - A Theoretical and Methodological Analysis (with I. Stephney and Sandra Prosalendis, Hsrc Press, 2006

Book contributions:
The origins of modern people - the evidence from Klasies River (with Schuurman, R). In: Continuity or replacement: controversies in Homo sapiens evolution. ((eds Brauer, G. & Smith, F. H.) , Rotterdam, Balkema, 1992
Peopling of fynbos. In: The ecology of fynbos: nutrients, fire and diversity (ed Cowling, R. M.), Oxford University Press, 1992
Selective regime and time (with Jury, M. & Ellis, F). In: The ecology of fynbos, nutrients, fire and diversity (ed Cowling, R. M.), Oxford University Press, 1992
Historical background of invasions in the southern African Mediterranean region. In:Biogeography of Mediterranean invasions (eds Groves, R. H.& Di Castri, F.) Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991

Text by H. J. Deacon

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