S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Bazley, Mr William (archaeology)

Born: 1843, Place not known.
Died: 1908, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

William Bazley resided in Natal Colony (now KwaZulu-Natal) from 1883 or earlier. By 1894 he lived in Port Shepstone and was employed in the Public Works Department. He retired on 1 January 1904 as superintendent of roads in Alfred County (the southern part of the Colony). However, he continued to construct roads for a few years, with financial support from the government. In 1907 he had moved to Pietermaritzburg, where he died the next year. He was survived by his wife Margrethe, born Marthinson.

Bazley excavated a cave in Alfred County (southern Kwazulu-Natal) and published a brief report in the journal Man, (1905, Vol. 5, pp. 10-11). The excavation yielded numerous stone artefacts, well-preserved faunal remains, and three human skeletons. Over 200 artefacts were given to Sir Charles Read, then Keeper of the British Museum's Department of British and Medieval Antiquities and Ethnography, and have been in the Museum's Christy Collection ever since. However, Bazley has been strongly criticised for failing to specify the location of the cave, and conducting a destructive and poorly documented excavation of an important site.

List of sources:
Goodwin, A.J.H. A commentary upon South African prehistory ... Bantu Studies, 1935, Vol. 9, pp. 291-333; bibliography pp. 387-413.

Maguire, R. A History of Middle and Late Stone Age research in the Kwazulu-Natal coastal area from 1871 to the beginning of the second World War. In J.A. van Schalkwyk (Ed.), Studies in honour of J.F. Eloff. Research by the National Cultural History Museum, Vol. 6, 1997, pp. 43-58.

Mitchell, P.J. The South African Stone Age in the collections of the British Museum: Content, history and significance. South African Archaeological Bulletin, 1998, Vol. 53, pp. 26-36.

Natal civil service list 1906 (p. 92, Pension list). Pietermaritzburg: Government Printer, 1906.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to William Bazley / W. Bazley.

Compiled by: C. Plug