Ashton Sinamai

Ashton Sinamai


Former affiliation

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Personal profile

Research interests

I specialised in the archaeology of Early and  Late Farming Communities in Africa. I have however expanded my interest to Critical Heritage Studies mainly focusing on tangible/intangible heritage, traditional knowledge system in Africa and Australia, indeginous archaeologies, memory,  identity and representation. My focus is on how communities percieve cultural landscapes. I use narratives as metaphors that can be deployed in the creation of biographies for cultural landscapes. I also examine ways in which these biographies can be used in archaeological research.

Employment History

I have a BA Honours in Archaeology (University of Zimbabwe), an MA in Heritage Studies (University of the Western Cape, South Africa) and a PhD in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies from Deakin University, Australia. I have worked as an archaeologist/heritage inspector for the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (1994-2004) and as Chief Curator Archaeology for the National Museum of Namibia. I have also lectured in Cultural Heritage Studies at the Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) presented seminars for Masters Class in Cultural Heritage Studies at Deakin University. Between 1999 and 2009 I coordinated a number of conservation, management and training projects on behalf of ICCROM in Kenya, Botswana, Sudan, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Currently I am a Marie Curie Fellow with the Department of Archaeology, University of York.


Born 5 miles from Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, I developed an interest in archaeology quite early from stories and folklore told by my grandmother. My interest in pursuing Cultural Heritage Studies rose out of the need to reconcile 'history from the people' with emipirical data from the discipline of archaeology. My research therefore aims at understanding the cultural environment in which cultural landscapes are created. I de-emaphize materiality as the only point of entry into understanding people, their environments as well as the landscapes they shape out of that environment.


  • CC Archaeology
  • traditional knowledge systems
  • cultural landscapes
  • sacred landscapes
  • tangible/intangible heritage
  • ancient faith systems
  • materiality
  • cognitive mapping
  • collective memory