Hilary Deacon

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Hilary Deacon
Born (1936-01-10)January 10, 1936
Died May 25, 2010(2010-05-25) (aged 74)
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fields Geology and Archaeology
Institutions University of Stellenbosch
Alma mater University of Cape Town
Spouse Janette Deacon
Not to be confused with Hilary the Deacon.

Hilary John Deacon (10 January 1936 – 25 May 2010)[1][2] was a South African archaeologist and academic. He was Professor of Archaeology at the University of Stellenbosch in Stellenbosch, South Africa. His research focused on the emergence of modern humans and African archaeology.[3] 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.

Early life and education[edit]

Deacon was born in Cape Town and did his undergraduate studies in Geology and Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1955.


He started his career as a field geologist working in East and West Africa, before being appointed as Archaeologist and Deputy Director of the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, from 1963 to 1971.[4] He then established the Department of Archaeology at the University of Stellenbosch, until his retirement. In 1967 he spent a year as a British Council Scholar at the University of London. He received his PhD from the University of Cape Town in 1974. He was a Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley (1986); a Visiting Fellow at Australian National University, Canberra (1984); and a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago (1978).

Deacon taught archaeology at the University of Stellenbosch and authored over a hundred publications in journals, books, monographs and conference proceedings.[2] He served on the Council of the University and also as Past-President of the South African Archaeological Society, the Southern African Association of Archaeologists, the South African Society for Quaternary Research, and member of the Board of Iziko Museums in Cape Town.

Family life[edit]

Deacon was married to Janette Deacon,[5] who also taught archaeology at the University of Stellenbosch.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In Memoriam: Prof. Hilary Deacon". Eikestadnuus (Stellenbosch). 28 May 2010. p. 7. Professor Hilary John Deacon died peacefully on 25 May at his home in Stellenbosch after a short battle with cancer. 
  2. ^ a b Klein, Richard G. (2010). "In Memoriam: Hilary John Deacon 1936–2010". South African Archaeological Bulletin 65 (191): 109–110. 
  3. ^ Deacon, H.J., Deacon, J. 1999. Human beginnings in South Africa: uncovering the secrets of the Stone Age. Altamira Press. ISBN 978-0-7619-9086-4
  4. ^ Schrire, Carmel (2010). "Hilary John Deacon: Archaeologist (1936–2010)". South African Journal of Science 106 (11): 2. doi:10.4102/sajs.v106i11/12.466. 
  5. ^ "Who’s Who of Southern Africa". 24.com. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 

External links[edit]