John Hewitt (herpetologist)

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John Hewitt
John Hewitt00.jpg
Born (1880-12-23)23 December 1880
Sheffield, England
Died 4 August 1961(1961-08-04) (aged 80)
Grahamstown, South Africa
Citizenship British
Fields zoologist and archaeologist
Institutions Albany Museum
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Known for herpetological
Spouse Florence E. Palmer

John Hewitt (23 December 1880 – 4 August 1961) was a South African zoologist and archaeologist of British origin. He was born in Dronfield nearby Sheffield, England, and died in Grahamstown, South Africa. He was the author of several herpetological papers which described new species.

He graduated with a first-class in natural sciences from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1903.[1] From 1905 to 1908 he was Curator of the Sarawak Museum in Kuching, Sarawak.

In 1909 he went to South Africa to work as an assistant curator at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria. In 1910 he was appointed Director of the Albany Museum in Grahamstown, eventually retiring in 1958.[2] His daughter, Florence Ellen Hewitt (1910–1979), was a teacher and phycologist.[3] He was a founder member of the South African Museums Association and following his retirement as director the new wing of the Albany Museum in 1958 was named after him.[4] He was succeeded as archaeologist at the Albany Museum by Hilary Deacon.

Archaeological work[edit]

Hewitt began investigations into Stone age artifacts[5] in the Grahamstown area of the Eastern Cape, here in collaboration with C. W. Wilmot he excavated a cave on the farm Wilton, described the culture that has ever since been known as Wilton culture.[6]

With the Reverend A. P. Stapleton he gave the first account of the Howiesons Poort culture.[7][8]



Hewitt is honored in the specific name of a species of South African lizard, Goggia hewitti.[9]



  1. ^ "Hewitt, John (HWT899J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Gunn, M. & Codd, L. E. 1981. Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa: An Illustrated History of early botanical literature on the Cape Flora. A.A. Balkema: Cape Town. p188. ISBN 0-86961-129-1
  4. ^ a b c d Anonymous (1961). Obituary: Dr. John Hewitt. South African Archaeological Bulletin, 16: (64)p. 121 JSTOR 3887297
  5. ^ "Hewitt, Dr John (zoology, archaeology)". S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Hewitt J. (1921). On several implements and ornaments from Strandloper sites in the Eastern Province. S. Afr. J. Sci. 18: 454-467
  7. ^ Stapleton P, Hewitt J. (1927). Stone implements from a Rock-Shelter at Howieson’s Poort near Grahamstown. S. Afr. J. Sci. 24: 574-587.
  8. ^ Stapleton P, Hewitt J, (1928). Stone implements from a Howieson’s Poort, near Grahamstown. S. Afr. J. Sci. 25: 399-409.
  9. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Hewitt", p. 123).

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