Project Description


Sehonghong is a rockshelter in the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, southern Africa. The landscape is rugged and remote, a vertical topography where dramatic river valleys slice deeply through southern Africa’s very highest peaks. For tens of thousands of years people used this broken landscape in diverse ways, from a year-round home to seasonal hunting and fishing grounds. The mountains were at different times no doubt a help and a hindrance, offering hiding places to ambush game, for example, or avoided altogether when the climate turned especially cold and dry. The changing roles the mountains played in the lives of the many generations who lived here are preserved in a variety of forms, including deep archaeological sequences in rockshelters, some of which are beautifully painted with San rock art. Sehonghong is one of the most impressive and historically significant such shelters in the whole of southern Africa. The goal of the 2017 field season is to continue excavating Sehonghong, and to conduct archaeological and geomorphological surveys in the surrounding area. Integrating these rockshelter and open-air archaeological and paleoenvironmental datasets will help us reconstruct early modern human strategies for coping with highland environments.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: May 7-Jun 11, 2017
  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED
  • Total Cost: $4,500
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 21, 2017
  • Instructors: Dr. Brian Stewart, Dr. Genevieve Dewar
  • Orientation:  TBA
Program Closed


The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Brian Stewart
Dr. Brian Stewart
Dr. Brian Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Curator at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Genevieve Dewar
Dr. Genevieve Dewar
Dr. Dewar is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.


This is a new IFR field school. There are no student testimonials available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Johannesburg – In Joburg, students will stay at ‘Melville International Backpackers’ ( situated in the safe and vibrant neighborhood of Melville. The Backpackers has an airport shuttle that will collect you directly from O.R. Tambo International Airport. The Backpackers is an approximately 30 minute drive from the airport. We will stay at the same venue on the night that we return to Joburg from the site (June 10).

Maseru – In Maseru (Lesotho’s capital), students will stay at ‘The Trading Post’, a historic bed and breakfast situated in the suburb of Roma, where Lesotho’s National University campus is also located.

Sehonghong – On site, where the majority of the field school will take place, we will be camping. You will be required to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, air mattress etc. You will receive an information package before we leave detailing the equipment for which you will be responsible.

We bring all food into the field. Water, which is pure and fresh, is brought down form the nearby village by local people whom we employ. This is a rugged mountain environment with very limited resources and no major supermarkets in the immediate area. We cook our own meals in the field. We take turns cooking and doing the washing up, allowing budding chefs an opportunity to wow us all. We eat very well with typical meals consisting of risotto, pasta, curry, chili and stew. As we do not have a fridge so most meals are vegetarian with the exception of tinned tuna and dried meat (jerky, known locally as biltong). We do, however, have the occasional barbeque on days we return from a larger town with fresh produce and meat (approximately twice per season). Those who enjoy milk in their coffee/tea will also be happy to know we do have long life milk in camp. We can accommodate vegetarians, people with lactose intolerance, or who require Halal or Kosher food.

Toilet and shower facilities are very basic but functional. Our toilets are frequently renewed, open-air (but secluded) long-drops. We wash using solar showers, which everyone is required to bring. There is enough water for everyone to wash at the end of every workday.

Lesotho, Sehonghong
Lesotho, Sehonghong

Travel Info

All students will be met at the Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB). Please arrive by May 7. Classes will begin at 9:00 am on May 8 and we shall meet at the foyer of ‘Melville International Backpackers’ (

We will spend three days in Johannesburg (May 8-10), leaving for Lesotho the morning of May 11. The night of May 11 we will spend in Maseru, Lesotho’s capital, arriving at Sehonghong the following day, May 12. At the conclusion of the field season, we will return to Joburg on the evening of June 10. Students may depart Joburg beginning the following day – June 11.

If your flight is delayed or you miss your connection, please call/text/email immediately to the project directors. The project local cell phone numbers will be provided to enrolled students.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.