Will Archer obtained Bachelors and Honours Degrees from the University of Cape Town, in addition to Masters degrees in both Environmental Law and Archaeology from the same institution. Will pursued a PhD in archaeological science, awarded by Leiden University (Holland) in 2016, and then undertook post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. In 2020, Will moves on to take up the position of Head of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the National Museum, Bloemfontein. Will’s interests are in quantitative approaches to generating high-quality datasets through the study of stone artefacts, and through excavations of new promising archaeological sites with the best recovery methods, and he has published relatively widely in some of the leading journals in the fields of archaeology and human evolution.
Will has conducted fieldwork in six sub-Saharan African countries, working in archaeological contexts ranging in age from the Plio-Pleistocene through to the Holocene. He directs two projects in South Africa, and has held leadership roles in projects in Mozambique, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Some highlights of this field work include (1) the earliest evidence for Homo sapiens occupation of a tropical rainforest at Panga ya Saidi, Kenya, (2) the earliest hominin flaked stone industry at Bakal-Dura 1, Ethiopia and (3) the earliest evidence for hominin aquatic resource use in East Turkana, Kenya. Will’s current research focuses on early human cultural evolution and social networking on the southern African west coast.