John Hewitt (herpetologist)

John Hewitt (23 December 1880 – 4 August 1961) was a South African zoologist and archaeologist of British origin. He was born in Dronfield, Derbyshire, England, and died in Grahamstown, South Africa.[1] He was the author of several herpetological papers which described new species. He also described new species of spiders and other arachnids.[2]

John Hewitt
John Hewitt00.jpg
Born(1880-12-23)23 December 1880
Died4 August 1961(1961-08-04) (aged 80)
Grahamstown, South Africa
Alma materJesus College, Cambridge
Known forherpetological research
Spouse(s)Florence E. Palmer
Scientific career
Fieldszoologist and archaeologist
InstitutionsAlbany Museum


He graduated with a first-class in natural sciences from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1903.[3] 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.[4] His daughter, Florence Ellen Hewitt (1910–1979), was a teacher and phycologist.[5] 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.[6] He was succeeded as archaeologist at the Albany Museum by Hilary Deacon.

Archaeological workEdit

Hewitt began investigating into Stone age sites[7] in the Grahamstown area of the Eastern Cape; there in collaboration with C. W. Wilmot he excavated a cave on the farm Wilton, and described the culture that has ever since been known as Wilton culture.[8]

With the Reverend A. P. Stapleton he gave the first account of the Howiesons Poort culture.[9][10]



Hewitt is honored in the specific name of a species of Bornean beetle, Cicindela hewittii[11] and of South African lizard, Goggia hewitti.[12]



  1. ^ Plug, C. "S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science".
  2. ^ Hewitt, J. (1923). "On certain South African Arachnida, with descriptions of three new species". Annals of the Natal Museum. 5: 55–66.
  3. ^ "Hewitt, John (HWT899J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Deacon HJ, Deacon J (1999). Human Beginnings in South Africa: Uncovering the Secrets of the Stone Age. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. viii + 215 pp. ISBN 978-0-7619-9086-4
  5. ^ Gunn M, Codd LE (1981). Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa: An illustrated history of early botanical literature on the Cape flora .... Cape Town: A.A. Balkema. xii + 401 pp. ISBN 0-86961-129-1 ("Hewitt, Florence Ellen", p. 188).
  6. ^ a b c d Anonymous (1961). "Obituary: Dr. John Hewitt". South African Archaeological Bulletin 16 (64): 121. JSTOR 3887297
  7. ^ "Hewitt, Dr John (zoology, archaeology)". S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  8. ^ Hewitt J (1921). "On several implements and ornaments from Strandloper sites in the Eastern Province". South African J. Sci. 18: 454-467
  9. ^ Stapleton P, Hewitt J (1927). "Stone implements from a rock-shelter at Howieson’s Poort near Grahamstown". South African J. Sci. 24: 574-587.
  10. ^ Stapleton P, Hewitt J (1928). "Stone implements from a rock-shelter at Howieson’s Poort, near Grahamstown". South African J. Sci. 25: 399-409.
  11. ^ Horn,W (1908) Two new Species of Cicindela (Tiger Beetles) from Borneo JSBRAS,pp.99-102
  12. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (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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