A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE NORTHWEST GATEWAY PROJECT, ON THE FARM HARTEBEESTFONTEIN 445 JQ, NORTH-WEST PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by Landscape Dynamics to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Northwest Gateway Project. This is on the remainder of portion 151, and portions 221, 233, 234, 235, 236 and 237 of the farm Hartebeestfontein 445 JQ, in the North-West Province. The site is located towards the west of Pretoria and the south of Brits.
The development consists of a mixed development, including residential units, a hotel, hospital and retail area. The HIA study forms part of an Environmental Authorisation. The client indicated the areas to be surveyed and the survey was confined to these. It was done via foot.
The methodology for the study includes a survey of literature and a field survey. The latter was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices and was aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.
If required, the location/position of any site was determined by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS), while photographs were also taken where needed. The survey was undertaken by doing a physical survey via off-road vehicle and on foot and covered as much as possible of the area to be studied. Certain factors, such as accessibility, density of vegetation, etc. may however influence the coverage.
All sites, objects, features and structures identified were documented according to the general minimum standards accepted by the archaeological profession. Co-ordinates of individual localities were determined by means of the Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.
During the survey eight sites and one site feature of cultural heritage significance were identified. Mitigation measures are proposed. After the implementation of these, the proposed development may continue.
The following is recommended:
- A small grave yard (site no. 2) was identified, and graves are always regarded as having a high cultural significance. The field rating thereof is Local Grade III B. It should be included in the heritage register but may be mitigated.
- Two possibilities exist. The first option would be to fence the graves in and have a management plan drafted for the sustainable preservation thereof. This should be written by a heritage expert. This usually is done when the graves are in no danger of being damaged, but where there will be a secondary impact due to the development activities.
- The second option is to exhume the mortal remains and then to have it relocated. This usually is done when the graves are in the area to be directly affected by the development activities. For this a specific procedure should be followed which includes social consultation. For graves younger than 60 years, only an undertaker is needed. For those older than 60 years and unknown graves an undertaker and archaeologist is needed. Permits should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA.
- It is necessary that once the vegetation is cleared, the number of graves must be verified by a qualified archaeologist. The proposed cemetery erf size should be enlarged if necessary, to include all graves with an appropriate buffer.
- The type of development makes it possible to keep the graves in situ. The developer indicated that they will zone an area of 225 m2 around the graves as a cemetery site (for existing graves only) and that it will be fenced in. It is therefore recommended that it be included in the development planning and that Option 1 be implemented. This means that a management plan for the sustainable utilisation and preservation of the site needs to be drafted.
- These remains of three stone and clay houses (Sites 1, 3 and 4) are those of workers dwellings. These are regarded as having a field rating of Local Grade IIIB. The sites should be included in the heritage register and may be mitigated (high/ medium significance). Mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage
- This means that the sites may be demolished, but only after it had been documented. This documentation includes doing test excavations and drawing a site map. Since there are three of these structures, it would be sufficient to mitigate only one. It is suggested that no. 1 be mitigated due to its close association with the graves.
- Sites no. 5, 6 and 7 are the remains of large temporary storage buildings. These sites are regarded as having a field rating of Local Grade IIIC. The description in the phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording (low significance) and it may be granted destruction at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorisation.
- The farm yard (Site 8) is regarded as having a field rating of Local Grade IIIC. The description in the phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording (low significance) and it may be granted destruction at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorisation.
- The heritage feature (aquaduct) is regarded as having a field rating of Local Grade IIIB. It should be included in the heritage register and may be mitigated. Mitigation is subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage In this particular case it could be used as part of the stormwater management plan of the township.
- The development may only continue after receiving the necessary comments from the BGG Unit of SAHRA and the North-West Provincial Heritage Resources Authority and implementing their decision.
- It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. It may only become known later on. Therefore, operating controls and monitoring should be introduced, aimed at the possible unearthing of such features. Care should therefore be taken when development commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate the occurrence.