A REPORT ON THE ASSESSMENT OF STONE AGE SITES AT THE BLACK ROCK MINING OPERATIONS, NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was appointed by EScience Associates (Pty) Ltd to compile a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the old mine workings at the Black Rock Mining Operations (BMRO). The plan is to be utilised as part of the motivation for the site to be declared as a heritage site. During a field visit for this purpose some Stone Age sites identified during previous heritage studies in the area were also visited.
BRMO is situated in the Northern Cape Province approximately 80 km north-west of the town of Kuruman and 12 kilometres north-west of Hotazel. BRMO falls within the jurisdiction of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.
The Terms of Reference for the study were as follows:
- Assessing the Stone Age sites
- Determining the extent of the sites
- Establishing the artefact densities of the sites
- Determining the cultural significance of the sites
- Making recommendations for the mitigation/ preservation of the sites
Fifteen sites were assessed. The re-assessment of the sites resulted in it being renumbered. Only 9 sites remain. Each site also received a cultural significance rating.
The following is recommended:
- Due to the danger of encroaching soil on Site no. 1 it should be mitigated. This should merely consist of the collection of stone tools from the site.
- These may be utilised in a display at the mine as well as for training purpose to sensitize employees of the importance of these . Such a display should be properly interpreted.
- None of the other sites are in danger and should therefore be left as it is. Should this situation change, mitigation would at least be needed on Site
- No development should however be allowed within a zone of 100 m on both sides of the Gamagara River.
- It may be considered to also collect stone tools on some of the other sites, perhaps as part of a training exercise.
- It should be remembered that due to archaeological sites being subterranean in essence, it is possible that all more sites/ stone tools may be identified in future. Care should therefore be taken when development work commences that, if any more artifacts are uncovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate.
- Proposed management measures for potential impacts, which should be followed as heritage protocol and Chance Find Procedure foe this is :
- A training course could be conducted to sensitize employees and to convey to them basic knowledge of the Stone Age.
- This could be coupled with a display of stone tools from the site, properly interpreted.
- Loose stone tools found are usually of minor significance and should just be left as it is.
- Areas where a substantial number of stone tools are found together should be geo-referenced and left alone until such time as an archaeologist can visit the site to determine its significance.
- Should any of the above be identified, the area should be demarcated to ensure no impact until further investigation has been done.
Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)
Accredited member of ASAPA
Accredited member of SASCH