Archaetnos cc was requested by Geovicon to conduct an archaeological impact assessment (AIA) for the proposed Bankfontein Colliery. This is situated on the farm Bankfontein 215 IS, close to Carolina in the Mpumalanga Province.


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.


Two sites were identified. The following is recommended:


  • Both sites (graves), has a rating of high cultural significance. It should be included in the heritage register and 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 activities of the mine.


  • 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 mining 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. This procedure is quite lengthy and involves social consultation.


  • Both sites fall outside the area of direct impact. Therefore option 1 is recommended. However the mine needs to ensure that impact is limited.


  • It needs to be stated that the history surrounding Burger Nel, makes that site (no. 1) an important site and it does lie very close to areas to be developed. It needs to be ensured that there is no impact.


  • This report needs to be submitted to the relevant heritage authority for comments. Only after receiving these and implementation of the mitigation measures recommended, the proposed development may continue.


  • It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. 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.


It is also important to take cognizance that it is the client’s responsibility to do the submission of this report via the SAHRIS System on the SAHRA website. No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from SAHRA.

Report by

Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH