A REPORT ON AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR A PROPOSED VENTILATION SHAFT AT THE NEW DENMARK COLLIERY, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE
New Denmark Colliery has requested Archaetnos to conduct an Archaeological and Built Environment Heritage Impact Assessment. This is planned on Portion 6 of the farm Meyersvallei 354 IS. The project is located in the Lekwa Local Municipality and Gert Sibanda District Municipality, Mpumalanga Province. The nearest towns are Bethal and Standerton.
A survey of the available literature was undertaken to obtain background information regarding the area. This was followed by the field survey, which was conducted according to generally accepted AIA practices, aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of the proposed development.
One site of cultural heritage significance was identified. The following is recommended:
The following is recommended:
- The cultural significance of site no. 1 (cemetery) is High And the Field rating is Local Grade IIIB. The site 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 instance 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.
A proposed fencing of the cemetery is indicated in the development plan and accordingly Option 1 is recommended. The development is planned 70 m from the graves, which is regarded as an acceptable distance.
- The proposed development may continue after receiving comments from the relevant heritage authority and implementation of the mitigation measures indicated.
- It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artefacts is always a distinct possibility. Care should therefore be taken when development commences that if any of these are discovered, work on site immediate cease and a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate the occurrence.
In this regard the following ‘Chance find Procedure’ should be followed:
- Upon finding any archaeological or historical material all work at the affected area must cease.
· The area should be demarcated in order to prevent any further work there until an investigation has been completed.
· An archaeologist should be contacted immediately to provide advice on the matter.
- Should it be a minor issue, the archaeologist will decide on future action. Depending on the nature of the find, it may include a site visit.
- SAHRA’s APM Unit may also be notified.
· If needed the necessary permit will be applied for with SAHRA. This will be done in conjunction with the appointed archaeologist.
· The removal of such archaeological material will be done by the archaeologist in lieu of the approval given by SAHRA, including any conditions stipulated by the latter.
· Work on site will only continue after the archaeologist/ SAHRA has agreed to such a matter.
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.
Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH