A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE BAMBISANA RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT, CLOSE TO MKHONDO, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by Landscape Dynamics to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Bambisana Residential Development. This is close to the Mkhondo/Piet Retief in the Mpumalanga Province. The site is located south-west of the town on portion 44 and the Remainder of portion 39 of the farm Welverdiend 148 HT, adjacent to the north-west corner of the Ethandakukhanya Township.
The site is intersected by the R543 which links Piet Retief with Wakkerstroom and Volksrust. The project will consist of mainly residential 1, 2 and 3 opportunities.
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 and off-road vehicle.
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 one site of cultural heritage significance was identified. Mitigation measures are proposed. After the implementation of these, the proposed development may continue.
The following is recommended:
- A small grave yard 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. 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.
- The type of development makes it possible to keep the graves in situ. It is therefore recommended that it be included in the development planning and that Option 1 be implemented.
- The development may only continue after receiving the necessary comments from the BGG Unit of SAHRA 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. Due to the density of vegetation it also is possible that some sites may only become known later on. Operating controls and monitoring should therefore be 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.
It is also important to take cognizance that it is the client’s responsibility to do the submission of this report to the relevant Heritage Resources Agency. No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from them.