Archaetnos cc was requested by Geovicon Environmental (Pty) Ltd to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for a proposed mining application on portions 12 and 13 of the farm Aangewysd 81 IS. This is located south-east of the town of Kriel in the Mpumalanga Province.

Project description:

The development consists of open cast mining areas as well as related infrastructure. The latter includes stockpiles, offices and pollution control dams. The client indicated the areas to be surveyed and the survey was confined to these.  It was done via foot and via 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 to facilitate the identification of each locality.


During the survey one site of cultural heritage significance was identified. This is a single grave.


  • One site of cultural heritage importance was identified, although this site, a single grave, is younger than 60 years.


  • Graves are always important and should be handled with the necessary respect. For this, two possibilities exist. The first option would be to fence the grave 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 development.
  • 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.  This procedure is quite lengthy and involves social consultation.

·         The grave is outside of the area of direct impact. However, there always is a secondary impact due to adjacent mining activities and issues with accessibility to the site for descendants. Therefore Option 1 is recommended.

·         Since it is already fenced in the fence can remain. A site preservation management plan should be written and a buffer of at least 20 m is proposed.  Access to descendants also should be allowed.


  • After implementation of the recommendations, 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. Due to the density of vegetation it also is possible that some sites may only become known later. 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.

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