A historical archaeological investigation of the Albasini ruins, Kruger National Park, for the South African National Parks


Archaetnos was requested by the Kruger National Park to assist with the planning of a new site museum at the Albasini historical archaeological site, situated close to the Phabeni gate in the Park. A site assessment was done in June 2002 and it was decided that the site should first be excavated in order to obtain updated information for use in the museum.

Twelve excavations were done. Six of these were inside of the ruin and aimed at obtaining information on the building style and techniques used in the building as well as to get information on the functions of the different rooms of the house. Three excavations were done against the outer walls of the ruin in order to obtain information on the building style and techniques used as well as looking at certain site features around the ruin. The last three excavations were done at specific site features and aimed at explaining these.

Very little artefacts were unearthed, but it was useful in interpreting the site. It was however clear that the site was in a mess due to uncontrolled restoration done after the initial reconstruction of the ruin in the 1980’s. This complicated matters and also had to be interpreted, resulting in less information being obtained than what was planned. It is therefore important that the site should be excavated again. Since much was learned from the 2004 excavations about the site and the problems it poses to researchers, the research of a second season will be much more focused. A third excavation season is also needed in order to focus on the site features outside of the ruin identified during the 2004 season.

Report by

Anton C. van Vollenhoven BA, BA (Hons), DTO, NDM, MA (UP), MA (US), DPhil (UP)
Anton J. Pelser BA, BA (Hons), MA (UWits)
Frank E. Teichert BA, BA (Hons) (UP)