A report on a cultural heritage impact assessment for the proposed development of the Doornvlei mining operation near Lebowakhomo, Limpopo Province


Archaetnos cc was requested by SRK Consulting to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Doornvlei Mining Operation near Lebowakhomo, Limpopo Province. The scope for the survey was to identify any archaeological and cultural resources on the sites indicated. It was necessary to work in an area of 50 x 50 m around the specific areas where the three sets of ventilations shafts are to be installed.

The development constitutes the commencing of mining activities on the farm Doornvlei 456 KS. Heritage impact assessments were conducted previously on Doornvlei and a grave identification process was carried out on the farm Dwaalkop. The current development only includes the sinking of three ventilation shaft and ducts on the farm Doornvlei.

A survey of the available literature was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. This included looking at previous HIA reports on the area. This was followed by the field survey which was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices, aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.

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 photographs and the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.

During the survey no sites of cultural heritage significance was located in the area to be developed. It is however known that some Stone and Iron Age occurrences were identified before as well as remains from the recent past.

Two grave yards dating to the historical age were found during the survey in the village of Makurung. Consultation with members of the Ward Committee however indicated that many more graves are scattered throughout the village and close thereto.

Both grave yard sites will be left as they are. Should any unchartered graves be identified during the sinking of the ventilation shafts they should be investigated and the remains be exhumed. A motivation in this regard needs to be supplied to The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). On their approval a process of exhumation and relocation may be engaged into in line with the above mentioned comments.

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.

Report by

Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)