Two archaeologists made interesting discoveries during a procedural archaeological assessment preceding the Zandspruit Development at the farm Happylands just outside of Hoedspruit.By Zanne de Bruin
Although the importance of these discoveries is debatable, it sparked notable interest in the area.
The discoveries were the result of a survey that identified a section of the property as a site of importance and inevitably led to the excavation of certain areas along the landing strip on the farm. Two specialists on the topic of archaeology and human history, Anton Pelser and Anton van Vollenhoven, spent about two weeks digging up all sorts of interesting objects.
They found pieces of pottery, clay remains, ancient charcoal, both human and animal bones, grinding stones, hammer stones, tools made from bones (like needles) and beads made from ostrich egg shells as well as both freshwater and sea shells. Although not yet confirmed, the sea shells are believed to be from the South African east coast.
Anton Pelser explained that this site falls specifically within a preestablished network of trade. This, along with the different shells, probably used as money in those days, indicates that this area was inhabited by a society accustomed to trade. Further analysis of the bones and other objects will hopefully shed some more light on the way in which these people lived, what they ate, what they did and how they died.
According to Anton these discoveries probably date from the early Iron Age in South African terms, around 700-800 AD (± 3300 years ago). He stated that there are numerous indications that this group lived during the shift in technology, when the Stone Age moved into the Iron Age and humans discovered the practice of melting iron and making various implements. Anton said that a complete report on the discoveries will be available some time in October.
By Zanne de Bruin