Blombos Cave Site Inspection February 2016

Land Parcel Type: 

Erf/Farm No.: 

459

Ptn No.: 

57

HWC file No.: 

HM/EDEN/HESSEQUA/RIVERSDALE/BLOMBOS CAVE

Registered Owner: 

Blombos Estates

Grading: 

Nature of Application: 

na: site inspection following vandalism

Date of Site Visit: 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

HWC Representatives: 

Guy Thomas, Andrew September, Mary Leslie (APM)

Met on Site By: 

Prof C Henshilwood, Dr. K Van Niekerk, etc.

Reasons for Site Inspection: 

The cave was vandalised in late December/early January. sections of the deposit were collapsed by the intruder and the cave door was broken. The meeting was intended to discuss various solutions for long term site management, as well as ways in which the resource can be better protected.

Findings of Site Inspection: 

The site is fairly inaccessible, but has become more so following a fire in the surrounding nature reserve. The main human threat to the cave is one of curiosity and the difficulty in securing the property from hikers and fishermen who use the ocean frontage as a pathway. The excavated sections have not been sandbagged. This is not in accordance with common practice on archaeological sites, however the geotec material covering over the front of the cave has maintained the moisture level in the cave. As a result of this, the sections are in very good condition.Sandbagging the sections would likely result in further damage to the deposit, as rodents burrow into the loose sand and disturb the stratigraphy. In addition to this, the pins used to define the stratigraphy have fallen out in the past when this approach was previously attempted. Part of the section has a beam and wooden floor set over the existing section. This provides adequate protection of the deposit, however the part of the section that was collapsed in the break-in does not have this same type of protection. There is still a fair amount of excavation equipment in the cave. Part of this equipment is necessary for access to the cave, such as the ladder and wooden deck partially covering the deposit, however, a fair portion of this equipment is not being used and represents a temptation to would-be thieves. There is a need for a secure cover for the cave entrance. additional surveillance may also be required. This barrier will likely be a set of aluminium bars secured through bolts drilled into the cave limestone.

Which committee should this report be submitted to?: 

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