Land Parcel Type:
HWC file No.:
Nature of Application:
na: site inspection following vandalism
Date of Site Visit:
Thursday, 11 February 2016
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.
Prof Henshilwood will draw up a plan for the secure covering of the cave in consultation with an engineer, and funded through private funders. The equipment in the cave is to be removed from the cave. An additional beam and floor structure is to be set up in the furture to better secure the deposit. HWC is to provide Prof Henshilwood with a sign detailing the penalty for disturbing the site, as well as optionally, three PHS badges to mark the site. The new secure barrier will be shown to HWC as part of an application to alter a Provincial Heritage Site. This application will be processed as soon as possible within HWC's process.