Heritage Cases

Changes to SAHRIS!

The South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS) has undergone a generational upgrade and restructure. These changes to the site include, but are not limited to:

  • A new & modernised look and layout
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Launch for the new version of SAHRIS occurred on Monday the 30th of October 2023.

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SAHRA Application Closure

Please note the following concerning applications submitted to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) during the December 2023 to January 2024 period.

The full notice is available here: Notice

Special Notice

Following comments received on the proposed Revised Schedule of Fees for applications made to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), made in terms of Section 25(2)(l) of the National Heritage Resources Act No. 25 of 1999 (NHRA) and published in the Government Gazette of 22 July 2022, SAHRA hereby publishes the final Revised Schedule of Fees for Applications made to SAHRA. Applications for provision of services submitted to the South African Heritage Resources Authority (SAHRA), in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999 (NHRA) must be accompanied by a payment of the appropriate fee, taking effect from 1 January 2023

Revised Schedule of Fees for Applications made to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)

Palaeogenomes of a lost world: Ancient bovids of the submerged Palaeo-Agulhas Plain of southern Africa Phase 2




Case Type: 


We aim to investigate the changes in genetic diversity over the last ~57 thousand years (ka) of six bovid species (5 extant, 1 extinct) that roamed the now-submerged Palaeo-Agulhas Plain (PAP) off the southern coast of South Africa, through the analyses of ancient mitochondrial genomes (and nuclear genomes when/if possible). We will correlate any genetic changes with changes in climate and habitat availability. We propose to sample bovid remains (predominantly teeth, but also dense bone when teeth are not available), across three ancient time bins, from sites that bordered the PAP along the southern and western coast of South Africa in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.


This is Phase 2 of the project "Palaeogenomes of a lost world: Ancient bovids of the submerged Palaeo-Agulhas Plain of southern Africa" (CaseID: 16929). See that project for a detailed introduction, aims, and methods description of the project. The permit report (PermitID: 3348) for Phase 1, a pilot study, has been submitted, and forms the basis of the motivation to continue with Phase 2. In short, in Phase 1, 59 teeth and bone fragments were screened for the presence of endogenous, or host, DNA, using ancient DNA techniques. We showed that endogenous DNA was preserved in 33% of the ancient subfossils (teeth and bones) from archaeological sites along the southern and western coast of South Africa. Most of these specimens were younger than 10,000 years old, but two specimens with endogenous DNA were older than this (~10,460 years old, and 71,000-130,000 years old). Additionally, we showed that mitochondrial DNA enrichment provides high coverage ancient mitogenomes (257X to 497X mean depth of coverage) for those specimens that had endogenous DNA to begin with. The results from Phase 1 indicate that the ancient DNA techniques that we are employing are effective at obtaining endogenous DNA from these specimens, when it is preserved. Additionally, we are able to obtain high coverage ancient mitogenomes using mitochondrial DNA enrichment, which is particularly important for those specimens older than 10,000 years that contain endogenous DNA. The success of Phase 1 indicates to us that, should the export of specimens for Phase 2 be approved, it will allow us to answer most of the original aims of the study. Consequently, this Phase 2 application is for the export of an additional 265 tooth and bone fragments of six bovid species (Pelea capreolus, Pelorovis antiquus, Raphicerus melanotis, Redunca arundinum, Syncerus caffer, and Tragelaphus oryx) from the sites Boomplaas Cave, Die Kelders Cave, Elands Bay Cave, Klasies River Mouth Caves, Nelson Bay Cave, and Byneskranskop 1. All specimens are curated at the Archaeology Collection of Iziko Museums South Africa and the destructive sampling of these specimens has been approved by Heritage Western Cape and the curator of the Archaeology Collection at Iziko, Dr Wendy Black (approval documents for Phase 2 are attached to this application). Initially, we proposed to sample 280 specimens for Phase 2, but this was reduced by the Archaeology Collection at Iziko to 265, removing 15 Redunca arundinum specimens to reduce the impact on the collections. The final approved list of specimens is included in the letter from Iziko, with photos of the specimens also attached to this application. The project is being carried out at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen. The Institute has consented to receiving and safely storing the palaeontological material for the duration of the project, plus an additional six months, until its return to the providing institutions in South Africa (letter attached). All specimen remains (and unused specimens) will be returned to their respective collections and museums within six months of the conclusion of the project (30 November 2024), and copies of all data and results produced will be provided to the respective museums within the same time frame.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022 - 13:32






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