Heritage Cases






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PGS Heritage (Pty) Ltd has been appointed by Ivanplats (Pty) Ltd to conduct test excavations on an area that should contain approximately 10 graves as pointed out by the Maganyela family. The area is within a mealie field used for subsistence farm within the fenced mining property of Ivanplats on the farm Turfspruit 241 KR, close to Mokopane, Limpopo Province.


The Maganyela family telephonically contacted the Ivanplats Project team members regarding graves at the Ivanplats Mine site. A site visit was conducted on 3 March 2021 to identify the area where the graves are located however only the Maganyela family residence could be identified at first. The family approached an elder that was a family friend to the Maganyela family when they resided in the area and that might know the location of the graves. Another site visit was conducted on 18 March 2021 with the elder present that indicated an area of approximately 75m x 115m within the previously subsistence farming fields and indicated that the graves used to be buried there in the mealie fields. The family indicated that this location contains approximately 10 graves of both adults and children. Since there are no surface features in the area to indicate the location of these graves Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and test excavations will be required to identify any grave pits that might indicate their location. The aim of the GPR survey is to detect any anomalies consistent with the burials in the surrounding soil matrix. 1) The area will be documented and together with the surrounding area, will then be cleared of any vegetation that might obstruct the use of the GPR equipment. 2) Any stone and soil mounds on the surface will then be levelled by hand. Continuous documentation will ensure that it can be reconstructed after the GPR survey. 3) A survey grid will be laid out over the area to be scanned. The area will be as large as possible as indicated by the family. 4) Radargrams will be collected every 25cm on both the X and Y-axis of the grid. 5) The data will be processed to see if any anomalies are present. Additional to the vertical radargrams, the post-processing software will also produce horizontal slices every 5cm. The following methodology will be followed during the test excavations: The aim of this method is to remove enough of the topsoil until a clear display of the soil stratigraphy beneath is revealed. 1) The area will be documented and measured, the surface is then cleared of all debris and photographed. All observations regarding construction, materials and characteristics of the surface features are documented if present. 2) The topsoil is then carefully removed in 1mx1m test pits measured out on each feature of 30cm by hand. Observations will be made of the changing soil matrix and any patterns in stratigraphy indicating a grave pit. 3) Any archaeological features are noted and photographed. The presence of a burial pit can normally be ascertained by differences in the soil matrix. This would include a change in soil colour and/or texture due to prior disturbance if a pit or other alteration in the stratigraphy took place. 4) The feature will not be fully excavated and will be backfilled afterwards accordingly no matter the outcome. Once the grave pit has been identified the area will be restored to previous conditions before the test excavations and a formal grave relocation process will commence. If the area does not contain any changes in the soil matrix it can be confirmed that no graves are located here after approval from SAHRA.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 11:20





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