Versfeld Pass 01





Group content visibility: 

Use group defaults




Post date: 24/03/2015
Site Comments:

The site was first recorded in 1998 during an archaeological study of a proposed development at Versveld Park/Stawelklip . The site comprises a solitary sandstone outcrop, partially obscured by wild Olive trees, located on the southern boundary of the property. Facing north, the site measures about 25 m across and about 3-4 m deep. A large fire has burnt the surrounding veld since the site was first recorded. A wide track has also recently been constructed very close to VP 1, which has impacted negatively on the site and the `sense of place’. Two pieces of pottery and several stone flakes were found in the track, which may have formed part of an `activity area’ outside the shelter.Several pieces of thin walled blackened pottery, including a red-ochered rim sherd, as well as several quartz flakes and one shale stone flake, were also found inside the shelter. Large amounts of charcoal are present on the floor of the shelter, testament to the recent fire in the area. Although it appears as if a large portion of the archaeological deposit has been washed out, some deposit does still occur within the shelter. Several stone flakes, one core and a piece of pottery were recorded in a rain wash/drip line behind the shelter in 1998, but these no longer occur. The main panel of the shelter comprises several relatively well preserved images. These include one indeterminate kneeling human figure and immediately beneath this, another standing figure. A line of thick red paint resembling a serpent, with a splayed `tail’, occurs beneath the two figures. The paintings are in dark red ochre. Several other images occur on the main panel, including a bending over human figure painted in a lighter orange pigment. Some graffiti, in black charcoal, occurs on the rock face, to the left of the main panel of paintings, affecting some very faded indistinguishable images. The words `Jon was here’ and an indeterminate date have been scrawled across some of the images. Exfoliation of some of the rock face (perhaps caused by the heat from the recent fire), as well as percolation of natural salts from behind the wall of the shelter, also occurs. These natural processes appear not to have impacted on the art, but may in the future. In a darkened low overhang or recess, to the right of the main panel, several more, relatively well preserved, paintings occur. The images, only visible once photographed with a flashgun, appear on the low ceiling of the overhang. The paintings comprise several (at least 3) indeterminate antelope, two human figures (one covered in soot) and several finger marks/smudges and a palette. The paintings are all in dark red ochre, and relatively well preserved. Percolation of natural salts from behind the wall of the shelter has already impacted negatively on some of the images.