VR005 Cave from SE

ASHA Consulting aims to provide quality archaeological and heritage services in the context of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and development in the Western and Northern Cape, Southern Namibia, the Western half of the Free State and Eastern Cape.  With the rapid growth currently being experienced in the renewable energy sector, the demand for heritage impact assessments (HIA’s) is at an all-time high. This is for two reasons:

  1. Under the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA; No. 107 of 1998), all EIAs and Basic Assessment Reports (BAR’s) are required to contain a heritage component.

  2. For small projects that do not trigger the NEMA regulations, the South African Heritage Resources Act (NHRA; No. 25 of 1999) provides a set of regulations covering the need for stand-alone HIAs – these regulations are far stricter such that most development will need at least some degree of heritage involvement.

The process to be followed in the assessment of impacts to heritage resources is as follows:

  1. Tell the authorities. The heritage authorities need to be notified of the proposed development. This is usually done by the developer or, more commonly, the environmental consultant handling the impact assessment process. In the Western Cape a form known as a Notification of Intent to Develop (NID) is used to effect this step and this form is usually best completed by a heritage practitioner prior to submission. ASHA will complete or review NID forms as required.

  2. Commission an HIA. The heritage authority will then request a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) if this is indeed deemed to be appropriate. ASHA conducts HIAs throughout the western parts of South Africa focusing on rural heritage, cultural landscapes and archaeology. Other aspects of heritage can be sub-consulted if required. ASHA also does specialist archaeological studies as part of HIAs being conducted by other practitioners.

  3. Conduct archaeological mitigation. HIAs will usually make recommendations for the mitigation of any negative impacts to heritage resources. Where such mitigation involves archaeological work this can be carried out by ASHA. Sometimes a program of test excavations will need to be conducted to establish the depth and significance of buried archaeological resources. These excavations will inform the subsequent mitigation process and allow a more accurate estimate of the time required to carry out the required work. Mitigation excavations and sampling vary greatly and can be as simple as spending an hour or two on site collecting important artefacts. On the other extreme, however, full excavations can last several weeks. With Dr Orton’s interest in archaeological research, he is ideally placed to conduct archaeological excavation and sampling for mitigation purposes.

From time to time archaeological burials are found accidentally. This often occurs during excavation of foundations or levelling of dunes and very frequently this is in the context of the construction of a private dwelling. In recognition of the high significance attached to human remains in South Africa and to help private individuals who may not be able to afford a professional archaeological exhumation, ASHA will conduct rescue exhumations at discounted rates.