Archaeology Contracts Office

archaeology dept, beattie building, room 4.02, upper campus

phone: +27 21 650 2357

fax: +27 21 650 2352

principal investigatore: Dave Halkett, Tim Hart, Jayson Orton, Lita Webley

field assistants: Mpakamo Sasa, Ntandazo Mjikaliso

administration & research assistant: Liesbet Schietecatte

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The Archaeology Contracts Office (ACO) was established in 1987 in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. Its specific purpose was to provide the private and public sector with access to experienced archaeologists who could undertake consulting and contract work to assess and mitigate the destruction of heritage sites during construction and development projects.

Since the implementation of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999), the ACO has diversified its services to carry out work according to the terms of the new legislation. This involves leading, as well being part of, multidisciplinary teams who perform Heritage Impact Assessments.

In recent years the clientele of the ACO has grown significantly and straddles both public and private sectors, large scale multi-nationals to private individuals. In addition, a large portion of our work is now made up of contracted research funded from overseas and local research institutions.

With 21 years of accumulated experience, and having completed over 700 projects, the ACO is equipped to handle assignments ranging from detailed, sensitive excavations, to large-scale field surveys and assessments of historic places. The team will work anywhere where their skills can be effectively used both in South Africa and abroad.

Being part of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, the ACO works in close collaboration with other research groups based there. Also, post-graduate archaeology students are encouraged to join ACO projects where they learn to deal with the often unconventional nature of heritage management. Students may apply for internships to prepare for professional practice. In recent years, a PhD, MPhil and MSc were based on work by the ACO and also co-supervised by team members.

Our areas of heritage expertise in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999) are:

  • Preparation of the NID (Notice of Intent to Develop) form for Heritage Western Cape;

  • Assessment, excavation and/or management of pre-colonial sites such as shell middens, stone artefact scatters, rock art, cave deposits dating to the Early, Middle and Late Stone Ages as well as late Pleistocene fossil bone accumulations. We are also able to assess pre-colonial burials and assist with the recovery should it be necessary.

  • Assessment, excavation and/or management of colonial sites, middens, exhumation of cemeteries, analysis of building sequences, industrial structures, historic landscapes and features.

  • The analysis and curation of artefacts from both colonial and pre-colonial contexts. We can facilitate artefact conservation through outsourcing.

  • The development of conservation and management plans for a variety of heritage sites.

  • Capacity building and heritage education.

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Résumés:

Mr David Halkett (MA, UCT; email david.halkettATuct.ac.za) is a registered professional archaeologist (principal investigator level) with 21 years of working experience in heritage impact assessment, heritage management and archaeological research. As a founder member of the ACO, he has worked in a very wide variety of contexts including mitigation of archaeological sites in suburban, rural and industrial situations. Dave’s experience has led to his participation as an advisor to the National Monuments Council before 2000, a member of Heritage Western Cape’s Archaeology, Palaeontology and Meteorites committee (APM), and occasionally as a forensic consultant to the NPA. He regularly leads field projects on behalf of other research organisations. Dave is a member of ASAPA (Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists) and its CRM section.

Mr Tim Hart (MA, UCT; email timothy.hartATuct.ac.za) is a registered professional archaeologist (principal investigator level) and registered generalist/specialist heritage impact assessor (AHAP) with 21 years of working experience in heritage impact assessment, heritage management and archaeological research. As a founder member of the ACO, he has worked in a very wide variety of contexts including mitigation of archaeological sites in suburban, rural and industrial situations. Tim served a term on the Heritage Western Cape’s Built Environment and Landscapes Committee,(BELCOM) and is now serving on the Archaeology, Palaeontology and Meteorites committee (APM). He has a particular interest in industrial heritage, historic landscapes and development of conservation management plans. Tim is a member of ASAPA (Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists) and its CRM section. 

Mr Jayson Orton (MA, UCT; PhD, Oxford in progress; email jayson.ortonATuct.ac.za) is a registered professional archaeologist (principal investigator level) who joined the office in 2004 as a full time member after having served an internship with the office. During his internship Jayson was familiarised with a large variety of sites and projects to build an all-round knowledge in CRM. Jayson’s personal interest lies mainly in the Late Stone Age along the West Coast of South Africa and he has already published a number of articles on the subject. Jayson is a member of ASAPA (Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists) and its CRM section.

Dr Lita Webley (MA, University of Stellenbosch; PhD, UCT; email lita.webleyATuct.ac.za) is registered as a professional archaeologist (principal investigator level). Lita joined the ACO in 2008 and brings her experience of heritage in the Eastern and Northern Cape to the office. Her fieldwork experience includes Middle and Later Stone Age sites and historical sites in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Lita has also conducted ethnographic fieldwork and collected oral histories from local communities in the Northern Cape. In addition to fieldwork, she has lectured on archaeology at a number of tertiary institutions and published numerous scientific papers on archaeology. Lita is a member of ASAPA (Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists) and its CRM section.

Ms Liesbet Schietecatte (MA , Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium); MSc, UCT; email liesbet.schietecatteATuct.ac.za) was trained as a medieval archaeologist in Belgium where she worked for the Flemish Heritage Institute (VIOE) on research and CRM projects. Projects included the 14th-15th century fishing village Walraversijde near Ostend at the North Sea coast, the post-medieval city fortifications of Ostend, field surveys within the framework of the EU Planarch III project, and public liaison around maritime archaeology. In South Africa, Liesbet has worked for the maritime section of SAHRA and since 2007 has been assisting the ACO with the Lotto funded “Green Point Burial Ground Project”. She also deals with the administrative aspects of both the ACO and Lotto project.

Mpakamo Sasa and Ntandazo Mjikaliso took up employment with the ACO early in 2005. They assist with field work projects and are largely responsible for the post-excavation sorting and curation of archaeological materials.  Both have become specially proficient in the processing of shell midden deposits. Mpakamo and Ntandazo also look after and maintain ACO field equipment. Both of their father’s worked for the ACO from 1999 until they retired in 2005.