The role of impact assessment in archaeological heritage management: a South African perspective.

  • Author: Steven Walker
  • Topic: Heritage studies
  • Country: South Africa
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

South Africa has experienced an explosion of development that shows no sign of diminishing. The process of archaeological impact assessment (AIA), as set out in South African legislation, has enabled responsible development while protecting archaeological heritage. The primary purpose of an AIA is to determine any potential impact to the archaeological record resulting from a proposed development. However, knowing the nature, extent, preservation, and significance of any affected archaeological deposits is a
prerequisite for any such assessment. Each report’s recommendations rest upon an inventory of effected deposits and an evaluation of their relative significance. However, the methods of obtaining these data has not been standardized, nor previously investigated. This paper presents an historic review of the methods that have been employed by South African AIA projects to identify resources, evaluate their significance, and assess potential impacts. The aim of this study is to identify what is going right, and what we can improve to better protect our archaeological heritage.

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