The remains of the largest fortification built by the British during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) is still to be seen today on Strubenkop in Lynnwood, Pretoria. The site today is a nature reserve managed by the City of Tshwane but apart from the remains of the fort nothing much is left on the hill. It is therefore believed that the reserve was proclaimed to preserve what was left of the building.
It is unknown when exactly human beings first arrived in the Magaliesberg, but stone tools from the area date back hundreds of thousands of years. There are, however, three important archaeological sites in the Magaliesberg where radio-carbon dating has revealed fascinating evidence of the way early occupants lived at least 6 000 years ago. These sites are Kruger Cave, west of Olifantspoort (excavated by Prof Revil Mason - see main image), and Jubilee Shelter and Cave James, east of Silkaatsnek (excavated by Prof Lyn Wadley).
Revil John Mason died on 23 August 2020 at the age of 91 years, scarcely a year after receiving the Golden Eagle award on Gaudy Day at St John’s College in 2019. Revil was born on 10 February 1929 and grew up in Saxonwold. He entered St John’s Prep in 1936. After matriculating in 1946, Revil studied at the University of Witwatersrand and obtained a B Com. degree, garnering several prizes, including the Aitken medal for the best graduate in Commerce, together with the Chamber of Industries medal and the Dean’s award.
On the southern bank of Hartbeespoort Dam lies the archaeological site of one of the oldest farming and herding settlements in South Africa. It comprised several small interlinked homesteads and was first excavated by the pioneering Wits University archaeologist Revil Mason in the 1970s.
I would like to discuss a topic very close to my heart. One which my dad has been interested in for some time and researched extensively. That is the stone circles found in Mpumalanga. Most of the mountains and hills of Mpumalanga have stone circles on them and extensive road networks joining them to one another. This has long been thought of as just homes of the local peoples and their cattle kraals. They were therefore dismissed as being of any real value or importance archaeologically.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie highlights the remarkable work of archaeologist Revil Mason. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 19 November 2009. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals the rich history of Lonehill in Sandton. She also uncovers some wonderful details about the places, spaces and people of Sandton before it became the financial capital of South Africa. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 25 February 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
To the north of Johannesburg lies a hill of great historical, archaeological and geological importance. In the article below Lilith Wynne explores the archaeological aspects of the Lone Hill site. The article first appeared in the 1988 Journal of the Sandton Historical Association, two years after Professor Revil Mason made his 'discovery'.
Wits University Press has given us permission to publish an extract from the landmark new book Forgotten World - The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment by Peter Delius, Tim Maggs and Alex Schoeman. This research begins to answer some of the key questions behind 'one of the most extraordinary archaeological and historical phenomena in southern Africa'.
Conflicting Readings of the Rocks