Original Research - Special Collection: Celebrating Cultural Heritage within National Parks

A historical archaeological investigation of Sardelli’s shop, Sabiepoort, Kruger National Park

Anton C. van Vollenhoven
Koedoe | Vol 66, No 2 | a1792 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v66i2.1792 | © 2024 Anton C. van Vollenhoven | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 September 2023 | Published: 06 March 2024

About the author(s)

Anton C. van Vollenhoven, Department of History, Faculty of Social Transformation, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Historical information indicates that Sardelli’s shop at Sabiepoort, built before the South African War because of its proximity to an existing trade route, was utilised by Steinaecker’s Horse during the war (1899–1902). This shop was likely a satellite of another site, the Gaza Gray outpost. Steinaecker’s Horse was a British volunteer unit operating in the Lowveld and eSwatini. Research on the Sabiepoort site forms part of a larger project, the Steinaecker’s Horse research project, aimed at undertaking archaeological and historical research of sites associated with this unit. The site was excavated with the aim of contributing to the contextualisation of information and to show the extent of the connection between historical information and archaeological evidence with regard to Steinaecker’s Horse at Sabiepoort. Dateable artefacts from the site represent the period of the late 19th to the early 20th century, coinciding with the dates of the war. Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of indigenous people present during the same period, most likely Tsonga. Indigenous pottery at the site is similar to those discovered from the Gaza Gray site, confirming concurrent occupation. Research findings were compared to outcomes from the Makhadzi outpost, indicating social differentiation between the different units stationed at this outpost close to the Letaba Rest Camp and gave evidence of the role of black soldiers and local inhabitants during the war. There is a distinction between the main aim of the Steinaecker’s Horse project and the aim at this site. The latter is described here with the former aimed at writing the history of this unit.

Keywords

Sardelli’s shop; Sabiepoort; Steinaecker’s Horse; Bill Sanderson; Gaza Gray; corrugated iron; Tsonga; Kruger National Park.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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