NAGOME

 

Location

Nagome Hill was located on the farm Loole (31LU) in close proximity to Loolekop, Nareng Hill and Moloto Hill. This kopje was also known as Ruhís Hill, a name derived from that of Max Ruh, a German prospector who, at one time, lived on this hill.

Nagome Hill was one of the important settlements in Phalaborwa and can be ranked in terms of its status with Sealeng Hill and Kgopolwe Hill. The site was, however, one of the first to be destroyed by modern mining activities twenty-five years ago. Before this settlement disappeared, an archaeological team under the supervision of Nick van der Merwe of the University of Cape Town conducted rescue excavations at this kopje.

 

Historical evidence

Oral tradition refers to the Nagome-Loolekop area as the original domain of the ancient Basokane who occupied Phalaborwa before they were subjected by a Bamalatji group. The Basokane were regarded as skilled copper workers. They were one of several pre-Malatji groups (Seale, Hlame [or Seletmatsela], Mashale, Malesa and the Mmopa) who established a firm presence in the area before the Bamalatji arrived.

One description says that the Basokane arrived from the north as they possessed the phala (impala) as totem. A second version states that this group were remnants of the Bangona, an ancient Sotho group, also referred to as the Basokane (or Salane) of Phalaborwa, who arrived in the Lowveldt before the first Balobedu, Bamalatji or Bavenda arrived in this region.

Nagome Hill and Serotwe Hill on the western border of Phalaborwa, were the most important capitals from whence the MasÍkÍ-Malatji expanded their influence over the southern parts of the

Loole site complex. Nagome Hill served as the badimung (burial place) for this group and sacrifices were made at this settlement until just before it disappeared. The earliest progenitors of the MasÍkÍ-Malatji were Mphalakanya, Phuti, Paane and MasÍkÍ, who were associated with Nagome, Serotwe, Mabadika, Lihuatjana, Muhululu and Phuti Hills. 

 

Table

 

LOCATION

EARLY IRON AGE

 

LATE IRON AGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loole (31LU)

yes

TERRACES

 

IRON WORKING

 

COPPER WORKING

 

 

 

 

GROUND  LEVEL

HILL SLOPE

SMELTING

FORGING

SMELTING

SECONDARY ACTIVITY

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

yes

yes

STATE OF PRESV

 

 

Destroyed

destroyed

destroyed

destroyed

destroyed

destroyed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PREV EXCA

 

previous excavation

 

Previous excavation

 

 

previous excavation

previous excavation

 -----------------------------------------------------

 

Source:

Archaeological survey and assessment of Palabora Mining Companyís mining areas in Phalaborwa, Northern Province of South Africa. An addendum to Palabora Mining Companyís environmental management programme report.

Dr. Julius CC Pistorius
Archaeologist and Cultural Heritage Management Consultant

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