NARENG (CLEVELAND)

 

Location

Nareng Hill is located near Palabora Mining Company’s headquarters and is today also known as Cleveland Hill. This hill settlement stood among a number of hills which used to exist south of Loolekop, in close proximity to the copper resources and ancient mines on this hill.

 

Historical evidence

The earliest progenitors of the Monareng were Matume and Mokwape, who never lived in Phalaborwa  but stayed in Makhtjwe near Ofcalaco to the south-west of Phalaborwa. “They may represent great antiquity, the remnants of a forgotten origin saga” (Scully 1978:161-162)

Lepono was the first Monareng ancestor to settle in the Phalaborwa region, somewhere between Loolekop and Nareng Hill. He was killed by the Tsonga. His successor, Tshetsheka, left Phalaborwa and settled at Makhutjwe, while Tshetsheka’s son, Kgalatji, stayed at Matshwale Hill (east of Mading Hill) which resorted under the authority of the Bamalatji of Ramatladi. Kgashane, Kgalatji’s successor, moved to Makhutjwe and later to Mapulaneng. Kgashane’s son, Malitu, who became a famous ngaka, once again settled at Nareng Hill.

This genealogical history can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, it may indicate a long but broken link between Monareng Hill and Nareng Hill. If this interpretation is correct, it indicates that an early tie existed between Phalaborwa and the Bakgaga of Maake. Such a relationship is in fact supported by oral tradition. Secondly, it may reflect the recent arrival of this group in Phalaborwa. After becoming important as dingaka they appended themselves through genealogical fixation to traditions which link Nareng Hill with an early Monareng community.

 

Archaeological remains

Very little is known about the archaeological features which used to be part of this settlement, as guest houses have been built on the hill. An access road onto the kopje and a reservoir which was built on the south-western slope of the kopje damaged the natural and archaeological features associated with this hill further.

 

The archaeological investigation

Before modern mining gained full momentum in Phalaborwa, Reville Mason excavated two IR1 furnaces at Nareng Hill. These furnaces were dated to the late 18th (A.D. 1790±60; Y-1767) and the early 19th centuries (A.D. 1840±25 AD; GrN-4928). IT is known whether if any other archaeological features were associated with this settlement.

 

State of preservation

The site has been affected by mining and other developmental activities and has no archaeological remains of significance any longer.

 

Table

 

LOCATION

EARLY IRON AGE

 

LATE IRON AGE

 

 

 

 

  

Loole (31LU)

No

TERRACES

 

IRON WORKING

 

COPPER WORKING

 

 

 

 

GROUND LEVEL

HILL SLOPE

SMELTING

FORGING

SMELTING

SECONDARY ACTIVITY

 

 

 

 

Probably yes

Yes

probably

 

 

STATE OF PRESV

 

 

 

destroyed

destroyed

destroyed

 

 

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 Source:

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

Dr. Julius CC Pistorius
Archaeologist and Cultural Heritage Management Consultant

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