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TUT Celebrates the Heritage Treasures Hidden at Toppieshoek

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TUT Celebrates the Heritage Treasures Hidden at Toppieshoek. On 9 March 2024, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke unveiled a Blue Plaque at Toppieshoek, a property owned by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) situated on the banks of Hartbeespoort Dam within the UNESCO designated Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve.

TUT Celebrates the Heritage Treasures Hidden at Toppieshoek

Toppieshoek holds significance as it encompasses two national heritage sites:

  1. Broederstroom Early Iron Age Archaeological Site: This site dates back to approximately AD 350, making it the earliest known African village in the region.
  2. Former Leiden University Observatory Southern Station: This station housed two historic telescopes constructed in the early 1900s and operated at Toppieshoek for 25 years until 1978.

Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke Address

During the unveiling ceremony, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke expressed his elation that the occasion wasn’t in remembrance of war or a war hero. He highlighted the significance of commemorating the convergence of historical and archaeological studies, astronomy, heritage studies, and biodiversity.

Reflecting on History

Professor Maluleke speech reflected on the rich history surrounding Toppieshoek, acknowledging the various layers of history present in the valley. He emphasized the presence of ancestors from different periods, artefacts spanning thousands of years, and the significance of the surrounding landscape.

Tribute to Arnout van Genderen

Professor Maluleke paid tribute to Arnout van Genderen, an archaeologist from the University of Leiden who discovered the ancient village in 1971. He also recognized the contributions of Van Genderen team and other archaeologists involved in excavations at Toppieshoek.

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Acknowledgment of Authors

The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged the authors of the book The Heritage Treasures of Toppieshoek, Vincent Carruthers and Prof Jane Carruthers from the Magaliesberg Association for Culture and Heritage (MACH). Their collaborative efforts with astronomers and archaeologists were instrumental in proposing realistic restoration plans for the sites, aiming to benefit both students and the public.

TUT Celebrates the Heritage Treasures

Conclusion

The Blue Plaque unveiling at Toppieshoek highlighted its diverse heritage, from ancient villages to historic telescopes. It honored archaeologists and emphasized responsible preservation efforts for future generations.

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