Heritage find on Vissershok farm

The first entrance to the Vissershok farm

An archaeologist doing research at Vissershok farm believes he may have come across a wall that could have been part of an old Dutch East India Company (VOC) outpost.

Marius Breytenbach, who is directing the Vissershok Archaeological Project, spoke to members of the Durbanville Heritage Society, on Wednesday February 21, about his latest finding.

He said he had come across a wall that could possibly relate to the old VOC outposts.

He plans to excavate around it in coming weeks to determine its nature, origin and extent.

According to Mr Breytenbach’s research, the farm Vissershok (also referred to as Vissershoek) is the historic location of one of the earliest cattle outposts established by the VOC after arriving at the Cape in 1652.

Although the date of its establishment is unknown, it was first referenced in 1685 and managed by the VOC until 1791,when it was sold at public auction, according to a study published by Dan Sleigh in 1993.

“In his seminal study on the VOC outposts, Dan Sleigh highlighted the critical role outposts played in servicing the VOC refreshment station and shifting the colonial frontier deeper into the interior,” Mr Breytenbach’s research states.

He said the historic walls of the farmyard and the four “impressive entrance gates” in the Diep River valley could still be seen from the N7.

“However, over the past century, this river has encroached on these structures threatening its destruction.”

Mr Breytenbach spent five years researching the farm Blaauwbergsvalley, an adjacent property to the west of Vissershok.

This research eventually led him to Vissershok.

Mr Breytenbach is being assisted by a team of archaeologists from Unisa and UCT, but he needs volunteers to help with the excavations. They need not be qualified and will be taught everything they need to know.

Weather permitted, surveys will be done on Saturday mornings from 7am to 12.30pm.

Visit www.vissershok.weebly.com to sign up or for more information.