Old houses at Giftenberg - Cas Abou

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On Thursday the archaeology sleuths, as we like to call ourselves, gathered at the entrance of the plantation Cas Abou. Our goal was to search for any remnants of a small village that was located on the Giftenberg, in the past a separate small plantation but currently an area of the plantation of Cas Abou. According to the Werbata topographical map of 1909 there were (at least) three houses here each with a wooden or sod structure next to it and each with a fenced-in area around it. 

3-huisjes-met-knoekThis is the area of this map that clearly shows these houses (red) with the wooden or sod structure next to it (black) and the fences (green). The area is close to the road so we parked our cars at the entrance of the Cas Abou plantation. From there we went on foot along the road towards the beach. After about 100 meters we went into the dense vegetation in the direction of a large group of what locally is called the Kaktùs Sürnam (Monkey puzzle euphorbia - Euphorbia lactea). This plant was used in the past to make fences so the presence here could be the first sign of the former habitation.
The vegetation consisted mostly of Palu de Lele (Randia aculeata), which is a plant with nasty spines, and Prickly pear cacti, also with lots of spines. Especially the latter made it difficult to make progress. But this was nothing compared to the Kaktùs Sürnam which was absolutely impenetrable as this picture shows. Giftenberg 20130418 003 smallSo we went around these. We were close to the location of the first house and gradually we found more artifacts. Shards of pottery, shards of earthenware gin bottles, large and small glass bottles, enamel kitchenware and a tool for gardening (chapi or hoe). But no foundation of the house itself. We found a floor made from pieces of finger coral which was often made just outside the house. And we found some IJsselstones and plaster and we found several piles of stones; apparently that was all that was left of the foundation of this house. It could be that the remnants of the house were underneath the large Kaktùs Sürnam but we were unable to get into this area.

On we went in the direction of the second house. The vegetation was less dense but nevertheless we all got several spines from the Prickly pear in our legs and/or arms. They seemed more aggressive here than elsewhere.
There were far less artifacts here; it looked as if this area was cleared in the past. We found no obvious indication of a house. We found some suspicious stone formations but no plaster or other indications of a house. The same at the location of the third house. Also there the area looked cleared in the past and the only thing that reminded us of a house were several piles of stones; some of the stones were in a rather straight line. Also here far less artifacts than at the location of the first house.

Although we didn't find any ruins of the stone houses the presence of the artifacts, the coral floor, some pieces of plaster at the location of the first house and the suspicious piles of stones at the location of the other two houses make it clear that some people lived in this area. 

Afterwards we went for the traditional birthday lunch at the restaurant of Dokterstuin. Three of the members of this group celebrate their birthday around this day so we combined these into one big celebration.