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The Living Landscape Project is a community-based initiative to create jobs by using the results of many years of archaeological research. Funding for this project is managed through the Krakadouw Trust. The main programmes are the development of school curricula that incorporate archaeological materials and exercises and the training of local people as guides, craftspeople and heritage managers. The focal point of these activities is the old St Johns School in Park Street, Clanwilliam, recently bought and renovated by the University of Cape Town.

The facilities are constructed to teach About Time, mainly but not only to schoolchildren. The landscape surrounding Clanwilliam is full of fossils, artifacts, natural features and ruined structures that all point to the passing of time. It seems an obligation of archaeologists (and geologists, palaeontologists) to illustrate the dimension that houses all of these records of the past. This is far from an academic exercise, as we will confront the difficult issues of global warming, the sustainable use of resources and the protection of diversity by better understanding long term environmental and human history.

The School Hall (Time Machine) has been transformed into an interactive game-like opportunity to understand the enigmatic nature of time, to learn about our increasing capacity to measure time, and to probe the role of time and time measurement in the lives of local pre-colonial hunter gatherers or San. These hunters and gatherers have much to teach us about custodianship, sustainability and our place in the biological web of life.

One component of this project is a garden in the grounds of the school that will embody the patterns of seasonal time that framed the activities and behaviour of these hunters and gatherers, a Time Garden, a garden that houses plants used by San people as food, as medicinal aids and as artifacts. It acts as a supplement to the displays and activities in the School Hall and is used as a prop to illustrate the seasonal component of time measurement. We know from historic documents, for example, that San people reckoned time by the flowering of members of the Iridaceae family so we have planted a range of species to illustrate this. The archaeological record also provides evidence of the use of a range of plants (grasses, seeds, wood, leaves, charcoals) as artifacts of many kinds (string, beads, bows, poisons, bedding, firewood). The garden will reflect a curriculum that introduces learners to the lives and habits of San people, reinforcing the seasonal cycle of the local fynbos.

The garden is part of our wish to build an attraction for local tourists that will increase visitor numbers to Clanwilliam. The Craft Shop offers tea and catering to visitors and is now a place where schools and other groups are able to learn about the extremely rich archaeological history that marks the Cederberg landscape. From this we are confident that a substantial number of local people will be able to support themselves as guides to the sites, as craftspeople, as caterers and as custodians of local heritage.


An exhibition marking the passage of time on the
Greater Cederberg landscape.