ACO Associates has its roots in the Archaeology Contracts Office of the University of Cape Town. The Archaeology Contracts Office (ACO) was first established in UCT’s Department of Archaeology in 1988 when new environmental legislation was enacted, creating the need for specialist consultants in a variety of disciplines including heritage. David Halkett and Tim Hart, who were among the first staff of the ACO, took over its management in 1991, directing its operations and training staff over the next 25 years. Since adoption of the National Heritage Resources Act in 1999, the heritage consulting sector has seen tremendous growth.
In 2008, it was decided to privatise the Archaeology Contracts Office and to form a small company which would be located off the UCT Campus. The new company ACO Associates cc began full operation in 2012. The name ACO Associates reflects the new company’s proud heritage borne out of the work and legacy of the Archaeology Contracts Office. Although now fully operational off campus, we enjoy close ties with our colleagues and students at the Department of Archaeology at UCT, and other institutions both in South Africa and abroad.
ACO Associates is a private company specialising in archaeological and more general heritage specialist studies and assessments. The principal members are Mr David Halkett and Mr Tim Hart assisted by Mr John Gribble and Ms Liesbet Schietecatte. Individual profiles can be found on the Team page.
ACO Associates provides Heritage and Archaeological Impact Assessment services to a range of clients in order for them to comply with Environmental and Heritage Legislation. Our principal business is Archaeological and Heritage Impact Assessments arising from the requirements of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999), and the requirements of the National Environmental Management Act.
With the accumulated experience of our consultants going back to 1988, and having completed over 1500 projects, ACO Associates cc is equipped to handle assignments ranging from detailed, sensitive archaeological excavations, to large-scale field surveys and assessments of historic places, and also assessments of underwater (maritime) resources. All the main consultants are members of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists and are accredited with a range of specialisations within its Cultural Resource Management section. John Gribble serves on the APM, the Archaeology, Permits and Meteorites Committee (APM) of Heritage Western Cape. Mr Halkett served on both the IACOM and APM committees until his term came to an end in October 2013. We are kept fully up to date with developments and requirements of the respective Heritage compliance authorities.
We will work anywhere where our skills can be effectively used both in South Africa and abroad. We frequently work on projects with multidisciplinary teams and understand the need to provide efficient service and meet deadlines.
Areas of heritage expertise in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999):
- Preparation of the NID (Notice of Intent to Develop) form for Heritage Western Cape;
- Notification of developments in other provinces to SAHRA via the SAHRIS online system (South African Heritage Resources Information System);
- Assessment, excavation and/or management of pre-colonial sites such as shell middens, stone artefact scatters, rock art, cave deposits dating to the Early, Middle and Late Stone Ages as well as late Pleistocene fossil bone accumulations. We are also able to assess pre-colonial burials and assist with the recovery should it be necessary;
- Assessment, excavation and/or management of colonial sites, middens, assessment of cemeteries, exhumation, analysis of historical building sequences, assessment of industrial structures, analyses of historic landscapes and features;
- Assessment of heritage resource significance and grading;
- The analysis and curation of artefacts from both colonial and pre-colonial contexts. We can facilitate artefact conservation through outsourcing;
- The development of conservation and management plans for a variety of heritage sites.
Our consultants are conversant with the use of the SAHRIS (South African Heritage Resources Information System) Database, onto which all projects outside the Western Cape are loaded and managed. It is likely that HWC will use the same database in the near future.