BONES TELL TALES
Archaeologists have completed their digging in Robertsville where they found the remains of 50 people.
The exhumation, on a piece of open veld between New Canada and Main Reef roads, Johannesburg, started on February 2, after construction workers working in the area came across human bones. Closer inspection revealed that there were unmarked graves containing human skeletons.
Archaeologist Anton Pelser told Sowetan yesterday that he had submitted the final report to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) two weeks ago.
Pelser said most of the bones belonged to African men, but there were also seven skeletons of Chinese origin.
He said investigations showed that the people buried there were migrant mine workers who were buried between 1897 and 1940.
"Though we could not be 100 percent certain, there could be one or two females among the skeletons," said Pelser.
The historic discovery was made in December last year when property developers inspected the land for development. The developers, Iprop Ltd, stopped digging after finding the skeletons and consulted Sahra who then assigned their head archeologist, Pelser, to investigate.
"The developers have indicated that they would not be continuing with development, which means that the bones will be reburied in the same graveyard," Pelser said.
"We will consult with the community and erect a memorial in the graveyard for these people to be remembered," he said.
Sahra heritage officer Jennifer Kitto said she would study the report before commenting on the way forward.
"We have not received a written letter from the developers stating that they are not proceeding with development," said Kitto.
She said at a later stage, the public would be informed of the discovery and would be called to a meeting for consultation.