Final report on the investigation, exhumation and relocation of burials impacted on by a residential development on the farm Vogelfontein 69,
Dihlabeng Local Municipality (Bethlehem), Free State
During May 2011 Archaetnos cc conducted a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for a proposed residential development on the farm Vogelfontein 69 near Bethlehem (Dihlabeng Local Municipality). The HIA was done after members of the community indicated to the Municipality (who is the developer) that there are graves in the area belonging to them (the Maseko family and others). They wanted the graves to be exhumed and relocated before the development could continue, but the HIA still had to be completed. This was duly done in May 2011, after which the process regarding the grave exhumation and relocation process was undertaken. After final consent was given and a permit obtained, the project commenced in February 2012 and was finalized in May after a second session of fieldwork to locate all possible burials in the area was undertaken. The work was conducted in conjunction with AVBOB Johannesburg. The permit number to which this relates is 11/08/004/87.
The skeletal remains recovered during the work on the site represent at least 31 individuals, although there might be more unknown burials present on the site. The burials and process involved are discussed in detail in the report, with a number of recommendations regarding the way forward given at the end.
A.J. Pelser - Accredited member of ASAPA