A report on the archaeological investigation, exhumation and relocation of graves on various sites located at Xstrata’s Goedgevonden Colliery near Ogies (Phola) in Mpumalanga
Archaetnos cc has been involved with the investigation, exhumation and relocation of graves from various farms in the Ogies area, impacted upon by the Goedgevonden Opencast Coalmining Operation (XSTRATA COAL SA) since 2008. A number of grave assessments, as well as physical exhumation phases, were conducted during this time period (See Reports AE866, AE926, AE930, AE974 and AE1019). During this period a total of 36 graves (older than 60 years of age, unknown and known) were investigated and relocated, in conjunction with both Selala and Good Hope Funerals.
This report is a discussion on the final phase of grave relocation work at GGV. Graves from 4 sites (MK”B”, Site 5, Site 18 and Mbila) were relocated during July and August 2012 in conjunction with Selala Funerals from Witbank. A total of 177 graves older than 60 years of age, unknown (in regards to age, identity) and known (in terms of age and the individual buried here) were investigated. For the known graves family members were present and gave consent for the work to be conducted. This number includes some pits that were dug in areas where there were suspicions of burials being located (soil heaps, stones/bricks and gaps in between rows of known graves). Although some of these test pits did reveal evidence of graves, not all did and these were declared as No Graves at the end. The report will discuss all the findings in more detail.
Very few of the graves investigated during this phase had descendants involved. Extensive social consultation by the mine and the undertakers involved over the years (which included newspaper ads, radio announcements and consultative meetings) failed to find many directly linked descendants or other family members. Finally it should be noted that there is one site at GGV (Site MK”A”) that has not been completely investigated. The site is located in the opencast pit area, but due to factors such as accessibility and visibility (the area has been accidentally covered by topsoil being dumped on the site) this site will be investigated at a later stage.
A. J. Pelser