A report on the historical-archaeological investigation and relocation
of known and unknown historical burials dating to the late 19th/early 20th century on the farm Paling 434 Hay Magisterial District, near Postmasburg in the Northern Cape ProvinceSummary

Archaetnos cc conducted an AIA (as part of a larger HIA conducted by Dr.Robert de Jong) on the farm Paling 434 during May 2010 (Report AE1030) for Kai Batla (on behalf of PMG Mining). During this assessment a number of archaeological and historical objects, features and sites were identified in the area that will be affected by the proposed mining operations. It included the graveyard containing around 8 graves that form the focus of this report. It was recommended that the graves be exhumed and relocated after all required legal procedures and processes had been followed. SAHRA concurred with this in their ARC of September 2010. As part of the process some archival and background historical research on the site and the known individuals buried here were also conducted.

Archaetnos was then appointed by Kai Batla, on behalf of PMG, and in conjunction with African Grave Relocation Specialists, to conduct the exhumation and relocation process. After detailed social consultation, which included newspaper advertisements and radio announcements, as well as consultation with local residents, a permit was obtained from SAHRA (BG/10/09/003/87) in November 2010. However, the project was halted due to the fact that PMG was still in the process of their Mining Rights Application. As a result the project was only restarted in early 2012, after the expiry of the permit. An application for the renewal of the permit was made and provided by the BGG Unit and work on the graves was undertaken during June 2012.

Initially 8 identifiable graves were found in the fenced-in cemetery located close to old manganese mine trenches. Four of these had headstones with legible inscriptions. Some possible other graves (marked by differing sized stone heaps) inside of and just outside the fenced-off graveyard were also investigated. This was done to ensure that no possible previously unknown graves are left behind at the site and to minimize the liability of the client. As a result 5 graves with remains were discovered just outside the cemetery. They probably belonged to farm workers on Paling from the same period as those of the other individuals (late 19th to early 20th century).

The report discusses the results of the investigations and exhumations. Finally the information retrieved is interpreted and some recommendations on further possible work in the area made. From an archaeological and historical perspective however mining operation can commence in the area where this site was located.

Report by

A. J.Pelser - Accredited member of ASAPA & Principal Investigator of Graves
Professional Member of SASCH